A secret society history of the Civil War / Mark A. Lause.Material type: TextSeries: JSTOR eBooksPublisher: Urbana : University of Illinois Press, ©2011Description: 1 online resource (xiii, 209 pages :) : illustrationsContent type: text Media type: computer Carrier type: online resourceISBN: 9780252093593; 0252093593; 1283582791; 9781283582797Additional physical formats: Print version:: Secret society history of the Civil War.DDC classification: 973.7 LOC classification: E458.8 | .L38 2011Online resources: Click here to view this ebook.
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Includes bibliographical references and index.
Print version record.
This unique history of the Civil War considers the impact of nineteenth-century American secret societies on the path to as well as the course of the war. Beginning with the European secret societies that laid the groundwork for Freemasonry in the United States, Mark A. Lause analyzes how the Old World's traditions influenced various underground groups and movements in America, particularly George Lippard's Brotherhood of the Union, an American attempt to replicate the political secret societies that influenced the European revolutions of 1848. Lause traces the Brotherhood's various manifestations, the most conspicuous being the Knights of the Golden Circle (out of which developed the Ku Klux Klan), and the Confederate secret groups through which John Wilkes Booth and others attempted to undermine the Union. Lause profiles the key leaders of these organizations, with special focus on George Lippard, Hugh Forbes, and George Washington Lafayette Bickley._x000B__x000B_Antebellum secret societies ranged politically from those with progressive or even revolutionary agendas to those that pursued conservative or oppressive goals. This book shows how, in the years leading up to the Civil War, these clandestine organizations exacerbated existing sectional tensions in the United States. Lause's research indicates that the pervasive influence of secret societies may have played a part in key events such as the Freesoil movement, the beginning of the Republican party, John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry, Lincoln's election, and the Southern secession process of 1860-1861._x000B__x000B_This exceptional study encompasses both white and African American secret society involvement, revealing the black fraternal experience in antebellum America as well as the clandestine operations that provided assistance to escaped slaves via the Underground Railroad. Unraveling these pervasive and extensive networks of power and influence, A Secret Society History of the Civil War demonstrates that antebellum secret societies played a greater role in affecting Civil War-era politics than has been previously acknowledged.
""Cover""; ""Title Page""; ""Copyright Page""; ""Contents""; ""Acknowledgments""; ""Introduction""; ""Prologue. Old World Contours: Revolutionary Politics and the Secret Society Tradition""; ""PART I. ALTERNATIVE MEANS""; ""1. The Brotherhood of the Union: George Lippard and the Palestine of Redeemed Labor""; ""2. Universal Democratic Republicans: Hugh Forbes and Transatlantic Antislavery Radicalism""; ""Illustrations follow page 50""; ""3. Lone Stars and Golden Circles: The Manifest Destiny of George W.L. Bickley""; ""PART II. CHALLENGING POWER""
""4. Higher Laws: The Fulcrum of African American National Identity""""5. Decisive Means: Political Violence and National Self-Definition""; ""PART III. ENDS""; ""6. The Counterfeit Nation: The KGC, Secession, and the Confederate Experience""; ""7. The Republic Saved: Secret Societies and the Survival of the Union""; ""Epilogue. Long Shadows: Lineages of the Secret Society Tradition in America""; ""Notes""; ""Index""
Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal ReviewLause (history, Univ. of Cincinnati) aims to present a scholarly account of the role played by secret societies leading up to and during the Civil War. Tracing American secret societies from their European origins through the latter stages of the war, he concludes that those societies with the most notoriety, such as the Knights of the Golden Circle, were actually less influential than lesser-known organizations such as secret black abolitionist groups, developed with their own private rituals and trappings and distinct from the regular underground abolitionist movement. VERDICT This book will appeal more to those interested in the history of secret societies and activist groups than to readers wanting to learn about the Civil War; the conflict itself is barely mentioned.-M.F. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
CHOICE ReviewClandestine organizations serve two purposes: allowing activists to work with like-minded people to pursue an agenda outside ordinary channels, and permitting frustrated people a conspiratorial explanation for the existence of conditions they find unpleasant and unsettling. In the Civil War era, clandestine groups, often based on the structures and rituals of the Masonic order and modeled after liberal and nationalistic reform organizations in Europe, operated within the US. George Lippard's Brotherhood of the Union and similar groups catalyzed nationalistic, expansionist, and labor movements in the antebellum era, especially in the free states, while African American clandestine groups worked for abolitionism, especially through Prince Hall Lodges. These movements helped shatter the second party system by radicalizing antebellum political discourse. But bogus movements often overshadowed real clandestine organizations. George Bickley's Knights of the Golden Circle (KGC) articulated the rhetoric of extreme Southern proslavery expansion, but existed largely in the imagination of Bickley. Lause (Univ. of Cincinnati) suggests that KGC's persistence in memory stems from the acceptability of the slave power conspiracy, while the substantial but controversial reform agendas of other secret groups found no place in the homogenizing narrative of postbellum nationalism. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries. E. R. Crowther Adams State College
Author notes provided by Syndetics
Mark A. Lause is a professor of history at the University of Cincinnati and the author of numerous books, including Young America: Land, Labor, and the Republican Community and Race and Radicalism in the Union Army.