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Oxford University Press
Confederate Emancipation: Southern Plans to Free and Arm Slaves during the Civil War

Confederate Emancipation: Southern Plans to Free and Arm Slaves during the Civil War

by Bruce Levine


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Confederate Emancipation: Southern Plans to Free and Arm Slaves during the Civil War

In early 1864, as the Confederate Army of Tennessee licked its wounds after being routed at the Battle of Chattanooga, Major-General Patrick Cleburne (the "Stonewall of the West") proposed that "the most courageous of our slaves" be trained as soldiers and that "every slave in the South who shall remain true to the Confederacy in this war" be freed. In Confederate Emancipation, Bruce Levine looks closely at such Confederate plans to arm and free slaves. He shows that within a year of Cleburne's proposal, which was initially rejected out of hand, Jefferson Davis, Judah P. Benjamin, and Robert E. Lee had all reached the same conclusions. At that point, the idea was debated widely in newspapers and drawing rooms across the South, as more and more slaves fled to Union lines and fought in the ranks of the Union army. Eventually, the soldiers of Lee's army voted on the proposal, and the Confederate government actually enacted a version of it in March. The Army issued the necessary orders just two weeks before Appomattox, too late to affect the course of the war. Throughout the book, Levine captures the voices of blacks and whites, wealthy planters and poor farmers, soldiers and officers, and newspaper editors and politicians from all across the South. In the process, he sheds light on such hot-button topics as what the Confederacy was fighting for, whether black southerners were willing to fight in large numbers in defense of the South, and what this episode foretold about life and politics in the post-war South.
Confederate Emancipation offers an engaging and illuminating account of a fascinating and politically charged idea, setting it firmly and vividly in the context of the Civil War and the part played in it by the issue of slavery and the actions of the slaves themselves.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780195315868
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 01/08/2007
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 672,115
Product dimensions: 9.20(w) x 6.10(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Bruce Levine is James G. Randall Professor of History, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of Half Slave and Half Free: The Roots of Civil War and The Spirit of 1848: German Immigrants, Labor Conflict, and the Coming of Civil War, and is co-author of Who Built America? Working People and the Nation's Economy, Politics, Culture, and Society.

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Confederate Emancipation: Southern Plans to Free and Arm Slaves during the Civil War 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Confederate Emancipation is an groundbreaking look into how the Confederate government viewed emancipation. Levine proves that it was not only the Union government that was considering freeing some of the slaves. Levine does an excellent job in detailing allof the arguments and reasoning behind the Confederates arguement. I highly recommend this for both the lay person or the serious student.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Confederate Emancipation was my favorite book to read out of the selected readings for my history class because it covered emancipation from both the North and South. I never really knew anything about Southern issues of emancipation and rather they were willing or not. It was somewhat hard to follow because Levine jumps from year to year in no particular order. He would start with the year 1864 and then the next page would be discussing something in the year 1862. Besides the date confusion, it really covered both the North and South's opinions on, objections against, and arguments for arming and emancipating slaves. This book represented something not deeply focused on in history classes about the Civil War. As a professor, I would definitely use this book as a required reading for class. It was useful and educational.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this book, Levine did a good job on describing the reasons behind the favor and the opposition of arming the slaves in the Southern states during the Civil War. I recomend this book especially if you want to study the issues of slavery and civil war in more detail. I would use this book if I were a professor because it did a good job of explaining the tension that occured during the civil war and why arming slaves was one of the most debated issues during the war.