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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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(p.189) Epilogue
The Limits of Loyalty

Jarret Ruminski

University Press of Mississippi

THIS BOOK HAS USED MISSISSIPPI FROM 1860 TO 1865 AS A CASE STUDY to reexamine the nature of Confederate loyalty during the Civil War. Rather than focusing on the war’s outcome, it has examined the war as a process during which multiple loyalties influenced people’s actions. Historians have viewed white Southerners’ wartime behavior in terms of their degree of national commitment to the Confederacy. Although such studies use impressive evidence and sophisticated methodologies, these competing arguments have nonetheless become deadlocked into viewing Confederate nationalism as weak or strong. To bypass this deadlock, this book demonstrates how multiple, coexisting loyalty layers influenced Mississippians’ actions in ways that were often unconnected to their nationalist views. This approach helps makes sense of how the mass accusations of disloyalty in wartime Mississippi were not evidence of widespread unionism or eventual support for Republican Party policies. Rather, this alleged disloyalty revealed how the Confederate state, operating on the ideological framework of protective nationalism, was limited in its ability to directly influence the everyday behavior of its citizens....

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