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Southern Rights: Political Prisoners and the Myth of Confederate Constitutionalism Hardcover – October 29, 1999
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Mark Neely's Southern Rights is a work of major significance that revises many traditional views about civil liberties in the Confederacy. By carefully analyzing the previously ignored arrest records of more than 4,000 political prisoners in the Confederacy, Neely demonstrates that in crucial ways the regulation of dissent was simultaneously more sweeping and less controversial in the Confederacy than in the Union, and in theprocess effectively calls into question the standard paeans to Confederate constitutionalism. Neely's careful scholarship reveals how little we knew previously about the formulation of Confederate policy on this issue or how Confederate laws and policies were actually enforced at the local level. This is a stimulating and provocative work that asks new questions, challenges many reigning beliefs about southern society and values, and points Confederate scholarship in new directions. With implications far beyond its particular subject, Southern Rights is one of the most original and important books on the Confederacy ever published.(William E. Gienapp, Harvard University)
About the Author
Mark E. Neely Jr., McCabe-Greer Professor of Civil War History at the Pennsylvania State University, won a Pulitzer Prize in history for his book The Fate of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties. He is also author of The Last Best Hope of Earth: Abraham Lincoln and the Promise of America.
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Top Customer Reviews
Neely provides a blistering condemnation of the postwar obfuscation by Davis on the matter, as well as at least one commissioner who had reviewed cases for Davis and wrote scathing criticism of Lincoln's similar acts without ever mentioning that he had been involved in doing exactly the same thing. Neely used the correspondence and notes of these previously unknown commissioners to compile his list.
Neely doesn't spare criticism of modern authors who in his view have misinterpreted the prior existing record and failed to appreciate the gaping holes in the image of the Confederacy as constitutional defenders of white civil liberties. He points to examples where they neglected to identify discrepancies in the wartime and post-war statements, with the actual wartime record of actions. He examines modern historians' lack of discussion of and understanding of the CSA's Alien Enemies Act.Read more ›