Upon the Altar of the Nation: A Moral History of the Civil War

By Harry S. Stout

A well timed reconsideration of "just war," this landmark heritage heavily examines the ethical underpinnings of the battle among the States

while the country tore itself aside in the course of the Civil battle, the North and the South marched below the banner of God. but the real ethical points of this battle have bought little become aware of from historians of the interval. during this gripping quantity, Yale spiritual historian Harry S. Stout demonstrates how either teams’ claims they had God on their aspect fueled the ferocity of the clash and its enduring legacy this day.

continuing chronologically from the election of Lincoln to the beginning of Reconstruction, Stout explores how the basic ethical behavior of the battle shifted from a constrained clash fought over constitutional matters to a complete struggle within which slaughter either off and on the battlefield was once justified because the purely ability to unconditional victory. As North and South alike enshrined their factors as sacred, a type of nationwide faith emerged in response to martyrdom and rebirth via violence.

Drawing on a desirable array of Civil conflict letters, sermons, editorials, diaries, and conflict images, Stout unearths how women and men have been ensnared within the time’s patriotic propaganda and ideological grip and the way those wartime rules proceed to echo within the debates at the present time. absolute to impress a massive reevaluation of this bloody and tormented interval and attract readers of James McPherson, Garry Wills, and David Herbert Donald, Upon the Altar of the Nation is a provocative and miraculous exam of intent and behavior, either off and on the battlefield.

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The clearest and so much literal logo of patriotism and unravel was once the nationwide flag. church buildings, storefronts, houses, and executive structures all waved flags as an indication of loyalty and aid. A state festooned with flags is a state at conflict. On either side, flags assumed a transcendent value as symbols in their respective nation’s sacred value. within the North, Henry Ward Beecher, the nation’s most renowned minister, mentioned the importance of flags: Our flag ability, then, all that our fathers intended within the innovative battle; it capacity all that the announcement of Independence intended; it capability all that the structure of our humans, organizing for justice, for liberty, and for happiness, intended. Our flag contains American rules, American historical past and American emotions. 7 within the South, traditional Confederates have been the main dedicated to unfurling banners, first the celebs and Bars, and shortly thereafter the aptly named Southern pass, which grew to become the with ease pointed out icon of the Confederacy and, later, the misplaced reason. On either side, verse could quickly fuse with image and bring countless numbers of songs directed basically to the nationwide flags. If West element turned the seminary of America’s nationwide faith, then flags might function its religion’s totem. eight to fashionable readers familiar with immediate information, the main fascinating factor to notice within the speedy aftermath of Sumter is the absence of in depth information insurance. quickly the click will be remodeled at the least the army. yet firstly, the clicking needed to apparatus up for an unheard of conflict at the very least the military. Artists, lithographers, and writers within the box must be enlisted for instant and huge insurance. The steam-driven press and telegraph will be coordinated for intelligence amassing and dissemination with out transparent ideas of censure or propaganda. nine quickly a syndicate to feed tales nationally—the linked Press—would be invented in big apple urban, and Richmond could imagine an analogous dissemination provider within the South. even though brief on information, the Northern press wouldn't hesitate to bang the drum for battle. in reality, the looming battle will be a dream come real for Northern newspapers searching for ads profit and increased circulations. For over a new release, the expertise of steam-driven presses and the tradition of a newspaper-reading public have been relocating towards full-blown adulthood. Sectional strife and rumors of warfare would supply the party for reworking the penny press into the most suitable shaper of public details and public opinion. 10 the hot York bring in, based in 1835, boasted the most important stream of penny papers within the state, with greater than seventy-seven thousand day-by-day subscribers in 1860. The paper’s writer, James Gordon Bennett, used to be no good friend of President Lincoln or the abolitionists and at the beginning resisted the drumbeat of patriotism. within the weeks previous Sumter, Bennett appeared virtually extra sympathetic with the South than with the Lincoln management whilst he praised a speech through Alexander Stephens, the vice chairman of the accomplice States of the United States, as “a statesmanlike exposition of the perspectives of the reasonable Southern leaders.

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