The Revolution of 1861

The American Civil War in the Age of Nationalist Conflict

By Andre M. Fleche

224 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 15 halftones, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-1368-0
    Published: February 2014
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8078-6992-5
    Published: March 2012
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-8457-2
    Published: March 2012

Civil War America

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Awards & distinctions

James A. Rawley Award, Southern Historical Association

It was no coincidence that the Civil War occurred during an age of violent political upheaval in Europe and the Americas. Grounding the causes and philosophies of the Civil War in an international context, Andre M. Fleche examines how questions of national self-determination, race, class, and labor the world over influenced American interpretations of the strains on the Union and the growing differences between North and South. Setting familiar events in an international context, Fleche enlarges our understanding of nationalism in the nineteenth century, with startling implications for our understanding of the Civil War.

Confederates argued that European nationalist movements provided models for their efforts to establish a new nation-state, while Unionists stressed the role of the state in balancing order and liberty in a revolutionary age. Diplomats and politicians used such arguments to explain their causes to thinkers throughout the world. Fleche maintains that the fight over the future of republican government in America was also a battle over the meaning of revolution in the Atlantic world and, as such, can be fully understood only as a part of the world-historical context in which it was fought.

About the Author

Andre M. Fleche is associate professor of history at Castleton State College.
For more information about Andre M. Fleche, visit the Author Page.


“A wide-ranging and thought-provoking reconsideration of America’s bloodiest conflict. Fleche is to be commended for making it much more difficult for future scholars to view the Civil War through a narrow national lens.”--North Carolina Historical Review

“This study demonstrates that there are still fertile fields of inquiry about a much-studied war. Highly recommended. Most levels/libraries.”--Choice

"Essential reading for anyone interested in placing the American Civil War in broader international patterns of ideology and politics."--Journal of American History

“Makes a great contribution by showing us how the Civil War functioned not as the culmination of history but as an instrument for Americans and Europeans who dared to make nationalism safe for the world.”--Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

“This book is a welcome addition to a small but rapidly expanding shelf in the massive library of the Civil War.”--Journal of Southern History

"The Revolution of 1861 has much to recommend; it combines clear writing with a successful argument for an international interpretation of the war."--West Virginia History