Contested LoyaltyDebates over Patriotism in the Civil War North

Contested LoyaltyDebates over Patriotism in the Civil War North

Robert M. Sandow

Print publication date: 2019

ISBN: 9780823279753

Publisher: Fordham University Press


This collection of ten essays explores the contested meanings of patriotismin the Civil War North. The words “loyalty” and “duty” vibrated across Northern society but what did they mean? How were they to be demonstrated? The central goal of this study is to scrutinize how notions of loyalty were debated and defined under the pressures of a long and destructive war. The chapters within eavesdrop on conversations about loyalty in many contexts within Northern society. Some of those settings offer a familiar frame of reference, surveying the newspapers, pamphlets, letters, and speeches that evidence partisan definitions of loyalty. These scholars, however, strain to hear those voices not just in the statehouses and capital buildings but in the churches, colleges, workshops, city streets, military camps, and even bedrooms of ordinary northern people. What emerges is not a unified consensus on loyal actions and values but a patchwork of experiences in which the meaning of loyalty was often stretched and strained for differing and sometimes conflicting purposes.