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The Union War, by Gary W. Gallagher - Civil War Books - Civil War Entertainment: Books, Movies, Music & Art - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Thu Jun 2nd, 2011 05:32 am
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Unionblue
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Bought this book a while ago and enjoyed reading it.

From the flyleaf:

"In a searing analysis of the Civil War North as revealed in contemporary letters, diaries, and documents, Gallagher demonstrates that what motivated the North to go to war and persist in an increasingly bloody effort was primarily preservation of the Union.  Devotion to the Union bonded nineteenth-century Americans in the North and West against a slaveholding aristocracy in the South and a Europe that seemed destined for oligarchy.  Northerners believed they were fighting to save the republic, and with it the world's best hope for democracy.

Once we understand the centrality of union, we can turn appreciate the force that made northern victory possible: the citizen-soldier.  Gallagher reveals how the massive volunteer army of the North fought to confirm American exceptionalism by salvaging the Union.  Contemporary concerns have distorted the reality of nineteenth-century Americans, who embraced emancipation primarily to punish secessionists and remove slavery asa future threat to union--goals that emerged in the process of war.  As Gallagher recovers why and how the Civil War was fought, we gain a more honest understanding of why and how it was won."

From the book, The Union War, by Gary W. Gallagher, chapter 3, Emancipation, pg. 78-79:

 

"...Any attempt to comprehend the roles of slavery and emanciption must differentiate between the war's causes and the goals for which most loyal citizens fought.  Abraham Lincoln spoke the truth abot causation in his Second Inaugural Address, observing that in 1860 4 million slaves "constituted a peculiar and powerful interest.  All knew that this interest was, somehow, the cause of the war."  He meant all Americans--not just those who remained loyal--had known slavery was the key, a fact borne out by ample testimony from leading Confederates.  On April 29, 1861, for example, Jefferson Davis informed the Confederate Congress that efforts to bar slavery from the federal territories had the effect of "rendering the property in slaves so insecure as to be comparatively worthless, and thereby annihilating in effect property worth thousands of millions of dollars."  Slaveholding states embraced secession.  Davis continued, "to avert the danger with which they were openly menaced" by Republican success in 1860.  Neo-Confederates intent on distancing the Confederacy from slavery and writers who find dark economic conspiracies at play with Lincoln andoter Republicans might pretend otherwise, but it is beyond dispute that controversies relating to slavery precipitated secession and by extension the outbreak of fighting in 1861..."

Sincerely,

Unionblue

 



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 Posted: Thu Jun 2nd, 2011 10:25 am
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Texas Defender
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Unionblue-

  I agree with what was written in the flyleaf of the book about the motivations of the northern people to fight the war.

   If when Mr. Gallagher refers to: "Controversies relating to slavery" causing secession and by extention the war, he includes economic issues and the Constitutional question of federal authority over the states among these controversies, then I would be in agreement with him.



 Posted: Thu Jun 2nd, 2011 01:47 pm
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Mark
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I got this book for my birthday a few months ago and just started it. Professor Gallagher makes the vital point that the reasons the war came and the reasons men fought in the war are NOT the same. In my opinion, that statement, so brilliant in its accuracy and simplicity, is one of the most, if not the most, insightful comment I have heard about the war. I hope you enjoy the book as much as I am!

V/R

Mark



 Posted: Thu Jun 2nd, 2011 02:25 pm
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Old North State
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I read it a while ago. Enjoyed the first chapter on the Grand Review in Washington DC. I agree with Gallagher that the concept of the Union was important to many of the soldiers who fought. I also liked his clear distinction between reasons for the war and reasons why an individual fought.



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 Posted: Thu Jun 2nd, 2011 02:48 pm
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HankC
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Similarly, many enlisted because of Pearl Harbor, but Pearl Harbor did *not* cause World War 2...



 Posted: Thu Jun 2nd, 2011 03:08 pm
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Hank C-

  Pearl Harbor didn't cause World War II which began in Europe in 1939, but it certainly caused the US to enter the war in the Pacific in 1941. It also caused Germany and Italy to declare war on the US after the US declared war on Japan. Thus it can be maintained that the bombing of Pearl Harbor caused World War II as far as the Americans were concerned.

  The Triparite Pact with Japan did not require Germany and Italy to come to the aid of Japan, because Japan was the aggressor and not the victim of aggression. However, acts of war had taken place earlier that year between American destroyers and German U-boats, and Hitler was eager to get on with the main event.



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