As many of my readers will know, military history, and the Civil War specifically are not just about soldiers and the movements of armies on battlefields, though these are usually the most popular subjects for consumption and study by many people. That said, the Civil War also had a profound economic impact, which is important and worth studying to understand the full influence this conflict had on the nation as a whole.
One enterprising doctoral candidate at the University of Georgia, David K. Thomson, who has an impressive curriculum vitae, is chronicling his dissertation research into the role of Union bond sales on the war through his site Bonds of War. Though a new site that is just getting started, as Thomson begins to examine his topic, it will be exciting to see what conclusions he reaches on this unique and seemingly little-known topic of Civil War history. The blog portion of his site will share the stories of those who purchased Union bonds, which looks to be an interesting glimpse into a cross-section of 19th century society.
As someone at the same stage as him, I wish Mr. Thomson luck on his project and success in the historical profession going forward. As you have time during your day, go and check out Bonds of War and support this scholarly project.
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Have a great weekend!
“The Yankee didn’t beat us on the field we were whipped in the Treasury department”. What was the reason for making that statement? If it was to undercut Union military accomplishments, and somehow portray the North ‘s soldiers as less than fair, then all I can say is, “so what?” The important thing is that the secessionist were defeated. How they were defeated is irrelevant.
I did a quick Google search of that quote and it is used in a book dealing with the financial history of the United States, a biography of Jay Cooke, and a book entitled The Man Who Made Wall Street, though I could not find the citations for the source, and all of them attribute the line to a Confederate leader. So, the quote was from a Confederate, not Thomson. I highly doubt Thomson would downplay the abilities of the Union military or their sacrifices towards the war effort, but remember that he is seeking to examine the war through an often overlooked area of study, which I find quite fascinating and making the Civil War parallel World War II. By that, I mean that while our military contributed greatly to the Allied war effort during World War II, our economic engine also contributed mightily (war bonds included) to allowing our output of military material goods to far outpace the capabilities of our Axis foes. Likewise, the Northern economy was able to far outproduce the South in both men and material goods, allowing them to overwhelm the Confederacy economically as well as militarily.
Daniel, when I first saw the quote I thought you were just trying to be another Thomas DiLorenzo. I see now that your intended to show that political decisions and business deals had an overwhelming effect on how the war was won. For years I have been in various online discussions trying to get people understand that just knowing about the generals and the soldiers in the field isn’t enough; you have to know the whole story. I’m reading 1857 by Kenneth Stampp.
I think it gives a good look at what was happening in the years just prior to the war. I also enjoyed books by Gary Gallagher, Edward Ayers, James McPherson. Do you have any favorite Civil War historians?