Bonds of Union: Religion, Race, and Politics in a Civil War Borderland

Bonds of Union: Religion, Race, and Politics in a Civil War Borderland

by Bridget Ford


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This vivid history of the Civil War era reveals how unexpected bonds of union forged among diverse peoples in the Ohio-Kentucky borderlands furthered emancipation through a period of spiraling chaos between 1830 and 1865. Moving beyond familiar arguments about Lincoln's deft politics or regional commercial ties, Bridget Ford recovers the potent religious, racial, and political attachments holding the country together at one of its most likely breaking points, the Ohio River.

Living in a bitterly contested region, the Americans examined here—Protestant and Catholic, black and white, northerner and southerner—made zealous efforts to understand the daily lives and struggles of those on the opposite side of vexing human and ideological divides. In their common pursuits of religious devotionalism, universal public education regardless of race, and relief from suffering during wartime, Ford discovers a surprisingly capacious and inclusive sense of political union in the Civil War era. While accounting for the era's many disintegrative forces, Ford reveals the imaginative work that went into bridging stark differences in lived experience, and she posits that work as a precondition for slavery's end and the Union's persistence.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781469654683
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 08/01/2019
Series: Civil War America
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 424
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Bridget Ford is associate professor of history at California State University, East Bay.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

A richly rewarding and fascinating book that provides a fresh perspective on the complicated connections between Ohio and Kentucky as a Civil War borderland during a time of great sectional tension and strife. Original insights and nuanced observations appear on almost every page—this is cultural history at its finest.—Alice Fahs, University of California, Irvine

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