Real Masculinity and Manhood
While all sorts of pressures - family, friends, community, perceptions of manhood, quests for glory - worked on them, in the end it was that ability to decide for themselves that led most to enlist. Southerners entered military service to protect hearth and home and to defend their 'rights' - to own slaves, to take those slaves wherever they saw fit, and to live without fear of others encouraging servile insurrection. Since the US government seemed opposed to protecting those rights, they seceded and formed a new government, one that would protect them. Yankees, by contrast, believed in the permanence of the Union. Barely 80 years old, the United States was the great experiment in a democratic republic. 'It was,' so argued an Indiana sergeant, 'the beacon of light of liberty &
A sophisticated system of labor regulation such as the editors of the New Orleans Tribune envisioned certainly had its appeal to African Americans, but even more popular was the method most commonly asserted by blacks as the truest path to economic self-sufficiency land owning. When the plantations of the South shall be parcelled out to the hardy sons of toil who have made them, under the system of slavery, what they are, exhorted one African American writer, war shall cease in our fair land prejudice shall die by the force of a just moral sentiment the descendants of Africa shall no longer be despised because God has been pleased to make them black, but . . . they will be received on the broad principles of their manhood. 76 The plea for land for the freed people arose everywhere - from the freeborn editors of the New Orleans Tribune, from the former slaves in the South Carolina Sea Islands working under new, northern planters, and from northern legislators like George Julian and...
It is due to you, to whom I always speak of your faults, without fear, favour, or affection, to say, I have carefully investigated your conduct from the commencement of this war to the present time, and I am happy in coming to the unbiassed conclusion, that you have fulfilled your duties as good citizens and as men, who love their country. It has been charged by both the ignorant and the evil-disposed against the people of our faith, that the Israelite does not fight in the battles of his country All history attests the untruthfulness of this ungracious charge, generated in the cowardly hearts and born between the hypocritical lips of ungenerous and prejudiced foes. The Israelite has never failed to defend the soil of his birth, or the land of his adoption In respect to those Israelites who are now in the army of the Confederate States, I will merely say, that their patriotism and valor have never been doubted by such men as have the magnanimous souls of Lee, Johnston, Jackson and...
Upon arriving in Dalton, Georgia, to take command of the Army of Tennessee in December 1863, Johnston immediately addressed the lingering morale problem. During the long winter months, he took steps to improve his troops' food rations and living conditions. He also worked hard to reassure the soldiers that his command style would be different than the stern one adopted by Bragg. Johnston passed through the ranks of the common soldiers, shaking hands with every one he met, recalled one soldier. He restored the soldier's pride he brought the manhood back to the private's bosom. . . . He was loved, respected, admired yea, almost worshiped by his troops. I do not believe there was a soldier in his army but would gladly have died for him.
Born in 1786, hero of the second war against Great Britain in 1812 and the war with Mexico in the 1840s, and the Whig Party's nominee for President in 1852, Scott was in the final stage of an illustrious career. He had cut an imposing figure as a younger man, a full 6 feet 5 inches tall, immaculately dressed and of flawless military bearing. Ulysses S. Grant described him in the 1840s as 'the finest specimen of manhood my eyes had ever beheld, and the most to be envied.' By 1861, Scott suffered from an array of ailments and weighed more than 3001b (135kg), but his mind remained strong and in April and May he formulated a long-range plan for defeating the Confederacy.
Excerpt from I Claim the Rights of a Man Henry McNeal Turners speech before the Georgia State Legislature
Speaker Before proceeding to argue this question upon its intrinsic merits, I wish the members of this House to understand the position that I take. I hold that I am a member of this body. Therefore, sir, I shall neither fawn nor cringe before any party, nor stoop to beg them for my rights. Some of my colored fellow members, in the course of their remarks, took occasion to appeal to the sympathies of members on the opposite side, and to eulogize their character for magnanimity. It reminds me very much, sir, of slaves begging under the lash. I am here to demand my rights and to hurl thunderbolts at the men who would dare to cross the threshold of my manhood. There is an old aphorism which says, fight the devil with fire, and if I should observe the rule in this instance, I wish gentlemen to understand that it is but fighting them with their own weapon.
Free at Last A Documentary History of Slavery, Freedom, and the Civil War. New York The New Press, 1992. Reprinted in paperback. A basic collection of primary testimony relating to black participation in the Civil War. The editors provide excellent introductory essays to sections dealing with black military service, the process of emancipation, and the transition from slave to free labor in the Upper and Lower South. Clinton, Catherine, and Silber, Nina, eds. Divided Houses Gender and the Civil War. New York Oxford University Press, 1992. Reprinted in paperback. Includes essays by eighteen scholars on various facets of women's wartime experience, conceptions of manhood, and other aspects of gender history. Foner, Eric. Reconstruction America's Unfinished Journey, 1863-1877. New York Harper & Row, 1988. Reprinted in paperback. This standard survey includes material on wartime reconstruction.
If thou hast not answered truly, in obedience to the promptings of thy holier nature, so shalt thou be judged in the last day, when the secrets of thy heart shall be revealed, and the actions and purposes of thy life on earth shall return to thy . soul their fruits of bitterness or joy eternal. I charge thee, if thou art impelled hitherward by curiosity if thou cherish other purposes, in this regard, than the highest and the holiest which thy heart can conceive, it were better for thee that thy feet had never passed the threshold of our outer court. Our faithful and beloved brothers, who have conducted thee hither into this presence, are thy sponsors. A fearful responsibility is upon them If thou should falsify their assurances to us, betray us, betray their trust, or stain thy manhood by unworthy actions, it will be their painful duty to publish thy shame, so that thou art expelled, and ever after excluded from the society of honorable men. Brothers, explain your...
During the course of the American Civil War, approximately 620,000 soldiers (360,000 Union and 260,000 Confederate) lost their lives. As these troops died, surviving soldiers struggled to conquer their fears and conduct themselves with honor. Most soldiers believed in the cause for which they were fighting, and many entered the war in order to prove their manhood. But even the bravest of men sometimes found it difficult to continue fighting when friends and comrades were falling all around them.
Wallace had set about raising the lltli Indiana as soon as he heard about (he firing on Fort Sumter, the first act of the blood) drama of (lie Civil War. Recruiting posters were put up all over Indiana and brave volunteers flooded in. The 11th had nearlv the same effect as Fllsvvorth's dashing United States Zouave Cadets. The llth's snappv Zouave drill, devised bv Wallace, attracted plentv of spectators. In her book The Soltlier of Indiana in the War Jor lite ( nion, historian Catherine Merrill wrote that Wallace's Zouaves were 'tall, erect, in the bloom and vigor of young manhood. Their appearance would have been striking w ithout the aid of the show) uniforms'.
Eventually black soldiers received an opportunity to prove themselves in combat. It was only on the field of battle that they could demonstrate their manhood and earn the postwar rights that they coveted. (Library of Congress) Eventually black soldiers received an opportunity to prove themselves in combat. It was only on the field of battle that they could demonstrate their manhood and earn the postwar rights that they coveted. (Library of Congress)
Women played an integral part in raising these local regiments. They cajoled family members and sweethearts to join the ranks, often proclaiming that they would not tolerate a shirker in their society. Some women postponed engagements until their fiances had enlisted in the local unit, refused to talk to nonenlisted men, and publicly scorned those not willing to wear a military uniform. Stories abound of women who shamed men into service by sending nonenlistees a piece of women's clothing, thereby solidifying the connection between military service and masculinity. Many women made it known that they were more than willing to judge those who served against those who did not. Some single women made it clear that they would not allow men to court them if
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