Essay on The United States Army Of The American Civil War

2221 Words Oct 27th, 2016 9 Pages
The soldiers of the 22nd and 28th Iowa defined themselves as citizens fighting in the defense of the republic. Their political attitudes as expressed in their own extant letters and their newspaper of choice, the Iowa City Weekly Republican, provide motive for their killing of Butler’s bloodhounds. Historians have agreed that the United States Army of the American Civil War was a force of volunteer citizen-soldiers and were conscious of their role as a political weapon.
A republican ideology demanded volunteer service as a demonstration of “civic duty and patriotic virtue.” The nationalism subscribed to by many northern soldiers demanded that the planter class should be overthrown for the nation to survive. This attitude led many Union soldiers to express a desire for “revolutionary unheaval” after the war including the end of the parasitic planter class in favor of middle class republican virtue. The war was to many a struggle between two mutually exclusive sociopolitical systems. Union soldiers were neither barbarians brutalized by war or realists tactically unleashing violence. They were “thinking bayonets.” Intensely informed of political affairs, they were restrained by own civic-mindedness. They often humanized their opponents and interpreted the conditions of poor whites, who were unlike themselves, as evidence of the oppressive nature of slaveholders upon Southern society These characterizations of Union soldiers are clearly manifested in the surviving writing of…

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