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The original item was published from 9/18/2019 11:33:00 AM to 9/18/2019 2:53:30 PM.

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Hampton History Museum

Posted on: September 13, 2019

[ARCHIVED] "Armies of Deliverance: Union War Aims and Motivation" - Monday, October 7, 7-8 pm

SQUARE Harpers Weekly March 1865

Join Dr. Elizabeth R. Varon, author of the recently released book, Armies of Deliverance:  Union War Aims and Motivation for her perspective on the American Civil War.

Loyal Americans marched off to war in 1861 not to conquer the South but to liberate it. So argues Elizabeth R. Varon in "Armies of Deliverance, a sweeping narrative of the Civil War and a bold new interpretation of Union and Confederate war aims. Northerners imagined the war as a crusade to deliver the Southern masses from slaveholder domination and to bring democracy, prosperity, and education to the region. As the war escalated, Lincoln and his allies built the case that emancipation would secure military victory and benefit the North and South alike. The theme of deliverance was essential in mobilizing a Unionist coalition of Northerners and anti-Confederate Southerners.

Confederates, fighting to establish an independent slaveholding republic, were determined to preempt, discredit, and silence Yankee appeals to the Southern masses. In their quest for political unity Confederates relentlessly played up two themes: Northern barbarity and Southern victimization. Casting the Union army as ruthless conquerors, Confederates argued that the emancipation of blacks was synonymous with the subjugation of the white South.

Interweaving military and social history, Varon shows that everyday acts on the ground--from the flight of slaves, to protests against the draft, the plundering of civilian homes, and civilian defiance of military occupation--reverberated at the highest levels of government. Varon also offers new perspectives on major battles, illuminating how soldiers and civilians alike coped with the physical and emotional toll of the war as it grew into a massive humanitarian crisis.

The Union's politics of deliverance helped it to win the war. But such appeals failed to convince Confederates to accept peace on the victor's terms, ultimately sowing the seeds of postwar discord. Armies of Deliverance offers innovative insights on the conflict for those steeped in Civil War history and novices alike.

About our Speaker
Elizabeth R. Veron is Langbourne M. Williams Professor of American History at the University of Virginia and serves on the Executive Council of the John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History. Varon grew up in northern Virginia. She received her PhD from Yale, and has held teaching positions at Wellesley College and Temple University. A specialist in the Civil War era and 19th-century South, Varon is the author of “We Mean to be Counted: White Women and Politics in Antebellum Virginia” (1998); “Southern Lady, Yankee Spy: The True Story of Elizabeth Van Lew, A Union Agent in the Heart of the Confederacy” (2003); “Disunion!: The Coming of the American Civil War, 1789-1859” (2008); and “Appomattox: Victory, Defeat and Freedom at the End of the Civil War (2013)”. “Southern Lady, Yankee Spy” won three book awards and was named one of the “Five Best” books on the “Civil War away from the battlefield” in the Wall Street Journal. “Appomattox” won the 2014 Library of Virginia Literary Award for Nonfiction, the 2014 Dan and Marilyn Laney Prize for Civil War History (Austin Civil War Roundtable), and the 2014 Eugene Feit Award in Civil War Studies of the New York Military Affairs Symposium, and was named one of Civil War Monitor’s “Best Books of 2014” and one of National Public Radio’s “Six Civil War Books to Read Now.” Varon’s public presentations include book talks at the Lincoln Bicentennial in Springfield; and at Gettysburg’s Civil War Institute; and on C-Span’s Book TV. Her new book, Armies of Deliverance: A New History of the Civil War, appeared with Oxford University Press in March 2019.

After her talk, Dr. Veron will sign copies of her book, “Armies of Deliverance,” available in the museum gift shop for $20. Museum members receive a 10% discount. Not yet a member? Join today and save!

Admission is free to museum members, $5 for non-members.

Detail of image on the book cover: "Marching on!"--The Fifty-fifth Massachusetts Colored Regiment singing John Brown's March in the streets of Charleston, February 21, 1865, Illus. in: Harper's weekly, v. 9, 1865 March 18, p. 165. Library of Congress

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