Indiana Politics during the Civil War

Indiana Politics during the Civil War

Indiana Politics during the Civil War

Indiana Politics during the Civil War

Excerpt

Indiana is one of the few states whose role in the Civil War has not been the subject of a book-length study. Yet of the states which participated in that great conflict perhaps none is more deserving of such attention. In a sense Indiana provides a case study in how the war affected a typical commonwealth of the Old Northwest. Here one can see with exceptional clarity the usual conflict between the Federal War Department and a powerful state executive. Here one can examine the sources of sectional and interstate jealousies. Here one can discover the extreme difficulty with which individualistic Americans were mobilized and regimented for war. Here one can weigh the profound influence of the Civil War upon the lives and thoughts of the people.

But the story of Indiana in this period offers more than that. Nowhere else did the war produce greater political tensions than among the Hoosiers. Nowhere else did the people debate more violently the merits of the revolutionary social changes which the war brought about. Without a doubt there has been a tendency to exaggerate immensely the number of Hoosiers who were openly prosouthern or who favored "peace at any price." Indiana's people overwhelmingly favored the prosecution of the war until the Union was restored. But there was a deep and bitter division between those who wanted "the Union as it was" and those who wanted to break with the past . . .

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