Thursday, July 17, 2014

New Release: Blair on Treason and Loyalty in the Civil War Era

New from the University of North Carolina Press: With Malice Toward Some: Treason and Loyalty in the Civil War Era, by William A. Blair (Pennsylvania State University). A description from the Press:
Few issues created greater consensus among Civil War-era northerners than the belief that the secessionists had committed treason. But as William A. Blair shows in this engaging history, the way politicians, soldiers, and civilians dealt with disloyalty varied widely. Citizens often moved more swiftly than federal agents in punishing traitors in their midst, forcing the government to rethink legal practices and definitions. In reconciling the northern contempt for treachery with a demonstrable record of judicial leniency toward the South, Blair illuminates the other ways that northerners punished perceived traitors, including confiscating slaves, arresting newspaper editors for expressions of free speech, and limiting voting. Ultimately, punishment for treason extended well beyond wartime and into the framework of Reconstruction policies, including the construction of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Establishing how treason was defined not just by the Lincoln administration, Congress, and the courts but also by the general public, Blair reveals the surprising implications for North and South alike.
A few blurbs:
"William Blair’s With Malice toward Some represents a remarkably fresh contribution toward historians' understanding of treason and loyalty during the Civil War era. Highly original and deeply researched in heretofore neglected sources, Blair offers a elegantly written reinterpretation that operates at many levels, with many different actors, and with profound implications for the American constitutional system during wartime. A must read for nineteenth-century American historians." --William A. Link
"This book makes a very important contribution to the scholarship on treason and disloyalty during the American Civil War and Reconstruction; it has wonderful new research while drawing on the latest literature; and it is a very good read." --Michael Vorenberg
More information is available here.