Past Civil War Events
Adam Arenson, assistant professor of history at the University of Texas at El Paso, examines the efforts of St. Louis’ intellectuals and mercantile elite to make their city the capital of a vast Western empire in the wake of the Civil War.
That ambitious dream was never realized, but the city grew to be a vital cultural and commercial hub. The largest city along the border between free and slave states, St. Louis became a microcosm of the dueling moral systems and competing national visions that dominated mid-19th century America.
University of Pennsylvania historian Stephanie McCurry offers a new interpretation of the Confederacy that contends the South sowed the seeds of its demise in creating a regime that excluded white women and slaves, which together comprised a majority of the population.
Confederate Reckoning was a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for History. McCurry’s talk is the keynote address for the Richard D. McKinzie Research Symposium.
Shawn Faulkner of the Military History Department at the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth discusses the conditions faced by the average Civil War soldier – on and off the battlefield – in a presentation titled Jonny Reb and Billy Yank.
Faulkner explains the many factors that shaped the daily lives of the soldiers, including the quality and availability of food, clothing, shelter and medical care. Faulkner also answers the question: What motivated soldiers on both sides to fight and to endure the hardships of war?
The Border Reconstructed and Remembered, moderated by Gary Kremer, The State Historical Society of Missouri, and featuring talks by:
Aaron Astor, Maryville College; The Lexington Weekly Caucasian: White Supremacist Discourse in Post-Civil War Western Missouri
John McKerley, The State Historical Society of Missouri; Across the Bloody Chasm: Race, Liberalism, and the Reconstruction of Missouri Politics
Sectional Crisis and Civil War on the Western Border, 1860-1865, moderated by William Piston, Missouri State University, and featuring talks by:
Randy Mullis, Command and General Staff College; The Illusion of Security and the Fragility of Peace: Kansas and Missouri on the Eve of the Civil War
Jonathan Earle, University of Kansas; “If I Went West, I Think I Would Go To Kansas”: Abraham Lincoln, the Sunflower State, and the Election of 1860
Making the Border Bleed: Slavery and Politics in Territorial Kansas, moderated by Virgil Dean, Kansas Historical Society, and featuring talks by:
Kristen Epps, Colorado State University – Pueblo; Before the Border Wars: Slavery and Southern Settlement on the Western Frontier, 1825-1845
Nicole Etcheson, Ball State University; The Goose Question: The Proslavery Party in Territorial Kansas and the “Crisis in Law and Order”
Michael Fellman, a preeminent scholar of the American Civil War and an expert on the guerilla warfare that characterized the conflict in the Missouri-Kansas borderlands, considers how perfectly ordinary Americans could revise their moral and religious beliefs to justify such extraordinary violence with relative ease. Selectively picking texts from Holy Scripture, they assembled a war God perfectly suited to their actions out of Christian belief.
The Border Wars Conference, featuring sessions at both the Central Library and the Plaza Branch, offers an exploration of this most uncivil of wars while providing insight into the ways in which societies can be fragmented by ideology and ultimately rebuilt upon different lines.
Historian Terry Beckenbaugh of the Military History Department at the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth discusses The First Year of the Civil War in Missouri.
Faced with a divided nation, Abraham Lincoln deemed the loyalty of the border slave states crucial to the preservation of the Union. But while most scholars contend that these states were secure by the end of 1861, award-winning historian William C. Harris argues in Lincoln and the Border States: Preserving the Union, that Confederate campaigns and guerrilla activities kept the region in constant turmoil, and that those states preoccupied Lincoln throughout the war.