Unionism

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#1
Would you consider Robert E. Lee and Alexander Stephens "Unionist?" And if so, using the same definition, what percentage of the Confederate army was made up of "Unionist", reluctant secessionists?

Is there any good data out there which tries to show how "Unionist" the various CSA states were? For instance, I'd imagine on a rolling scale, South Carolina would be the least Unionist, and perhaps VA or TN the most Unionist. Any good works or data on this subject?
 

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#2
Would you consider Robert E. Lee and Alexander Stephens "Unionist?" And if so, using the same definition, what percentage of the Confederate army was made up of "Unionist", reluctant secessionists?

Is there any good data out there which tries to show how "Unionist" the various CSA states were? For instance, I'd imagine on a rolling scale, South Carolina would be the least Unionist, and perhaps VA or TN the most Unionist. Any good works or data on this subject?
If someone is leading troops to kill federal soldiers it's quite hard to picture them as " Unionist". Simply put unless a Confederate soldier was coerced into Confederate service said soldier should not be considered a Unionist.
Unionist soldiers tend to come from counties that have a lower per capita slave ownership. Most Unionist regiments are recruited from Mountainous areas.
An indispensable source is " Lincoln's Loyalists Union Soldiers from the Confederacy" Richard Current North East University Press.
Leftyhunter
 

jgoodguy

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#4
I agree with Leftyhunter that "reluctant secessionists" are not the same as "Unionists." No matter how much they may have deplored secession, people who fought against the Union cannot be considered Unionists because the weren't pro-Union, which is what "Unionist" means.
Reluctant or Conditional Unionists were unionists who were loyal to who would protect slavery the best.
 

JeffBrooks

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#5
Too often, we assume that a person must be defined and then crammed into a pigeon hole for all eternity. Jubal Early strongly opposed secession before the war, so I guess that makes him a Unionist. But then, he eventually became the most fervent Confederate of them all and probably played a greater role in creating Lost Cause historiography than any other single individual.

The residents of Vicksburg voted against secession, so I guess that makes them Unionist. But just weeks later, they cheered themselves horse as Jefferson Davis passed through town on his way to Montgomery to assume the office as President of the Confederate states. So they're pretty obviously Confederates.

People are too complicated to be labeled with such designations as we are wont to give them.
 

16thVA

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#6
Too often, we assume that a person must be defined and then crammed into a pigeon hole for all eternity. Jubal Early strongly opposed secession before the war, so I guess that makes him a Unionist. But then, he eventually became the most fervent Confederate of them all and probably played a greater role in creating Lost Cause historiography than any other single individual.

The residents of Vicksburg voted against secession, so I guess that makes them Unionist. But just weeks later, they cheered themselves horse as Jefferson Davis passed through town on his way to Montgomery to assume the office as President of the Confederate states. So they're pretty obviously Confederates.

People are too complicated to be labeled with such designations as we are wont to give them.
This is quite true of my home state of West Virginia, which is highly misunderstood by historians like William Freehling and the current batch of "southern unionist" historians, which seems quite the thing these days. While, as a group (which is actually very problematic since they were all individual counties) West Virginians voted 2 to 1 against the secession ordinance it is wrong to consider that vote "Union". It broke down almost immediately when McClellan entered West Virginia. (I don't want to say "invaded" since some people don't like that term, although McClellan's dispatches are headed 'Army of Occupation'). Counties along the southern Ohio border raised Confederate troops far above their vote against the secession ordinance. An Ohio newspaper, the Cleveland Morning Leader, published an interview with a Unionist refugee from Kanawha County on June 4, 1861-

The situation of affairs there at this time is peculiar. The county gave 1400 for Union the other day, and yet the Unionists are daily in danger of insult, and even personal injury. Outside of the town people, the greater part of the population are "poor whites", whose only ambition and interest is to be a good shot, to be able to drink down a pint of raw whiskey, and to have enough "hog and hominy" to eat.

