American Social History Project • Center for Media and Learning

Stephanie McCurry: Did the Real War Ever Get in the Books?

Published October 18, 2011

Stephanie McCurry, University of Pennsylvania
Civil War @ 150: Did the Real War Ever Get in the Books?
CUNY Graduate Center
February 3, 2011

Introduced by Joshua Brown of ASHP/CML, Professor McCurry describes how she wrote her latest book, Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South, to bring the social history of the Confederacy into a historiography that has up until now focused mainly on the Union and viewed the Confederacy primarily in military and political terms. She reminds listeners that while the service of black soldiers in the Union Army was significant, the majority of slaves shaped the outcome of the war from within the Confederacy, where they remained enslaved. Confederate secession is an extraordinary example of the nineteenth century’s conservative impulses, a failed attempt that still has a great deal to tell us about nationalism and conservatism in the twentieth century as well. Finally, she calls for new histories that more fully account for the war’s international context and interrogate how gendered ideas shaped the era’s politics. This talk was part of the public seminar: Did the Real War Ever Get in the Books?

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