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The negative effects of americas string of international conflicts

The Aftermath of War

Civil War as Global Conflict: Transnational Meaning of the American Civil War edited by: University College London Citation: Transnational Meaning of the American Civil War, review no.

Over the last half-decade or so a plethora of conferences, symposia, and discussion panels — many of which have matured into special issues and edited collections — have been convened to explore and encourage the internationalization of American history. Graduate students now producing dissertations on any aspect of the American Civil War can hardly get away with failing to at least acknowledge the wider world in which it occurred.

In short, it appears what was once an emerging trend towards a transnational history of the American Civil War is bearing some marks of scholarly consensus. There are all sorts of possible reasons for Americans to be reticent about embracing the Civil War as a global conflict but two are particularly the negative effects of americas string of international conflicts highlighting. And second, attempts to integrate American history into a larger global or transnational history tend to implicitly undermine claims of American exceptionalism — an outcome that, generally speaking, academic historians may still be more comfortable with than the American public at large.

Gleeson and Simon Lewis position their edited collection as a bridge to academic interest in a more globally framed history of the Civil War for public audiences who may be prone to approach the idea with caution.

Accordingly, Gleeson and Lewis suggest in their introductory chapter that the significance of global and transnational histories of the Civil War should involve more than allusions to its academic utility.

The substantive chapters of the collection divide into three sections.

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The standard of scholarship on offer is exceptionally high: Certain variations of style and focus emerge in consequence of the range of disciplines represented and in some cases professions but this does little to detract from the overall quality of work on display. All contributors have lived up to the goals of the editors in terms of presenting their work in an accessible form that speaks to those without a background in their specialty. And parochial debates are kept to a minimum.

Nowhere in this collection, for instance, is there a clear dissection of the differences between, say, global, transnational, or international history. The opening section contains four essays that together integrate the American Civil War into a global web of contemporaneous forces and ideas. Here the authors tend to focus on questions of Civil War causation or Southern secession and use the global perspective to reconsider why slavery became a uniquely intractable problem for mid-19th-century Americans.

By contrast, James M.

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The second section applies the broader arguments of the first to more specific cases of transnational connections and experiences. Focusing on the subset of Englishmen who identified as members of St.

According to Marrs, the FRUS — an annually produced official compilation of American diplomatic documents — may have been a transparently political endeavor when it began in 1863 under the Lincoln administration but it was also a harbinger of greater government accountability to its citizens and an indication that those citizens evinced considerable interest in the conduct of their foreign affairs. Marx draws some fascinating parallels between South African and the United States history in the process that should prove especially thought provoking to those of us who grew to know the United States by consuming images of it from abroad.

In an attempt not to overlook the individual and the local for the sake of the global a selection of subjective responses are elicited from public history workers most of whom enjoy double lives as academic historians or vice versa on the question of why the American Civil War is still worth remembering.

In all, the roundtable emphasizes just how personal American Civil War memory remains despite its 150-year remove. Most participants express bewilderment at the sheer scale of destruction, sadness that Americans allowed it to happen in the first place, and frustration that discussion of the conflict remains so divisive.

  • But the war was divisive for the northern republic, exacerbated by the slavery issue and by factious politics in Washington;
  • He required the evacuation and restoration of all territories occupied by the Central Powers in Russia , Belgium , Romania , Serbia and Montenegro.

Most contributions to the roundtable thereafter pivot on Edmund L. However, differences arise over how go about demonstrating such good intentions. Should we visit slave cabins, for instance, to experience evidence of the past uncolored by present politics W.

Just like Civil War era Americans were quick to reintegrate ex-Confederate officers back into the American society, Foreman points out, so too are former IRA leaders now enjoying prominent peacetime careers in a British union they until only recently sought to terrorize. Like most attempts at global history the collection remains vulnerable to criticism that it fails to deliver on the all-encompassing coverage expected of the genre.

That said, however, this volume rightly asserts its success at weaving the traditionally insular narratives of American Civil War history into a more globalized tapestry. Whether doing so will help raise the level of civic discourse surrounding the American Civil War is tougher to determine.

And if positioning the American Civil War as a global conflict still strikes some as an inherently unsettling task then this collection makes holding onto such reservations a good deal harder to justify. Notes A representative spread of these events include: Caleb McDaniel and Bethany L. Back to 1 On early influential calls for a transnational approach to the history of the United States, see: Thomas Bender Berkeley, CA, 2002.

  • Meanwhile in Indochina , Ho Chi Minh, who had unsuccessfully tried to submit the Vietnamese national case to the Paris conference, exploited the growing resentment against French colonial rule in the 1930s;
  • Initially with only Professor Paul Mantoux 1877-1956 in attendance as interpreter, in early April they recruited the British cabinet secretary, Sir Maurice Hankey 1877-1963 , to record their decisions and offer his support to meetings that continued to tackle issues on an ad hoc basis;
  • He was determined that Britain should receive as much as possible of any German reparation payments, employing all his considerable political and linguistic skills in this pursuit.

Back to 3 See, for example: Back to 4 The author is happy to accept this review, and does not wish to comment further.