Discussion Forum No. 1 – Jason Phillips and Confederate Perceptions of the Enemy (Content)
Welcome to the first of what will hopefully be a series of discussion forums on various interpretations of the Civil War. For this first forum we will discuss Jason Phillips's "A Brother's War?: Exploring Confederate Perceptions of the Enemy" which appeared in Aaron Sheehan Dean's ed., The View From the Ground: Experiences of Civil War Soldiers (University of Kentucky Press, 2007).
I initially planned on offering a few opening remarks, but have decided to contribute in the form of comments so as not to assume any position of authority on the topic at hand. There will be two threads. On this post the focus will be on Phillips's thesis, which can be found on p. 73 as well as other issues:
“As Southern men, Confederate soldiers drew their identity and
authority from the submission of white women, the inferiority of
blacks, and the ownership of land. As the war worsened, the enemy
threatened to topple these pillars of the Old South.”
Feel free to address other substantive claims made by Phillips, including how Confederates perceived the enemy over time and the extent to which the demonization of Northern soldiers corresponded with a changing reality. Finally, does the wartime evidence of Confederate perceptions of the enemy help anticipate the violence and bitterness of Reconstruction and beyond?
The second post will be used to discuss the overall contribution of Phillips's scholarship to our understanding of the Confederate experience. There is also a third thread that should be used to discuss any other topics in the article that you would like to raise.