Letting ordinary people speak for themselves, this book uses primary documents to highlight daily life among Americans—Union and Confederate, black and white, soldier and civilian—during the Civil War and Reconstruction.
Between 1861 and 1865, Americans fought one another with unparalleled ferocity over the future of the United States. Yet, during the same four years, Americans North and South went about the business of their everyday lives as best they could. How did they raise and feed their families, earn money, study, pray, and entertain themselves?
Focusing on routines as basic as going to school and cooking and cleaning, Voices of Civil War America: Contemporary Accounts of Daily Life explores the lives of ordinary Americans during one of the nation's most tumultuous eras. The book emphasizes the ordinary rather than the momentous to help students achieve a true understanding of mid-19th-century American culture and society.
Recognizing that there is no better way to learn history than to allow those who lived it to speak for themselves, the authors utilize primary documents to depict various aspects of daily life, including politics, the military, economics, domestic life, material culture, religion, intellectual life, and leisure. Each of the documents is augmented by an introduction and aftermath, as well as lists of topics to consider and questions to ask.
• Original materials from a wide range of sources, including letters, diaries, newspaper editorials, journal articles, and book chapters
• Detailed background for each of the 48 featured documents, placing the experiences and opinions of the authors into historical context
• Allows mid-19th century Americans to speak for themselves by quoting their words at length to bring history alive for readers
• Explores daily life for a wide range of Americans of varied social and economic status
• Provides the tools students need to effectively evaluate the meaning and importance of each document and incorporate it into school and research projects