Archive | March, 2017

Citizens at Last: Winning the Fifteenth Amendment

Nobody “gave” African-Americans the right to vote.  They won it for themselves, largely through the tireless advocacy of the black veterans who had helped to win the Civil War for the Union. This is the central argument of Christian Samito’s book, Becoming Americans Under Fire.  Samito traces their slow progress towards full citizenship, and the […]

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A Community Out of Chaos

Martha Bettis Cooper was a survivor.  In spite of the chaos and destruction around it, the city of Leavenworth prospered during the Civil War, and Martha and her family prospered along with it. By November of 1860, about a year after she and her son Drew arrived, she had bought a house lot worth $120. […]

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Life at the Edge of the War

On the Missouri-Kansas border, the official outbreak of the Civil War merely resurrected the savage conflict over “Bleeding Kansas”  that had paused only briefly a year or two before.  As in other parts of the West, the two regular armies had few troops to spare for remote border struggles.  The inhabitants were left to settle […]

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