Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

The Civil War in the Border South

Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

The Civil War in the Border South

Article excerpt

The Civil War in the Border South. By Christopher Phillips. Reflections on the Civil War Era. (Santa Barbara, Calif., and other cities: Praeger, 2013. Pp. xiv, 171. $37.00, ISBN 978-0-275-99502-7.)

Christopher Phillips, professor of history at the University of Cincinnati, is the author of six books about the border states of the Civil War. The Civil War in the Border South is part of the Reflections on the Civil War Era series and examines the border states in a new paradigm. The intent of the series is to "provide concise, informed, readable syntheses" of familiar topics (pp. ix-x). The goal of this volume is to "assess the war and its collective aftermath" in these states (p. xi).

Phillips presents three main points that he argues historians have overlooked. The first is that the border states played a much larger role in the war's outcome than many historians have recognized. The second is that new analysis of social and cultural factors within these states reveals that slavery died harder in these regions than many historians believe, changing our understanding of the experience and meaning of the war for white and black Americans living in the border states. The third is that the triumph of the North created a larger defeated South than existed in reality, which led to these states' transformation "into their more modern iteration--the Border South" (p. xii).

Phillips uses statistical evidence to support his arguments. For example, his analysis of data demonstrates that, in opposition to previous thinking that slavery steadily declined in the border states before and during the war, slave populations actually increased in some areas before the war. …

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