Zeb Vance: North Carolina's Civil War Governor and Gilded Age Political Leader

By Gordon B. McKinney | Go to book overview

8 CAMPAIGN FOR GOVERNOR

When describing the development of the Confederate political system, George C. Rable called the system "the revolution against politics." Rable's point was that both the political leaders and the electorate felt strongly that to pursue politics as usual would be unpatriotic in the newly formed Confederacy. Political parties, they believed, should not be allowed to function—or even to be formed—as they had before the war. In many states, and at the national level, this revolution against partisanship appeared to be successful. Parties were not formed in most parts of the new nation, and President Davis had no organized opposition in the sessions of the Confederate Congress. These developments did not mean that there was no opposition to the new government. Opposition was particularly strong among a small group of people who had opposed the secession movement. In a number of locations along the coast, in the central Piedmont, and among the southern mountains, small groups of men actively opposed the disruption of the Union. Throughout the Confederacy there were also rough lines drawn between those who had openly supported secession early in the process and those who had left the Union with reluctance.1

Rable noted that developments in North Carolina were an exception to his rule. More than any other Confederate state, North Carolina retained most of the features of its antebellum political system during the war despite the fact that many of its political leaders and its voters endorsed the call for an end to politics. Marc W. Kruman documented consistent calls for an end to party alignment in the usually partisan state press. There was general agreement that parties should be abandoned until after Confederate independence was assured.2 It is important to note, however, that there was a militant edge to this nonpartisanship. Those who adopted the new line of thinking were prepared to brand anyone who seemed to be pursuing personal or party advantage as traitors to the new nation. The result was a veneer of political unity that remained in place throughout the summer of 1861.

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Zeb Vance: North Carolina's Civil War Governor and Gilded Age Political Leader
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vi
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • 1: What Manner of Man? 1
  • 2: A Mountain Boyhood 5
  • 3: Scholar and Suitor 16
  • 4: Lawyer and Apprentice Politician 31
  • 5: Congressman 49
  • 6: Secession Crisis 65
  • 7: Colonel of the Twenty-Sixth Regiment 78
  • 8: Campaign for Governor 97
  • 9: Building a Strong North Carolina 110
  • 10: Relations with the Confederate Government 130
  • 11: Growing Challenges 152
  • 12: Protest 168
  • 13: Challenges to the Compromise 185
  • 14: Campaign for Reelection 200
  • 15: Returned to Office 217
  • 16: Defeat with Honor 231
  • 17: Prisoner 248
  • 18: The Politics of Reconstruction 264
  • 19: Frustrated Politician 283
  • 20: The Battle of Giants 302
  • 21: Governor Again 324
  • 22: United States Senator 345
  • 23: Party Leader 366
  • 24: Farmers' Alliance and Reelection 384
  • 25: Decline 397
  • 26: Monuments and the Man 406
  • Notes 417
  • Index 467
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