Proslavery Professors: Classic Natural Right and the Positive Good Argument in Antebellum Virginia
by Chad Vanderford
In the 1850s Professors in Virginia moved away from an argument for slavery as a “necessary evil” and instead started calling it a “positive good”. Vanderford argues that these professors used the idea of Classic Natural Right to explain slavery as a positive good in a “legitimate, if nevertheless, unfortunate way.”
“For the Good of the Cause and the Protection of the Border”: The Service of the Indiana Legion in the Civil War, 1861-1865
by John Michael Foster Jr.
The Indiana Legion was Indian’s active militia force during the Civil War. Its units helped patrol the southern border of Indiana to protect against Confederate raiders, rounded up deserters and political dissenters, quelled unrest, and acted to reduce fears of state residents about Confederate invasions. The Legion was often poorly armed, poorly paid, and ineffective. They were especially unable to contain veteran raiders such as John Hunt Morgan’s Confederate cavalry. However, says Foster, the Legion also succeeded in many ways, especially in preventing even more guerrilla incursions and by supplying a ready host of trained manpower for Indiana’s front line units in the war. In the end, according to the author, the Indiana Legion was not as good as the best militia organizations in the North, but it was better than some, especially states which had no organized militia.
“Far Above Our Poor Power to Add or Detract”: National Park Service Administration of the Gettysburg Battlefield, 1933-1938
by Jennifer M. Murray
The National Park Service took over the day to day operations of Gettysburg National Battlefield in 1933. Jenniefer Murray’s article focuses on the efforts of the NPS’ first five years in charge. The first NPS Superintendent, James R. McConaghie, had a background in architecture rather than history. Though the NPS did some positive things in its first five years at Gettysburg, such as improving infrastructure such as roads and visitor amenities and providing visitors with more opportunities to learn about the battle, it also left some unfortunate legacies, including a complete redesign of the National Cemetery, the destruction of the historically significant Forney Farm, and an emphasis on farming the battlefield for profit which unfortunately changed the landscape greatly from its 1863 appearance. This last shortcoming is only now beginning to be rectified by the National Park Service in an effort to allow visitors to see what soldiers saw in 1863.
- This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War by Drew Gilpin Faust
- Joining Places: Slave Neighborhoods in the Old South by Anthony E. Kaye
- Storm over Texas: The Annexation Controversy and the Road to Civil War by Joel H. Silbey
- Creating the Culture of Reform in Antebellum America by T. Gregory Garvey
- The Madness of Mary Lincoln by Jason Emerson
- Gone with the Glory: The Civil War in Cinema by Brian Steel Wills
- Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee Through His Private Letters by Elizabeth Brown Pryor
- The Young America Movement and the Transformation of the Democratic Party, 1828-1861 by Yonatan Eyal
- Fenians, Freedmen, and Southern Whites: Race and Nationality in the Era of Reconstruction by Mitchell Snay
- The Colfax Massacre: The Untold Story of Black Power, White Terror and the Death of Reconstruction by LeeAnna Keith
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