Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era

Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era

by James M. McPherson
Pub. Date:
Oxford University Press
Pub. Date:
Oxford University Press
Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era

Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era

by James M. McPherson
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Filled with fresh interpretations and information, puncturing old myths and challenging new ones, Battle Cry of Freedom will unquestionably become the standard one-volume history of the Civil War.

James McPherson's fast-paced narrative fully integrates the political, social, and military events that crowded the two decades from the outbreak of one war in Mexico to the ending of another at Appomattox. Packed with drama and analytical insight, the book vividly recounts the momentous episodes that preceded the Civil War—the Dred Scott decision, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry—and then moves into a masterful chronicle of the war itself—the battles, the strategic maneuvering on both sides, the politics, and the personalities. Particularly notable are McPherson's new views on such matters as the slavery expansion issue in the 1850s, the origins of the Republican Party, the causes of secession, internal dissent and anti-war opposition in the North and the South, and the reasons for the Union's victory.

The book's title refers to the sentiments that informed both the Northern and Southern views of the conflict: the South seceded in the name of that freedom of self-determination and self-government for which their fathers had fought in 1776, while the North stood fast in defense of the Union founded by those fathers as the bulwark of American liberty. Eventually, the North had to grapple with the underlying cause of the war—slavery—and adopt a policy of emancipation as a second war aim. This "new birth of freedom," as Lincoln called it, constitutes the proudest legacy of America's bloodiest conflict.

This authoritative volume makes sense of that vast and confusing "second American Revolution" we call the Civil War, a war that transformed a nation and expanded our heritage of liberty.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780195168952
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 12/11/2003
Series: Oxford History of the United States Series
Pages: 936
Sales rank: 31,595
Product dimensions: 9.30(w) x 6.00(h) x 1.80(d)
Lexile: 1320L (what's this?)

About the Author

James M. McPherson is Edwards Professor of American History at Princeton University. His books include The Struggle for Equality, Marching Toward Freedom, and Ordeal by Fire.


Princeton, New Jersey

Date of Birth:

October 11, 1936

Place of Birth:

Valley City, North Dakota


B.A., Gustavus Adolphus College (St. Peter, MN) 1958; Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, 1963

Table of Contents

Editor's Introductionxvii
Prologue: From the Halls of Montezuma3
1.The United States at Midcentury6
2.Mexico Will Poison Us47
3.An Empire for Slavery78
4.Slavery, Rum, and Romanism117
5.The Crime Against Kansas145
6.Mudsills and Greasy Mechanics for A. Lincoln170
7.The Revolution of 1860202
8.The Counterrevolution of 1861234
9.Facing Both Ways: The Upper South's Dilemma276
10.Amateurs Go to War308
11.Farewell to the Ninety Days' War339
12.Blockade and Beachhead: The Salt-Water War, 1861-1862369
13.The River War in 1862392
14.The Sinews of War428
15.Billy Yank's Chickahominy Blues454
16.We Must Free the Slaves or Be Ourselves Subdued490
17.Carry Me Back to Old Virginny511
18.John Bull's Virginia Reel546
19.Three Rivers in Winter, 1862-1863568
20.Fire in the Rear591
21.Long Remember: The Summer of '63626
22.Johnny Reb's Chattanooga Blues666
23.When This Cruel War Is Over689
24.If It Takes All Summer718
25.After Four Years of Failure751
26.We Are Going To Be Wiped Off the Earth774
27.South Carolina Must Be Destroyed807
28.We Are All Americans831
Epilogue: To the Shoals of Victory853
Abbreviated Titles868
Bibliographic Note870
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