With Malice toward Some: Treason and Loyalty in the Civil War Era by William A. Blair, NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
With Malice toward Some: Treason and Loyalty in the Civil War Era

With Malice toward Some: Treason and Loyalty in the Civil War Era

by William A. Blair
     
 

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Few issues created greater consensus among Civil War-era northerners than the belief that the secessionists had committed treason. But as William A. Blair shows in this engaging history, the way politicians, soldiers, and civilians dealt with disloyalty varied widely. Citizens often moved more swiftly than federal agents in punishing traitors in their midst, forcing

Overview

Few issues created greater consensus among Civil War-era northerners than the belief that the secessionists had committed treason. But as William A. Blair shows in this engaging history, the way politicians, soldiers, and civilians dealt with disloyalty varied widely. Citizens often moved more swiftly than federal agents in punishing traitors in their midst, forcing the government to rethink legal practices and definitions. In reconciling the northern contempt for treachery with a demonstrable record of judicial leniency toward the South, Blair illuminates the other ways that northerners punished perceived traitors, including confiscating slaves, arresting newspaper editors for expressions of free speech, and limiting voting. Ultimately, punishment for treason extended well beyond wartime and into the framework of Reconstruction policies, including the construction of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Establishing how treason was defined not just by the Lincoln administration, Congress, and the courts but also by the general public, Blair reveals the surprising implications for North and South alike.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
03/31/2014
The dissolution of the Union in 1861 was shocking to most Americans, forcing a public discussion about what constituted treason: how was it expressed in words and actions and who decided what it was? As abolition and the debate over the expansion of slavery began to tear the country apart in the 1850s, Americans contemplated how certain kinds of speech might be classified as treasonous, and historian Blair (Cities of the Dead) found that local residents played a large role in influencing charges and arrests. Emotions ran high in 1859 when John Brown was hanged for treason against the state of Virginia because the slave revolt he led resulted in the deaths of five people. During the war, the Union government struggled to decide whether spying, sabotage, or defecting to the Confederate Army were dangerous enough to constitute treason. How could these actions be sufficiently policed to protect the country? Even at the end, when Confederate soldiers were paroled after Appomattox, legal definitions of treason gave way to the more practical politics of reconciliation and reconstruction. Though Blair mercifully shies away from the complexities of constitutional theory, his emphasis on demonstrable treason is heavily steeped in politics and law, making for slow reading. (June)
From the Publisher
Blair has produced a thoughtful work that Civil War scholars will study with profit.—Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

An important book. It contributes much to our understanding of the legal, and to a lesser degree, the political history of the period.—Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association

Markedly improve[s] our understanding of the politics and policing of treason. . . . [This] wise and timely book offers fresh ways to think about persistently relevant questions.—North Carolina Historical Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781469614069
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
06/01/2014
Series:
Littlefield History of the Civil War Era
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
432
File size:
5 MB

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
This book makes a very important contribution to the scholarship on treason and disloyalty during the American Civil War and Reconstruction; it has wonderful new research while drawing on the latest literature; and it is a very good read.—Michael Vorenberg, Brown University

Meet the Author

William A. Blair, Liberal Arts Research Professor in U.S. History at the Pennsylvania State University, serves as director of the Richards Civil War Era Center and as editor of the Journal of the Civil War Era.

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