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A War State All Over, A War State All Over, 0817320598, 0-8173-2059-8, 978-0-8173-2059-1, 9780817320591, , , A War State All Over, 0817392955, 0-8173-9295-5, 978-0-8173-9295-6, 9780817392956,

A War State All Over
Alabama Politics and the Confederate Cause
Ben H. Severance

Trade Cloth
2020. 264 pp.
10 B&W figures / 2 maps / 7 tables
Price:  $49.95 s
E Book
2020. 264 pp.
10 B&W figures / 2 maps / 7 tables
Price:  $49.95 d

An in-depth political study of Alabama’s government during the Civil War
Alabama’s military forces were fierce and dedicated combatants for the Confederate cause.In his study of Alabama during the Civil War, Ben H. Severance argues that Alabama’s electoral and political attitudes were, in their own way, just as unified in their support for the cause of southern independence. To be sure, the civilian populace often expressed unease about the conflict, as did a good many of Alabama’s legislators, but the majority of government officials and military personnel displayed pronounced Confederate loyalty and a consistent willingness to accept a total war approach in pursuit of their new nation’s aims. As Severance puts it, Alabama was a “war state all over.”
In A War State All Over: Alabama Politics and the Confederate Cause, Severance examines the state’s political leadership at multiple levels of governance—congressional, gubernatorial, and legislative—and orients much of his analysis around the state elections of 1863. Coming at the war’s midpoint, these elections provide an invaluable gauge of popular support for Alabama’s role in the Civil War, particularly at a time when the military situation for Confederate forces was looking bleak. The results do not necessarily reflect a society that was unreservedly prowar, but they clearly establish a polity that was committed to an unconditional Confederate victory, in spite of the probable costs.
Severance’s innovative work focuses on the martial character of Alabama’s polity while simultaneously acknowledging the widespread angst of Alabama’s larger culture and society. In doing so, it puts a human face on the election returns by providing detailed character sketches of the principal candidates that illuminate both their outlook on the war and their role in shaping policy.
Ben H. Severance is professor and chair of history at Auburn University at Montgomery. He is author of Portraits of Conflict: A Photographic History of Alabama in the Civil War and Tennessee’s Radical Army: The State Guard and Its Role in Reconstruction, 1867–1869.
“Severance takes an unprecedented deep dive into the realities of Alabama’s wartime political environment to see how well these assumptions hold up to scrutiny. What he finds is a much greater degree of continuity in approach to support for the war than many have credited. While there were periods of frustration and doubt, Severance demonstrates that the Yellowhammer state’s commitment to the cause of Confederate independence never wavered until the bitter end. He looks at elections for the state legislature and Confederate congress in the pages of the book, providing some of the most detailed analysis of wartime election returns to be published. But the heart of Severance’s study revolves around the pivotal 1863 gubernatorial election pitting Shorter versus Watts and is the campaign covered in most depth. Anyone with an interest in Confederate politics or Alabama will find it interesting and informative.”
The Historians Manifesto

“Ben H. Severance’s A War State All Over: Alabama Politics and the Confederate Cause is a fine examination of a much-neglected subject. This well-researched, clearly written, and persuasively argued book offers a detailed account of key elections in Confederate Alabama. It should serve as a model for similar studies of wartime politics in other Southern states.”
—George C. Rable, author of Damn Yankees! Demonization and Defiance in the Confederate South and God’s Almost Chosen Peoples: A Religious History of the American Civil War

“Ben H. Severance’s deep dig into Alabama’s Civil War politics rejects the prevailing assumption that state politicians and voters gave up on the Confederacy during the war’s second half. This is rigorous revisionism that deserves wide attention.”
—Kenneth Noe, author of Southwest Virginia’s Railroad: Modernization and the Sectional Crisis in the Civil War Era and editor of The Yellowhammer War: The Civil War and Reconstruction in Alabama

“Alabama’ s midwar election of 1863 is revealing and understudied, and it matters for understanding the Confederacy. Ben Severance presents a well-researched and strongly-argued look. He contextualizes homefront dissent, emphasizing what the absence of the soldiers' votes meant politically. He must be right that most white Alabamians backed the war, despite the backlash against original secessionists. This work and McIlwain’s recent Civil War Alabama provide the interpretive bookends of discussion going forward.”
—Michael W. Fitzgerald, author of Splendid Failure: Postwar Reconstruction in the American South
“This original contribution to the historiography of Alabama’s 1863 elections fills an important need by effectively demonstrating that Alabama’s elections for state and national representation, as well as how soldiers would have likely voted, were a repudiation of previous politicians, but not necessarily a repudiation of the war effort.”
—Joseph W. Danielson, author of War’s Desolating Scourge: The Union’s Occupation of North Alabama
Also of Interest

Civil War Alabama
Christopher Lyle McIlwain, Sr.

These Rugged Days
John S. Sledge

Deep in the Piney Woods
Tommy Craig Brown

Searching for Freedom after the Civil War
by G. Ward Hubbs