Description : The Grand Army of the Republic, the largest of all Union Army veterans' organizations, was the most powerful single-issue political lobby of the late nineteenth century, securing massive pensions for veterans and helping to elect five postwar presidents from its own membership. To its members, it was also a secret fraternal order, a source of local charity, a provider of entertainment in small municipalities, and a patriotic organization. Using GAR convention proceedings, newspapers, songs, rule books, and local post records, Stuart McConnell examines this influential veterans' association during the years of its greatest strength. Beginning with a close look at the men who joined the GAR in three localities -- Philadelphia; Brockton, Massachusetts; and Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin - McConnell goes on to examine the Union veterans' attitudes towards their former Confederate enemies and toward a whole range of noncombatants whom the verterans called "civilians": stay-at-home townsfolk, Mugwump penion reformers, freedmen, women, and their own sons and daughters. In the GAR, McConnell sees a group of veterans trying to cope with questions concerning the extent of society's obligation to the poor and injured, the place of war memories in peacetime, and the meaning of the "nation" and the individual's relation to it. McConnell aruges that, by the 1890s, the GAR was clinging to a preservationist version of American nationalism that many white, middle-class Northerners found congenial in the face of the social upheavals of that decade. In effect, he concludes, the nineteenth-century career of the GAR is a study in the microcosm of a nation trying to hold fast to an older image of itself in the face of massive social change.
Description : As early as 1865, survivors of the Civil War were acutely aware that people were purposefully shaping what would be remembered about the war and what would be omitted from the historical record. In Remembering the Civil War, Caroline E. Janney examines how the war generation--men and women, black and white, Unionists and Confederates--crafted and protected their memories of the nation's greatest conflict. Janney maintains that the participants never fully embraced the reconciliation so famously represented in handshakes across stone walls. Instead, both Union and Confederate veterans, and most especially their respective women's organizations, clung tenaciously to their own causes well into the twentieth century. Janney explores the subtle yet important differences between reunion and reconciliation and argues that the Unionist and Emancipationist memories of the war never completely gave way to the story Confederates told. She challenges the idea that white northerners and southerners salved their war wounds through shared ideas about race and shows that debates about slavery often proved to be among the most powerful obstacles to reconciliation.
Description : What does a nation owe its military veterans? Gratitude, esteem, land grants, medical care, pensions, higher education? Or is serving in the armed forces of one’s country an obligation to be undertaken without any expectation of compensation? If veterans are to receive government aid, should a distinction be made between those who served in wartime or faced enemy fire and those who saw neither war nor combat? These questions have been answered in varying ways by the American people and their elected representatives since the Revolutionary War. Paid Patriotism? explores the genesis and growth of soldiers’ pensions throughout the nineteenth century, the Bonus experiment after the First World War, the passage and consequences of the GI Bill of Rights, the growth of the nation’s system of veterans’ hospitals, the evolution of veterans’ programs during the Cold War and Vietnam, the post-9/11 GI Bill, and contemporary scandals and reform efforts within the veterans’ bureaucracy, from its promotion to a cabinet department to wrongdoing in the Veterans Health Administration. James T. Bennett examines the complex and politically charged history and heated present-day debate of what the late columnist William Safire called the “most sacred cow” in Washington: the veterans’ bureaucracy. In the end, the United States and its citizens owe veterans a debt. But how has and how should that debt be honored—and at what cost?
Description : After the Civil War, white Confederate and Union army veterans reentered--or struggled to reenter--the lives and communities they had left behind. In Sing Not War, James Marten explores how the nineteenth century's "Greatest Generation" attempted to blend back into society and how their experiences were treated by nonveterans. Many soldiers, Marten reveals, had a much harder time reintegrating into their communities and returning to their civilian lives than has been previously understood. Although Civil War veterans were generally well taken care of during the Gilded Age, Marten argues that veterans lost control of their legacies, becoming best remembered as others wanted to remember them--for their service in the war and their postwar political activities. Marten finds that while southern veterans were venerated for their service to the Confederacy, Union veterans often encountered resentment and even outright hostility as they aged and made greater demands on the public purse. Drawing on letters, diaries, journals, memoirs, newspapers, and other sources, Sing Not War illustrates that during the Gilded Age "veteran" conjured up several conflicting images and invoked contradicting reactions. Deeply researched and vividly narrated, Marten's book counters the romanticized vision of the lives of Civil War veterans, bringing forth new information about how white veterans were treated and how they lived out their lives.
Description : A compelling new history of the Civil War reveals the relationship between Northern consolidation of power during the war and the birth of a new brand of nationalism in American. (History)
Description : The sixteen essays in this volume, all previously unpublished, address the little considered question of the role played by religion in the American Civil War. The authors show that religion, understood in its broadest context as a culture and community of faith, was found wherever the war was found. Comprising essays by such scholars as Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Drew Gilpin Faust, Mark Noll, Reid Mitchell, Harry Stout, and Bertram Wyatt-Brown, and featuring an afterword by James McPherson, this collection marks the first step towards uncovering this crucial yet neglected aspect of American history.
Description : The period between World Wars I and II was a time of turbulent political change, with suffragists, labor radicals, demagogues, and other voices clamoring to be heard. One group of activists that has yet to be closely examined by historians is World War I veterans. Mining the papers of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the American Legion (AL), Stephen R. Ortiz reveals that veterans actively organized in the years following the war to claim state benefits (such as pensions and bonuses), and strove to articulate a role for themselves as a distinct political bloc during the New Deal era. Beyond the Bonus March and GI Bill is unique in its treatment of World War I veterans as significant political actors during the interwar period. Ortiz’s study reinterprets the political origins of the "Second" New Deal and Roosevelt’s electoral triumph of 1936, adding depth not only to our understanding of these events and the political climate surrounding them, but to common perceptions of veterans and their organizations. In describing veteran politics and the competitive dynamics between the AL and the VFW, Ortiz details the rise of organized veterans as a powerful interest group in modern American politics.