Gallagher first examines the popular will of the Southerners by asking why the Confederacy fought for so long. Many of the current evidence suggests that conflicts with class, religious doubt about slavery, and disillusionment of the war were the demise of the Confederacy. However, Gallagher argues against these notions by pointing to the hardships suffered and persistent optimism to prove that there was a popular will. The religious revivals of the South continued on throughout the war and many Southerners maintained the belief that slavery had a divine support and God was on their side. Towards the end of this chapter, Gallagher points to historians Elizabeth Fox-Genovese and Eugene Genovese, who argue there was a wide difference and range of opinion in certain classes of the South. Spe...
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...s book by saying until historians can explain why the Confederate people poured their resources into a cause influenced so heavily by slavery, the history will be incomplete.
The Confederate War is a well written book with an interesting argument that relies heavily on personal accounts as backup. Gallagher confronts many historians and their theories with evidence as to why he disagrees. He opens a discussion about the Confederate strategy as well as their will to win the war. There are many primary documents used throughout the book to back his claims as well as photographic evidence. Gallagher suggests that future historians focus on the relationship between the home front and the battlefield to better understand the state of mind during wartime. Overall, this is a straightforward, enjoyable, easy to read book that gives a well-balanced argument to consider.
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