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Contested LoyaltyDebates over Patriotism in the Civil War North$
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Robert M. Sandow

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780823279753

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823279753.001.0001

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“I Do Not Understand What the Term ‘Loyalty’ Means”

“I Do Not Understand What the Term ‘Loyalty’ Means”

The Debate in Pennsylvania over Compensating Victims of Rebel Raids

(p.82) “I Do Not Understand What the Term ‘Loyalty’ Means”
Contested Loyalty

Jonathan W. White

Fordham University Press

Jonathan W. White’s essay studies compensation debates in the Pennsylvania State Legislature to illuminate partisan conceptions of treason and loyalty. Pennsylvanians along the southern border were victimized by multiple Confederate invasions. The widespread damage to property, including thousands made homeless in the 1864 burning of Chambersburg, sparked heated debates in the statehouse over compensation for losses. At issue was the perceived loyalty of the purported victims. In an overwhelmingly Democratic region, many were assumed to give aidand encouragement to the enemy because of their political affiliation. White’s essay examines how Republican legislators attempted to impose loyalty oaths and tests of “proof” to prevent those deemed unworthy and “disloyal” from receiving aid. In the process, White’s narrative sheds light on how Republicans developed and employed a rhetoric of “loyalty” to denigrate their political opponents and foster support for Republican war measures.

Keywords:   Confederate Raids, Loyalty, Pennsylvania, Politics, Treason

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