The end is in sight

With only three more weeks left in the semester, here are two more secondary sources I looked at this week:

“Creating and Instrumenting Nationalism: The Celebration of National Reunion in the Peace Jubilees of 1898,” by Fabian Hilfrich, in the book Celebrating Ethnicity and Nation: American Festive Culture from the Revolution to the Early Twentieth Century, edited by Jurgen Heideking, Genevieve Fabre, and Kai Dreisbach.

This chapter analyzes the peace jubilees of 1898, large celebrations of American victory following the Spanish-American War. Hilfrich focuses on the common theme of North-South reconciliation during these celebrations. Though many scholars touch on the Spanish-American War as the most important beginning moment of national reconciliation, this is the first detailed analysis of the phenomenon I have read so far (thanks Dr. Quigley!) I found this chapter really interesting, reading about the ways in which President McKinley, especially, went out of his way to include Southerners in the national good feeling of the war. His agenda was not quite pure, however—by including Southerners, Hilfrich argues, McKinley was subtly trying to build support for America’s new imperialist aims. I also found Hilfrich’s discussion of Southern anti-imperialism during the Philippine Insurrection useful. As he argues, sectionalism resurfaced thanks to rhetoric comparing rebellion in the Philippines to the Civil War, which advocated a similar policy of intolerance to revolt. This could be very useful as I study WWI, since I now have an idea for one reason why the nationalism of the Spanish-American War did not lead directly to the end of the Lost Cause.

Remembering the Civil War: Reunion and the Limits of Reconciliation, by Caroline E. Janney.

Janney’s new book extends her research into the 1930s, whereas the last one I read—about Ladies’ Memorial Associations in Virginia—stopped at 1915. Thankfully, I suppose, her new work still leaves considerable room for my own, as the WWI era is condensed as part of a chapter spanning 1915 to 1939. The central claim of the book is that reconciliation was never as complete or widespread after the Civil War as people have believed (thanks to reinforcements of the idea found in places like Ken Burns’s The Civil War, etc.) Focusing as she tends to do on women, Janney argues that Southern women’s contributions to the WWI effort helped vindicate southern patriotism (p. 281). One interesting point that Janney makes is that the Union cause of the Civil War was subsumed into the general patriotism of the Spanish-American and Great Wars, leaving the Confederate cause intact and distinct. I think this book will be useful and could very well help me fine tune my argument as I take into consideration the various aspects which played into North-South reconciliation and Confederate memory during WWI.

In other news, I have successfully set up my first full committee meeting for Monday at 10:00—notes will follow in my next post!

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