By James W. Finck
On May sixteen, 1861, the Kentucky state legislature handed an ordinance mentioning its neutrality, which the state's governor, Beriah Magoffin, proven 4 days later. Kentucky's statement and supreme aid for the Union stood at odds with the state's social and cultural historical past. After all, Kentucky was a slave kingdom and loved deep and significant connections to the recent Confederacy. a lot of what has been written to give an explanation for this curious selection concludes Kentucky harbored robust Unionist emotions. James Finck's freshly written and deeply researched Divided Loyalties: Kentucky's fight for Armed Neutrality within the Civil War shatters this conclusion.
An in-depth examine of the 365 days that made up our minds Kentucky's destiny (November 1860 - November 1861), Divided Loyalties persuasively argues that the Commonwealth didn't aid neutrality out of its deep Unionist's sentiment. in truth, it was once Kentucky's both divided loyalties that caused its determination to stay impartial. either Unionists and Secessionists may come to help neutrality at assorted instances once they felt their facet could lose.
Along the best way, Dr. Finck examines the jobs of the nation legislature, the governor, different best Kentuckians, and general voters to appreciate how Kentuckians felt in regards to the clients of battle and secession, and the way bloodshed may be shunned. The finely styled prose is equipped upon a beginning of fundamental assets together with letters, journals, newspapers, govt files, and released studies. by way of focusing completely on one country, one factor, and twelve months, Divided Loyalties offers a degree of element that might deeply curiosity either Kentuckians and Civil struggle fans alike.
Kentucky's ultimate selection used to be the results of intrigue and betrayal in the Commonwealth whereas armies collected round its borders expecting any chance to invade. And it used to be inside this heated surroundings that Kentuckians made an important selection of their history.
"Divided Loyalties is set . . . survival. The challenge and the struggle that have been everyone's contest, and everyone's tragedy, but in Kentucky the alternatives have been tougher, and the stakes higher, as males and brothers confronted the bleak prospect of getting to settle on now not opposed to a few far-off enemy, yet opposed to friends and family. it doesn't matter what path to survival a Kentuckian selected, it was once certain to positioned him at the street to a collision with the folks most useful to him. - William C. Davis, award-winning writer of Jefferson Davis: the guy and the Hour and The Orphan Brigade: The Kentucky Confederates Who could not cross Home
"Kentucky in the course of the secession challenge of 1860-61 has lengthy been a slightly complicated secret tough for historians to completely comprehend. Dr. Finck's severe exam of the subject in Divided Loyalties unravels a lot of that secret whereas while supplying a ancient reinterpretation that demanding situations the normal ideals within the bluegrass state's loyalties. What emerges is a much more advanced and dynamic photograph that extra accurately locations Kentucky in the context of the upper-South." - Dr. Scott Tarnowieckyi, heritage Professor, Weatherford collage
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Extra resources for Divided Loyalties: Kentucky's Struggle for Armed Neutrality in the Civil War
In the month of July, the situation in the state only worsened. Kentuckians were still trying to remain neutral, but were receiving pressure from within and without the state. The Battle of Manassas and General Fremont’s proclamation in Missouri freeing the slaves worried Unionists. However, the August election for the state legislature resulted in a resounding victory for the Democratic Unionists, causing the States Rights Party to push even harder for neutrality and to call a Peace Convention to try to keep their state out of war.
Southerners saw the organization of Nebraska and new states that might come from it as a loss of more political power. They had just lost California, and they were determined not to lose Nebraska as well. To solve the new national crisis, Stephen Douglas once again took the mantel of Clay and proposed a compromise. His proposal embraced what had been a key part of the Compromise of 1850, popular sovereignty. Douglas believed that when a territory became a state, the people of the new state should decide whether it would be a slave state or a free state.
Even before that, and continually afterward, Confederate authorities set smaller campaigns afoot to take Kentucky’s star for its own banners [in fact a star representing Kentucky did appear on Confederate national and battle flags, another indication of Southern aspirations]. The very last Southern offensive of the war, General John Bell Hood’s Tennessee Campaign of late 1864, had the Ohio as its ultimate goal. Far more work has been done on how North and South viewed and vied for the state, than on what Kentuckians themselves felt about their unique—and uniquely hazardous—position between the contending parties.