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Benjamin Forsythe Buckner (1836--1901) faced a dire choice as the flames of Civil War threatened his native Kentucky. As an ambitious Bluegrass aristocrat, he was sympathetic to fellow slave owners, but was also convinced that the Peculiar Institution could not survive a war for southern independence. Defying the wishes of his Rebel fiancée and her powerful family -- yet still hoping to impress them with his resolve, independence, and courage -- Buckner joined the 20th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry in 1861 as a Union soldier. President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation ultimately destroyed Buckner's faith in his cause, however, and he resigned his commission. In this groundbreaking biography, author Patrick A. Lewis uses Buckner's story to illuminate the origins and perspectives of Kentucky's conservative proslavery Unionists and explain why this group became a key force in repressing social and political change during the Reconstruction era and beyond. While other studies have explored how this former Union state cultivated a Confederate identity after the Civil War, For Slavery and Union is the first major work to personify this transformation. Lewis's book provides a deeply nuanced look at the history of the Commonwealth in the nineteenth century and the development of the New South.
Most Americans imagine the Civil War in terms of clear and defined boundaries of freedom and slavery: a straightforward division between the slave states of Kentucky and Missouri and the free states of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Kansas. However, residents of these western border states, Abraham Lincoln's home region, had far more ambiguous identities-and contested political loyalties-than we commonly assume. In The Rivers Ran Backward, Christopher Phillips sheds light on the fluid political cultures of the "Middle Border" states during the Civil War era. Far from forming a fixed and static boundary between the North and South, the border states experienced fierce internal conflicts over their political and social loyalties. White supremacy and widespread support for the existence of slavery pervaded the "free" states of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, which had much closer economic and cultural ties to the South, while those in Kentucky and Missouri held little identification with the South except over slavery. Debates raged at every level, from the individual to the state, in parlors, churches, schools, and public meeting places, among families, neighbors, and friends. Ultimately, the pervasive violence of the Civil War and the cultural politics that raged in its aftermath proved to be the strongest determining factor in shaping these states' regional identities, leaving an indelible imprint on the way in which Americans think of themselves and others in the nation. The Rivers Ran Backward reveals the complex history of the western border states as they struggled with questions of nationalism, racial politics, secession, neutrality, loyalty, and even place-as the Civil War tore the nation, and themselves, apart. In this major work, Phillips shows that the Civil War was more than a conflict pitting the North against the South, but one within the West that permanently reshaped American regions.
Kentucky's first settlers brought with them a dedication to democracy and a sense of limitless hope about the future. Determined to participate in world progress in science, education, and manufacturing, Kentuckians wanted to make the United States a great nation. They strongly supported the War of 1812, and Kentucky emerged as a model of patriotism and military spirit. Kentucky Rising: Democracy, Slavery, and Culture from the Early Republic to the Civil War offers a new synthesis of the sixty years before the Civil War. James A. Ramage and Andrea S. Watkins explore this crucial but often overlooked period, finding that the early years of statehood were an era of great optimism and progress. Drawing on a wealth of primary and secondary sources, Ramage and Watkins demonstrate that the eyes of the nation often focused on Kentucky, which was perceived as a leader among the states before the Civil War. Globally oriented Kentuckians were determined to transform the frontier into a network of communities exporting to the world market and dedicated to the new republic. Kentucky Rising offers a valuable new perspective on the eras of slavery and the Civil War. This book is a copublication with the Kentucky Historical Society.
Includes many engravings of battle scenes and portraits of prominent leaders, some of which were made from photographs of Brady.
Perhaps more than any other citizens of the nation, Kentuckians held conflicted loyalties during the American Civil War. As a border state, Kentucky was largely pro-slavery but had an economy tied as much to the North as to the South. State government officials tried to keep Kentucky neutral, hoping to play a lead role in compromise efforts between the Union and the Confederacy, but that stance failed to satisfy supporters of both sides, all of whom considered the state's backing crucial to victory. President Abraham Lincoln is reported to have once remarked, "I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky." Kentucky did side with Lincoln, officially aligning itself with the Union in 1861. But the conflicted loyalties of Kentucky's citizens continued to impact the state's role in the Civil War. When forced to choose between North and South, Kentuckians made the choice as individuals. Many men opted to fight for the Confederate army, where a great number of them rose to high ranks. With Kentuckians in Gray: Confederate Generals and Field Officers of the Bluegrass State, editors Bruce S. Allardice and Lawrence Lee Hewitt present a volume that examines the lives of these gray-clad warriors. Some of the Kentuckians to serve as Confederate generals are well recognized in state history, such as John Hunt Morgan, John Bell Hood, and Albert Sidney Johnston. However, as the Civil War slips further and further into the past, many other Confederate leaders from the Commonwealth have been forgotten. Kentuckians in Gray contains full biographies of thirty-nine Confederate generals. Its principal subjects are native Kentuckians or commanders of brigades of Kentucky troops, such as Morgan. The first complete reference source of its type on Kentucky Civil War history, the book contains the most definitive biographies of these generals ever assembled, as well as short biographical sketches on every field officer to serve in a Kentucky unit. This comprehensive collection recognizes Kentucky's pivotal role in the War between the States, imparting the histories of men who fought "brother against brother" more than any other set of military leaders. Kentuckians in Gray is an invaluable resource for researchers and enthusiasts of Kentucky history and the American Civil War.

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