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Northern CharacterCollege-Educated New Englanders, Honor, Nationalism, and Leadership in the Civil War Era$
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Kanisorn Wongsrichanalai

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780823271818

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823271818.001.0001

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“To Put Those Theories into Practice”

“To Put Those Theories into Practice”

Secession and the Crisis of Character

(p.86) 4 “To Put Those Theories into Practice”
Northern Character

Kanisorn Wongsrichanalai

Fordham University Press

This chapter examines how the New Brahmins applied their college lessons about character and nationalism in deciding whether or not to volunteer in the Union war effort. The young men called upon their understanding of America’s destiny to argue for the Union’s defense. Additionally, they argued that men of character needed to lead the rest of northern society into battle. Many of the New Brahmins encountered opposition from their parents. The crisis of secession and the decision of whether to volunteer thus sparked a generational debate about the proper role of a gentleman in wartime. Additionally, the chapter notes how New Brahmins demanded military rank commensurate with their pre-war social positions.

Keywords:   class, generational conflict, rank secession, volunteering (in the Union Army)

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