The Revolution of 1861: The American Civil War in the Age of Nationalist Conflict

TitleThe Revolution of 1861: The American Civil War in the Age of Nationalist Conflict
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsFleche, Andre M.
Number of Pages204
PublisherUniversity of North Carolina Press
CityChapel Hill

It was no coincidence that the Civil War occurred during an age of violent political upheaval in Europe and the Americas. Grounding the causes and philosophies of the Civil War in an international context, this volume examines how questions of national self-determination, race, class, and labor the world over influenced American interpretations of the strains on the Union and the growing differences between North and South. Setting familiar events in an international context, the author enlarges understanding of nationalism in the nineteenth century, with startling implications for general understanding of the Civil War. Confederates argued that European nationalist movements provided models for their efforts to establish a new nation-state, while Unionists stressed the role of the state in balancing order and liberty in a revolutionary age. Diplomats and politicians used such arguments to explain their causes to thinkers throughout the world. The author maintains that the fight over the future of republican government in America was also a battle over the meaning of revolution in the Atlantic world and, as such, can be fully understood only as a part of the global historical context in which it was fought.

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