One great dead weight upon all expression of approval of the course of the government is the State pride of which we have before spoken, and which disposes the possessor of the feeling to resent any real or fancied insult to the State. The common people, who are not well informed enough to know the plan of the administration, or to understand it if they did, are easily moved by this feeling, and under the influence of their leaders, are bitterly hostile to the presence of any foreign troops.


Historians such as Freehling also seem unaware that while the 49 delegates representing the future West Virginia at the Richmond convention voted 32-13 against the ordinance, with 4 missing votes, once Union troops entered West Virginia most of those men returned to Richmond in June for the second session and 29 eventually signed the ordinance. Benjamin Wilson of Harrison County could not return, since he was arrested in Clarksburg by Union troops before he could leave, but he signed the ordinance at the end of April.

Delegates for counties in blue signed the ordinance, counties in white did not sign, and counties if purple had one of two delegates sign.

15537454331_21579bde34_c.jpg
 

Kelly

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#7
Davis, Stephens, Toombs, Benjamin, Lee, Samuel Cooper, Albert Johnston were all Unioinsts, and in the purest sense possible. All expressed a deep patriotism toward the Confederates States of America, and courageously fought, at the risk of their fortunes and lives, to protect and defend it. No purer unionists can be found anywhere in the history of time.
 

Kelly

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#9
Thats I view Lincoln, Grant, Sherman, and virtually all the US politicians and soldiers.
 

matthew mckeon

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#13
Anyone participating in The Slave-owner's Rebellion of 1776 cannot be considered a unionist.
Bernard Bailyn in his classic The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution describes the ferment around resistance to Britain promoting anti slavery beliefs and eventually actions. It was the British who prevented the Americans from limiting slavery in their colonies before the Revolution. As the posters above note, people change over time.
 

Kelly

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#14
Bernard Bailyn in his classic The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution describes the ferment around resistance to Britain promoting anti slavery beliefs and eventually actions. It was the British who prevented the Americans from limiting slavery in their colonies before the Revolution. As the posters above note, people change over time.

Any yet it was the Americans who constitutionally protected international slave-trafficking so the Rhode Islanders and New Enlanders could get rich.
 
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Kelly

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#15
Guys, why sling insults at a bunch of dead people?

Gary Gallanger in his book Becoming Confederate describes the journey many officers took balancing different loyalties: to the army, to their states, to their status of slave owners and white men, to the United States, to the Confederacy.

Were there any of those awful white-men in the Union Army?
 

matthew mckeon

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#16
Were there any of those awful white-men in the Union Army?
Gallanger focused on three well known Confederate officers, Lee, Early and Stephen Ramseur, contrasting their age, social position and politics in their "becoming Confederate." Their varying levels of identification with the slave system, and their privileged position in it, influenced their actions.
Lee was apolitical before the war, with his loyaty to Virginia, the aristocratic status he held, wavering belief in slavery, loyalty to the Army and the United States, all pulling him in different directions. In contrast Ramseur was an ardent secessionist early on, a vigorous advocate for slavery and relatively young, without the experiences and relationships Lee had formed in the Army. Lee was formed before the sectional strife after the Mexican War, Ramseur had known nothing but controversy in his short life.


Interesting way to look at it, anyway.
 

Kelly

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#17
Fair enough. But if you don't mind my asking again, were there any of those awful white-men in the Union Army?
 
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#18
Davis, Stephens, Toombs, Benjamin, Lee, Samuel Cooper, Albert Johnston were all Unioinsts, and in the purest sense possible. All expressed a deep patriotism toward the Confederates States of America, and courageously fought, at the risk of their fortunes and lives, to protect and defend it. No purer unionists can be found anywhere in the history of time.

The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible.
  • George Orwell Nineteen Eighty-Four
 

GwilymT

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#19
Fair enough. But if you don't mind my asking again, were there any of those awful white-men in the Union Army?
I’m sure that there were plenty of awful white-men in both armies. I’m sure there were some awful black men in the Union Army, too. (No awful black men in the Confederate Army as there weren’t any). Any large group will have its fair share of bad guys. However, the question is whether certain Confederates can be considered unionists.
 



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