Why Confederates Fought
Family and Nation in Civil War Virginia
By Aaron Sheehan-Dean
312 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 6 illus., 3 figs., 3 tables, 3 maps, appends., notes, bibl., index
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-6184-4
Published: September 2009
eBook ISBN: 978-0-8078-8765-3
Published: November 2009
Civil War America
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Sheehan-Dean challenges earlier arguments that middle- and lower-class southerners gradually withdrew their support for the Confederacy because their class interests were not being met. Instead he argues that Virginia soldiers continued to be motivated by the profound emotional connection between military service and the protection of home and family, even as the war dragged on. The experience of fighting, explains Sheehan-Dean, redefined southern manhood and family relations, established the basis for postwar race and class relations, and transformed the shape of Virginia itself. He concludes that Virginians' experience of the Civil War offers important lessons about the reasons we fight wars and the ways that those reasons can change over time.
About the Author
Aaron Sheehan-Dean is the Fred C. Frey Chair in Southern Studies at Louisiana State University. He is editor of Struggle for a Vast Future: The American Civil War and The View from the Ground: The Experience of Civil War Soldiers.
For more information about Aaron Sheehan-Dean, visit the Author Page.
"A careful analysis [that] should . . . supersede previous works."--American Historical Review
"Paying refreshingly close attention to change over time, Sheehan-Dean convincingly shows that, far from fracturing the Confederacy, Union hard-war policies condensed it."--Journal of Southern History
"A fresh and forceful contribution to our understanding of why these Virginians fought and how the very course of the war served to create new rationales for their resolve in doing so for so much of the Confederate nation's four-year lifespan."--Civil War Book Review
"A thought-compelling, quality monograph. . . . Highly recommended."--CHOICE
"A singular contribution to the debate. . . . Sensible and engaging."--Journal of Military History
"This well-researched, well written book is a very welcome addition to the literature on nationalism in the Confederacy."--The Journal of American History