Confederate Emancipation: Southern Plans to Free and Arm Slaves During the Civil War

Confederate Emancipation Southern Plans to Free and Arm Slaves During the Civil War In early as the Confederate Army of Tennessee licked its wounds after being routed at the Battle of Chattanooga Major General Patrick Cleburne the Stonewall of the West proposed that the most c

  • Title: Confederate Emancipation: Southern Plans to Free and Arm Slaves During the Civil War
  • Author: Bruce Levine
  • ISBN: 9780195147629
  • Page: 459
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Confederate Emancipation: Southern Plans to Free and Arm Slaves During the Civil War

    In early 1864, as the Confederate Army of Tennessee licked its wounds after being routed at the Battle of Chattanooga, Major General Patrick Cleburne the Stonewall of the West proposed that the most courageous of our slaves be trained as soldiers and that every slave in the South who shall remain true to the Confederacy in this war be freed In Confederate EmancipaIn early 1864, as the Confederate Army of Tennessee licked its wounds after being routed at the Battle of Chattanooga, Major General Patrick Cleburne the Stonewall of the West proposed that the most courageous of our slaves be trained as soldiers and that every slave in the South who shall remain true to the Confederacy in this war be freed In Confederate Emancipation, Bruce Levine looks closely at such Confederate plans to arm and free slaves He shows that within a year of Cleburne s proposal, which was initially rejected out of hand, Jefferson Davis, Judah P Benjamin, and Robert E Lee had all reached the same conclusions At that point, the idea was debated widely in newspapers and drawing rooms across the South, as and slaves fled to Union lines and fought in the ranks of the Union army Eventually, the soldiers of Lee s army voted on the proposal, and the Confederate government actually enacted a version of it in March The Army issued the necessary orders just two weeks before Appomattox, too late to affect the course of the war Throughout the book, Levine captures the voices of blacks and whites, wealthy planters and poor farmers, soldiers and officers, and newspaper editors and politicians from all across the South In the process, he sheds light on such hot button topics as what the Confederacy was fighting for, whether black southerners were willing to fight in large numbers in defense of the South, and what this episode foretold about life and politics in the post war South Confederate Emancipation offers an engaging and illuminating account of a fascinating and politically charged idea, setting it firmly and vividly in the context of the Civil War and the part played in it by the issue of slavery and the actions of the slaves themselves.

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    One thought on “Confederate Emancipation: Southern Plans to Free and Arm Slaves During the Civil War

    1. Matt

      Debunks every "black confederate" myth. It shows the near impossibility of confederate emancipation and that "emancipation" would only prop up the remains of slavery and the race system.

    2. Jerome

      An informative, readable and well-researched if somewhat poorly edited history of Confederate emancipation that allows Cleburne and other Confederates to speak for themselves.In a thorough and well-written narrative Levine describes the context and origins of the Confederate debate, the main figures, and their motives. The most important motive of the proponents of emancipation was simply military necessity, given Confederate manpower shortages and how the idea was resisted by many Confederates, [...]

    3. Mark Cheathem

      Excellent look at why the Confederacy could not and would not embrace the emancipation of slaves until it was absolutely necessary; by then, of course, it was too late. Even the emancipation plan that was enacted at the end of the war was weak and left white southerners' in control of the future of slaves.

    4. Roger

      Great read to dispel the common myth perpetuated by southerners, that emancipation was favored by many southerners. By delving into the viewpoints of reluctant politicians and stubborn planters, Levine shows the failure of a necessary southern emancipation (it would have turned the tides of war) against the monetary interests and social stratum of southern society. Levine could be more concise with his verbiage, but the overall message was effective.

    5. R.E. Thomas

      This book is an able and frank study of the Confederate wartime emancipation debate. As such, it punctures a several popular myths along the way. For example, if most people are aware of the Confederate emancipation debate, they think it was a last desperate gasp at the end, but it wasn't. Far-sighted prominent army officers and politicians were arguing for the freeing and enlistment of blacks from the very beginnings of the war. It's just the the opposition to the measure was fierce, widespread [...]

    6. David Lucander

      A quick read, but densely packed. Very thoroughly researched, and full of great quotes pulled from sources like old Confederate newspapers. This book definitely informs Levine's "Fall of the House of Dixie" (read it a week or so ago), but it's for a more scholarly audience. Makes a compelling case that the Civil War was all about slavery, and manages to do so in a linear fashion even though the book is ostensibly about Confederate plans to arm and free a number of slaves for their cause.

    7. Sean Chick

      A well written and deftly argued book that more than any other shows the South's utter commitment to slavery. Cleburne, Lee, Davis, and Benjamin look less like progressives and more like Southern patriots who could think outside the narrow confines of slavery while still supporting black racial inferiority.

    8. Jason S

      An interesting book, but it got significantly repetitive in spots. Argues persuasively that Confederate hesitation to use slaves as soldiers after 1862 was proof that the war was all about slavery, as it anyone still believes that.

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