"To Make the Union What It Ought to Be": African Americans, Civil War Military Service and Citizenship
Taylor, Brian Moffett
This study investigates black Northerners' debates about whether and how to enlist in the Union Army during the American Civil War. It considers the history of African-American military service and citizenship in pre-Civil War America and highlights black Northerners' determination to use any service they performed in the Civil War to win collective gains denied black veterans of earlier wars. It charts how the debate black Northerners conducted regarding service influenced black Northerners' thinking about enlistment, black soldiers' experience of service, and African Americans' post-war struggle for rights and citizenship. It pays particular attention to issues of citizenship and Americans' conceptual thinking about citizenship. It explains why African Americans' campaign to use military service to win citizenship resulted in the type of citizenship it did and evaluates military service as a means of winning citizenship.
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