Civil War Wests: Testing the Limits of the United States

Arenson Graybill Civil War Wests cover

The book is now available ! Be the first to hold your copy, on March 6, 2015. In April 2015, the related Autry National Center exhibition will open, alongside a companion volume, Empire and Liberty: The Civil War and the West, edited by Virginia Scharff.

Here’s a new article I wrote when the book launched, discussing how, after the Dred Scott decision, the events in the West, especially during the Civil War and Reconstruction, shaped the contours of U.S. citizenship.

In the meantime, listen to these three-minute introductions by each of the participants!

Read this advance praise from David Blight (“a stellar group of scholars…The parts make a whole here that should alter the way we teach the Civil War and Reconstruction era.”),  Tiya Miles (“In these interlocking chapters, readers will find hidden gems that illuminate ways in which the federal government sought to enforce its authority…”), Elliott West (“should startle every American historian into seeing just how much we have missed by leaving the American West too much out of the story”), and Ari Kelman (“vivid storytelling…No Civil War library can be considered complete without a copy of this volume.”).

Here is the table of contents:

Civil War Wests: Testing the Limits of the United States

Adam Arenson, Introduction

I. Borderlands in Conflict

  • James Robbins Jewell, Thwarting Southern Schemes and British Bluster in the Pacific Northwest — get it in PDF for free!
  • Megan Kate Nelson, Death in the Distance: Confederate Manifest Destiny and the Campaign for New Mexico, 1861-1862
  • Lance R. Blyth, Kit Carson and the War for the Southwest: Separation and Survival along the Rio Grande, 1862-1868
  • Diane Mutti Burke, Scattered People: The Long History of Forced Eviction in the Kansas-Missouri Borderlands

 II. The Civil War is Not Over

  • Nicholas Guyatt,  “The Future Empire of our Freedmen”:  Republican Colonization Schemes in Texas and Mexico, 1861-1865
  • Gregory P. Downs, Three Faces of Sovereignty: Governing Confederate, Mexican, and Indian Texas in the Civil War Era
  • William Deverell, Redemption Falls Short: Soldier and Surgeon in the Post-Civil War Far West
  • Martha Sandweiss, Still Picture, Moving Stories: Reconstruction Comes to Indian Country

III. Borders of Citizenship

  • Joshua Paddison, Race, Religion, and Naturalization: How the West Shaped Citizenship Debates in the Reconstruction Congress
  • Virginia Scharff, Broadening the Battlefield:  Conflict, Contingency, and the Mystery of Woman Suffrage in Wyoming, 1869
  • Fay A. Yarbrough, “dis land which jines dat of Ole master’s”:  The Meaning of Citizenship for the Choctaw Freedpeople
  • Stephen Kantrowitz, “Citizen’s Clothing”: Reconstruction, Ho-Chunk Persistence, and the Politics of Dress

Steven Hahn, Epilogue
Bibliography of Secondary Sources


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