Sister States, Enemy States: The Civil War in Kentucky and Tennessee

By Kent T. Dollar; Larry H. Whiteaker et al. | Go to book overview

Afterword

John V. Cimprich

Over twenty years ago, Benjamin Franklin Cooling argued that events in Kentucky and Tennessee determined the outcome of the Civil War. Certainly, major campaigns there led to an extensive Federal occupation as well as important Confederate invasions, cavalry raids, and guerrilla activity. In any case, developments in the two states illustrate much about the nature of the war in all the Upper South. This collection offers insights into a wide range of topics beyond the well-known battles.1

From the essays of Gary R. Matthews, Thomas C. Mackey, Derek W. Frisby, Robert Tracy McKenzie, and John D. Fowler, one can conclude that the secession movement faced similar obstacles and opportunities in both states. Neither state experienced the full force of Southern sectionalism’s anxieties, and many voters had imbibed the strong nationalism cultivated in the region during Henry Clay’s long political career. Kentucky and Tennessee yeoman tended to conceive of their economic interests as being like those of Northern farmers. A high volume of trade tied the region to the Midwest. Still, the two states had more slaves and slaveholders than several of the original Confederate states. Those realities fostered Southern identities in some. So deep division of opinion existed, sometimes within the same mind.2

William G. Brownlow, like Clay, greatly influenced political attitudes, although the middle-aged Tennessean did so on a much less idealistic level than the deceased Kentuckian. The strength of Unionism made secession-

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