War Within the States: Loyalty, Dissent, and Conflict in Southern Piedmont Communities, 1860-1876 Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
  • Domby, Adam
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History
  • Although the American Civil War is often thought of as a sectional contest, southerners not only fought against northern troops. Southerners also clashed with their neighbors, leaving a divided postwar South. The social networks of countless southerners were ripped asunder and reformed during the war. Wartime loyalties, divisions, conflict, and a legacy of dissent continued to influence southern communities throughout Reconstruction. This dissertation examines how internal conflicts between neighbors reshaped the wartime South and left lasting divisions into Reconstruction. This dissertation considers dissent and internal division in the three piedmont communities centered in Forsyth County, North Carolina; Loudoun County, Virginia; and Floyd County, Georgia. All three counties experienced intra-community conflict, neighborly violence, and anti-Confederate dissent, which continued to shape postwar society in ways scholars have largely overlooked. The multidimensional loyalties and wartime experiences of dissenters in different localities led to unique divisions within each shattered community. During Reconstruction, however, the divisions left by neighborly conflict continued to influence communities in similar ways across the South. In each community, in-fighting among neighbors created fissures along lines far more complex than Unionist against Confederate. These divisions continued to shape postwar society in previously unrecognized ways. This "war within the states," driven by the complex loyalties of dissenters, continued to be fought in churches, court cases, politics, business, efforts at disfranchisement, and, at times, in the streets. Utilizing both Historical Geographic Information Systems (HGIS) and social network mapping, this dissertation provides new insights into our understanding of Civil War-era society. Reconstruction conflict was often rooted in the social fragmentation of war. Within many southern neighborhoods, the reordering of social structures was hampered by intra-community conflict far more than by sectional divisions. Indeed, much of the conflict during Reconstruction was a manifestation of the struggle by southerners to settle scores as they restructured communities that had been severely disordered by the war's disruption of social networks.
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Bynum, Victoria
  • Barney, William
  • Glatthaar, Joseph
  • Brundage, W. Fitzhugh
  • Lowery, Malinda
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2015
Place of publication
  • Chapel Hill, NC
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