A Documentary History of the American Civil War EraVolume 2, Political Arguments
Mackey, Thomas C., ed.
Cloth Edition, $49.95t
Cloth ISBN: 1-57233-948-9
Status: In Print
DescriptionA Documentary History of the American Civil War Era is the
first comprehensive collection of public policy actions, political
speeches, and judicial decisions related to the American Civil War.
This three-volume set gives scholars and students easy access to
the full texts of both the most important, fundamental documents
as well as hard-to-find, rarely published primary sources on this
critical period in U.S. history.
Volume 2 in the series, Political Arguments, presents the
words of politicians, political party platforms, and administrative
speeches. It is divided into two sections. The first, Voices of
the Politicians and Political Parties, comprises the platforms
of the major (and some minor) parties from 1856 to 1876. Also
included are such pieces as Robert E. Lee’s letter of resignation
from the U.S. Army, a few key speeches by that rising politician
from Illinois, Abraham Lincoln, and a letter on the “American
Question” written by a European observer, Karl Marx. Other
items include examples of the 1860–1861 state ordinances of
secession and addresses on emancipation and Reconstruction by
Jefferson Davis and by the Republican leader in the House of
Representatives, Thaddeus Stevens.
Section two, Voices of the Administrations, contains
records from the presidencies of James Buchanan, Abraham
Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, and Rutherford B.
Hayes as well as a message from Confederate President Jefferson
Davis telling his congress that the Southern cause was “just and
holy.” Classic documents such as Lincoln’s announcement of
forthcoming emancipation and the Emancipation Proclamation
are here, as are lesser-known but important documents such as
Francis Lieber’s 1863 revised law code for war, General Order
100, and Attorney General James Speed’s 1865 opinion supporting
the Johnson administration’s decision to try the Lincoln murder
conspirators by special military commission and not in the civilian
Each of the selections in Political Arguments is preceded
by editor Thomas Mackey’s introductory headnotes that explain
the document’s historical significance and trace its lasting impact.
These commentaries provide insight into not just law and public
policy but also the broad sweep of issues important to Civil War–
A Documentary History of the American Civil War Era
is an essential acquisition for academic and public libraries in
addition to being a valuable resource for courses on the War and
Reconstruction, legal history, political history, and nineteenth-
century American history.
Thomas C. Mackey is professor of history at the University of
Louisville and adjunct professor of law at the Brandeis School
of Law. He is the author of Red Lights Out: A Legal History of
Prostitution, Disorderly Houses, and Vice Districts, 1870–1917
and Pornography on Trial: A Handbook with Cases, Laws, and
David Schenck and the Contours of Confederate Identity (Cloth)
The Final Battles of the Petersburg Campaign (Paper)
A Documentary History of the American Civil War Era (Cloth)