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The Confederate Republic

A Revolution against Politics

By George C. Rable

440 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 12 illus.

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-5818-9
    Published: February 2007
  • eBook ISBN: 978-0-8078-6396-1
    Published: November 2000

Civil War America

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Although much has been written about the ways in which Confederate politics affected the course of the Civil War, George Rable is the first historian to investigate Confederate political culture in its own right. Focusing on the assumptions, values, and beliefs that formed the foundation of Confederate political ideology, Rable reveals how southerners attempted to purify the political process and avoid what they saw as the evils of parties and partisanship.

According to Rable, secession marked the beginning of a revolution against politics, in which the Confederacy's founding fathers saw themselves as the true heirs of the American Revolution. Nevertheless, factionalism developed as the war dragged on, with Confederate nationalists emphasizing political unity and support for President Jefferson Davis's administration and libertarian dissenters warning of the dangers of a centralized Confederate government. Both sides claimed to be the legitimate defenders of a genuine southern republicanism and of Confederate nationalism, and the conflict between them carried over from the strictly political sphere to matters of military strategy, civil religion, and education. Rable concludes that despite the war's outcome, the Confederacy's antipolitical legacy had a profound impact on southern politics.

About the Author

George C. Rable is the Charles G. Summersell Professor of Southern History at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. He is author of Civil Wars: Women and the Crisis of Southern Nationalism and the Lincoln Prize-winning Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg! (from the University of North Carolina Press).
For more information about George C. Rable, visit the Author Page.

Reviews

The Confederate Republic is, in all respects, a valuable contribution to the literature of the wartime South that should receive much scholarly engagement.”--Reviews in American History

“George Rable’s The Confederate Republic captures the political diversity of the Confederacy at the same time [that] it effectively identifies the unifying themes of the rebel state. This beautifully written, comprehensive political history of the confederate experiment emphasizes the continuing dominance and crucial impact of antiparty sentiment in the southern republic. . . . His carefully constructed tour through the intricacies of Confederate politics is intelligently argued and masterfully executed.”--Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

"Rable's spirited iconoclasm deserves serious attention. . . . [His] well-researched book positions him as a significant contributor to the ongoing debate about Civil War politics."--American Historical Review

“George C. Rable’s latest book confirms his reputation as a scholar of depth, versatility, and literary aplomb.”--Civil War History

“George Rable has written the most sophisticated analysis of Confederate politics we are likely to see for a very long time. . . . This extremely well researched book offers a breadth and depth seldom seen.”--Civil War News

"A fine book which offers refreshing and provocative answers to old questions, and stimulates debate over new questions concerning Confederate political history."--Southern Historian