North Carolinians in the Era of the Civil War and Reconstruction

Edited by Paul D. Escott

320 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 3 tables, notes, index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-5901-8
    Published: October 2008
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8078-3726-9
    Published: September 2012
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-8231-8
    Published: September 2012

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Although North Carolina was a "home front" state rather than a battlefield state for most of the Civil War, it was heavily involved in the Confederate war effort and experienced many conflicts as a result. North Carolinians were divided over the issue of secession, and changes in race and gender relations brought new controversy. Blacks fought for freedom, women sought greater independence, and their aspirations for change stimulated fierce resistance from more privileged groups. Republicans and Democrats fought over power during Reconstruction and for decades thereafter disagreed over the meaning of the war and Reconstruction.

With contributions by well-known historians as well as talented younger scholars, this volume offers new insights into all the key issues of the Civil War era that played out in pronounced ways in the Tar Heel State. In nine essays composed specifically for this volume, contributors address themes such as ambivalent whites, freed blacks, the political establishment, racial hopes and fears, postwar ideology, and North Carolina women. These issues of the Civil War and Reconstruction eras were so powerful that they continue to agitate North Carolinians today.


David Brown, Manchester University

Judkin Browning, Appalachian State University

Laura F. Edwards, Duke University

Paul D. Escott, Wake Forest University

John C. Inscoe, University of Georgia

Chandra Manning, Georgetown University

Barton A. Myers, University of Georgia

Steven E. Nash, University of Georgia

Paul Yandle, West Virginia University

Karin Zipf, East Carolina University

About the Author

Paul D. Escott is Reynolds Professor of American History and former dean at Wake Forest University. He is author or editor of thirteen books, including Slavery Remembered: A Record of Twentieth-Century Slave Narratives and Many Excellent People: Power and Privilege in North Carolina, 1850-1900 (both from the University of North Carolina Press).
For more information about Paul D. Escott, visit the Author Page.


"Contributors provide a number of interesting windows on North Carolinians' experiences during the Civil War. . . . The quality of the research and writing make this collection a welcome addition to the literature."--Journal of Southern History

"Exceptional among the countless edited collections of Civil War scholarship because it achieves what every collection editor strives for: consistently strong essays that illuminate developments on the local level while contributing to broader historiographical debates in meaningful ways."--Civil War History

"This collection of essays is a valuable addition to the study of North Carolina during a period of revolutionary change. Paul Escott has enlisted an impressive group of mature and new scholars who explore a variety of pathbreaking and classic topics that tell us more than we ever knew about the years between 1860 and 1900. I learned something new and intriguing from every contribution--including some articles that covered topics that I had researched myself. It is a pleasure to recommend this well-written volume to specialists and interested lay readers alike."--Gordon McKinney, author of Zeb Vance: North Carolina's Civil War Governor and Gilded Age Political Leader

“This volume very effectively shows how North Carolinians fought amongst themselves--over land, labor, family, and control of the state government--as well as against the Yankees during the Civil War. Contributors also demonstrate in fascinating detail how, after the war ended, those conflicts continued to play out in local courts and voting booths until powerful whites developed a new Confederate culture that subsumed and eventually buried all opposition to the rule of white Democrats. In doing so, they destroyed for generations any hopes poor whites and freedpeople in North Carolina had entertained for political equality and economic equity. I can see J.G. de Roulhac Hamilton spinning in his grave now.”--Wayne K. Durrill, University of Cincinnati