Confederate Nationalism in Georgia, Louisiana, and Virginia During the American Civil War, 1861-1865
This dissertation revolves around the construction of Confederate identity in the states of Georgia, Louisiana, and Virginia and adds regional specificity into the discussion of Confederate nationalism. The "hodgepodge" nature of the Confederacy only emphasized the importance of understanding the foundation of Confederate nationalism and its uniformity, not regional variations. Whether or not Confederate identity formation during the war transcended state and regional variation or differed from place to place within these three Confederate states is the important question this study addresses. Confederate nationalism was not monolithic. Instead, this project identifies five themes which allowed southerners in the states of Georgia, Louisiana, and Virginia to construct an identity for themselves as Confederate citizens which they believed differed from the identity of their American counterparts. The five themes of Confederate nationalism were the American Revolution, religion, slavery, white supremacy, and states' rights. The five themes needed to accentuate the common connections which bonded citizens in the Confederacy together, highlight the differences between Confederate and American citizens, and provide justification for the war. The first four themes of Confederate nationalism promoted unity regardless of geographic location while the fifth theme of Confederate identity, states' rights, proved to be divisive. Within the state of Georgia, Governor Joseph E. Brown waged a campaign against conscription and the suspension of habeas corpus; two governmental policies he believed were detrimental to states' rights. In addition to questions about Confederate identity formation, this project also explores the lives of free African Americans and Jews who called these three states of the Confederacy their home. This study adds free African Americans back into the historical narrative of Confederate nationalism and re-examines their role in the seceded states in detail. This dissertation asks how the presence of free people of color and Jews impacted Confederate nationalism. Did the presence of free African Americans and Jews sustain or hinder Confederate nationalism in Georgia, Virginia, and Louisiana during the Civil War?