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The Limits of LoyaltyOrdinary People in Civil War Mississippi$
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Jarret Ruminski

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781496813961

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2019

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496813961.001.0001

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“Well Calculated to Test the Loyalty of Her Citizens”

“Well Calculated to Test the Loyalty of Her Citizens”

Property, Principle, and the Oath of Allegiance

(p.38) Chapter Two “Well Calculated to Test the Loyalty of Her Citizens”
The Limits of Loyalty

Jarret Ruminski

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter examines how Confederate and Union forces tried to enforce loyalty among Mississippians by judging them according to the standard of protective nationalism. Both sides used the Oath of Allegiance and took advantage of situations such as property disputes and alleged war profiteering to gauge citizens’ alleged national loyalties. Although Mississippians had largely embraced a protective nationalist fervor during the buildup to secession and throughout the first year of the war, such enthusiasm came easy when the conflict’s hardships had yet to come to their doorsteps. As the second year of the war arrived, however, military events tested Mississippians’ ability to devote themselves entirely to the Rebel cause. Their multiple allegiances made loyalty enforcement problematic for two warring governments seeking to put citizens into dichotomized “loyal” and “disloyal” camps. The ideals of protective nationalism proved elusive when faced with the harsh reality of its practical implication on the ground.

Keywords:   Oath, Allegiance, Property, Loyalty enforcement, profiteering

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