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Slavery and War in the Americas

Slavery and War in the Americas: Race, Citizenship, and State Building in the United States and Brazil, 1861-1870

Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    Slavery and War in the Americas
    Book Description:

    In this pathbreaking new work, Vitor Izecksohn attempts to shed new light on the American Civil War by comparing it to a strikingly similar campaign in South America--the War of the Triple Alliance of 1864-70, which galvanized four countries and became the longest large-scale international conflict in the history of the Americas. Like the Union in its conflict with the Confederacy, Brazil was faced with an enemy of inferior resources and manpower--in their case, Paraguay--that nonetheless proved extremely difficult to defeat. In both cases, the more powerful army had to create an elaborate war machine controlled by the central state to achieve victory.

    While it was not the official cause of either conflict, slavery weighed heavily on both wars. When volunteers became scarce, both the Union and Brazilian armies resorted to conscription and, particularly in the case of the Union Army, the enlistment of freedmen of African descent. The consequences of the Union's recruitment of African Americans would extend beyond the war years, contributing significantly to emancipation and reform in the defeated South.Taken together, these two major powers' experiences reveal much about state building, army recruitment, and the military and social impact of slavery. The many parallels revealed by this book challenge the assumption that the American Civil War was an exceptional conflict.

    A Nation Divided: Studies in the Civil War Era

    eISBN: 978-0-8139-3586-7
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    The 1860s were difficult times for the Western Hemisphere’s two largest countries, the United States of America and the Brazilian Empire. During that decade, both nations were involved in long, costly struggles that challenged their national unity and their internal political cohesion. In the United States, the sectional crisis that had festered since the founding of the nation reached its peak after the 1860 presidential election. The victory of the Republican candidate, Abraham Lincoln, ignited old fears among Southern leaders committed to states’ rights and the survival of slavery, about federal interference in local affairs. These concerns were not new,...

  5. ONE Military Traditions Confront Mass Mobilization in the United States and Brazil
    (pp. 7-24)

    In Brazil and the United States, popular distrust of a professional military took root and grew from the late colonial period to the 1860s. Both societies developed suspicion, resentment, or opposition to national armies and favored local military units commanded by local officers. British North Americans and Luso-Brazilians both organized locally controlled military institutions during the late colonial period and after independence. Comparing connections between the development of different levels of administration in each empire and the distinct social responses to those innovations provides a brief introduction to the social and constitutional problems that limited the expansion of national armies...

  6. TWO The Crisis of the American Recruitment System: Union Army Recruitment, April 1861–July 1863
    (pp. 25-59)

    On November 10, 1862, a hostile crowd surrounded William A. Pors, a longtime resident of the town of Port Washington in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin, as he entered the courthouse. Weeks before, Pors, a local attorney, had been appointed the district draft commissioner by the Wisconsin governor Edward Salomon. Early that morning, a large group of men armed with stones and clubs made their way through the town in an ad hoc procession. The crowd congregated in front of the courthouse, where it confronted the commissioner. A group of women unfurled a banner inscribed “No Draft.” Pors was warned at the...

  7. THREE From Inertia to Insurgence: The Crisis in Brazilian Recruitment, 1865–1868
    (pp. 60-91)

    In the early morning hours of August 22, 1865, a gang of about thirty armed men assaulted the jail in Ingá, a village in the Northeastern cotton province of Paraíba. The gang released all fifteen prisoners. Some of these men were undoubtedly criminals, but others had been conscripted into the Imperial army and were being held in the jail before being sent to the front. Among the conscripts were two sons of the landowner Francisco Antônio de Arruda Câmara. Intoxicated with success, the gang and the prisoners, now close to fifty strong, marched to the recruitment officer’s home, brazenly shouting...

  8. FOUR Forged in Inequality: The Recruitment of Black Soldiers in the United States, September 1862–April 1865
    (pp. 92-127)

    On February 6, 1864, Senator Orville Hickman Browning of Illinois, a longtime acquaintance of Abraham Lincoln, visited the White House. In the course of conversation, as was customary among political allies, Browning asked the president if he could help a friend in trouble. The friend, Mrs. Fitz, was a loyal widow from Mississippi, where she owned a cotton plantation and its labor force. During its advance through Confederate territory, the Union army expropriated her forty-seven slaves and ten thousand bushels of her corn. This conformed to the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared free all the slaves living in rebel territory after...

  9. FIVE Manumitting and Enlisting the Slaves in Brazil, December 1866–August 1868
    (pp. 128-162)

    On November 14, 1867, José Jobim, a respected doctor and imperial political councilor wrote to his friend, Thomas Gomes, describing the misadventures of a recently acquired domestic slave, a young man named Carlos. Jobim had gone to a traditional slave market to buy a replacement for a recently manumitted cook.¹ A particular black woman caught his eye; she came with good references from the coffee district of São Marcos in the Paraíba Valley. During the auction the prospective slave cook was able to negotiate the inclusion of her two children in the deal: first, her daughter and, later in the...

  10. Conclusion: Processes, Effects, Distortions
    (pp. 163-176)

    As the preceding chapters have demonstrated, both Brazil and the United States found themselves in unprecedented but similar situations in response to the wars of the 1860s. The critical need for troops and materials forced each nation-state to centralize to enforce military recruitment. The uneasy triumph of centralization over tenacious forms of localism affected both societies despite differences in demography, in the scope of racial prejudice, and in the amount of popular political participation.

    The move toward a more centralized governing structure was impeded in both countries by lack of bureaucratic expertise and poor military organization. Efforts to consolidate political...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 177-214)
  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 215-236)
  13. Index
    (pp. 237-252)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 253-254)