New Perspectives on Civil War-Era Kentucky
Published by: The University Press of Kentucky
Imprint: The University Press of Kentucky
Sales Date: 07/01/2023
As a Unionist but also proslavery state during the American Civil War, Kentucky occupied a contentious space both politically and geographically. In many ways, its pragmatic attitude toward compromise left it in a cultural no-man's-land. The constant negotiation between the state's nationalistic and Southern identities left many Kentuckians alienated and conflicted.
Lincoln referred to Kentucky as the crown jewel of the Union slave states due to its sizable population, agricultural resources, and geographic position, and these advantages, coupled with the state's difficult relationship to both the Union and slavery, ultimately impacted the outcome of the war. Despite Kentucky's central role, relatively little has been written about the aftermath of the Civil War in the state and how the conflict shaped the commonwealth we know today.
New Perspectives on Civil War–Era Kentucky offers readers ten essays that paint a rich and complex image of Kentucky during the Civil War. First appearing in the Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, these essays cover topics ranging from women in wartime to Black legislators in the postwar period. From diverse perspectives, both inside and outside the state, the contributors shine a light on the complicated identities of Kentucky and its citizens in a defining moment of American history.
Introduction: "Truly a House Divided During the Civil War"
1. Kentucky, the Civil War, and the Spirit of Henry Clay
2. The Religion of Proslavery Unionism: Kentucky Whites on the Eve of Civil War
3. The Crouching Lion's Fate: Slave Politics and Conservative Unionism in Kentucky
4. Netherworld of War: The Dominion System and hte Contours of Federal Occupation in Kentucky
5. Garrett Davis and the Problem of Democracy and Emancipation
6. Lincoln's Judge Advocate General: Joseph Holt of Kentucky
7. Bluegrass and Volutneer: Sister States or Enemy States?
8. A "Sisters' War": Kentucky Women and their Civil War Diaries
9. The Freedmen's Bureau in the Jackson Purchase Region of Kentucky, 1866-1868
10. Pioneer Black Legislators from Kentucky, 1860's-1960's
This is clearly the best scholarly work on Kentucky in the Civil War era. Comprising essays by the most skillful experts, its ranges from the antebellum years, Unionism and wartime upheaval, through Reconstruction and the African American struggle for civil rights. In sum, this book is essential to grasping events pertaining to politics, economics, gender, slavery, military clashes, occupation and guerrilla warfare, racial conflict, and emancipation in the pivotal Bluegrass State.~T. Michael Parrish, Baylor University