War historians, james m mcpherson, to examine what it was that motivated civil war soldiers many historians have traditionally believed that as the war went on, soldiers became embittered soldiers in wwii and vietnam were draftees or professional soldiers while civil war” for for cause and comrades war in for cause and. Mcpherson read over 25,000 letters that civil war soldiers wrote home in preparation for the book these letters are his primary source of evidence mcpherson argues that the initial impulse to fight the war was the simple military rage the follows early in the declaration of any war. James m mcpherson is a professor of history at princeton university he is the author of battle cry of freedom , for which he won the pulitzer prize for nonfiction, as well as other works on the civil war, including ordeal by fire and marching toward freedom. Throughout american history, soldiers have taken up arms, some to protect their country and democracy, others for different reasons princeton university history professor james mcpherson offers.
In 1989 james mcpherson’s grand narrative, battle cry of freedom, won the pulitzer prize and went on to be a best-seller, shaping how a generation understood the civil war. For cause and comrades: why men fought in the civil war is a book by pulitzer prize-winning author james m mcpherson the book was published by oxford university press in 1997 and covers the lives and ideals of american civil war soldiers from both sides of the war. How slavery saved the union calvin w henry 1 introduction the american civil war was fought from the spring of 1861 to the summer of 1865 the war claimed approximately 620,000 men, who died fighting for what they believed in1 the men that gave their lives accomplished what no legislation or politician could, they reconstituted the principles that the united states was founded upon.
Civil war soldiers' fare varied substantially from army to army and throughout the course of the war for both sides for the most part, neither side ate particularly well hardtack and coffee were the staples, in addition to salt pork, corn meal and whatever fruits, vegetables and berries could be collected on the march. A war that never goes away james m mcpherson “americans just can’t get enough of the civil war” so says a man who should know, terry winschel, historian of the vicksburg national military parkas a beneficiary of this popular interest in the civil war, i am often asked to explain what accounts for it-in particular, to explain why my own recent contribution to the literature on the. To find the wellsprings of civil war valor, james mcpherson has read 249 diaries and at least 25,000 letters of 1,076 civil war soldiers it would be close to the truth, he writes, to say that civil war soldiers wrote for cause and comrades they articulated their motives for fighting far above my poor power to add or detract (vii. In for cause and comrades: why men fought in the civil war, mcpherson claims that religious fanaticism hardly played a role in motivations (mcpherson, 6) however, religion did serve as a means to cope with the idea of death and helped soldiers to endure the hardships of combat (mcpherson, 76.
Mcpherson argues that the initial impulse of the soldiers to fight the war was the simple “military rage” that follows after the declaration of any war in most cases “military rage” is short lived, and mostly just talk, and then people back down when asked to rise up and fight. “the war that forged a nation: why the civil war still matters” is a great read however, this is qualified praise, as i didn't feel jm did a good enough job of presenting why the civil war still matters. It is to this question—why did they fight—that james mcpherson, america's preeminent civil war historian, now turns his attention he shows that, contrary to what many scholars believe, the soldiers of the civil war remained powerfully convinced of the ideals for which they fought throughout the conflict. The respected civil war historian james m mcpherson weighs in with a different point of view in for cause and comrades professor mcpherson posits that the common rank-and-file soldiers did indeed hold political and ideological beliefs that prodded them to enlist and to fight. James mcpherson based his book on soldiers' letters and diaries what groups are overrepresented, and which underrepresented or even completely unrepresented why are there so many surviving soldiers' letters and diaries from the civil war, and what makes them better sources than postwar reminiscences and memoirs.
Chapter 10 amateurs go to war i war fever during the months after sumter overrode sober reflections on the purpose of the fighting most people on both sides took for granted the purpose and justice of their cause. Ivil war soldiers, north and south, it is commonly said, did not often fight out of political and ideological motives volunteer soldiers generally enlisted because economic and social pressures pushed them into the armies. In the book the author james m mcpherson uses information from l00's of diaries and letters from the soldiers to learn why they fought in this war the union soldiers fought to preserve the nation that was created in 1776, to save it. War historians, james m mcpherson, to examine what it was that motivated civil war soldiers to engage in such a horribly bloody and brutal conflict the awe of his students as they walked.
For cause and comrades by james mcpherson is a definitive study of why men choose to fight in the civil war taking diaries and letters from over 1000 soldiers and representing as broad a group as possible that made up the armies on either side he paints a picture of what life was like and why these men did what they did. July 22 is the anniversary of james mcpherson’s death in 1864 during the battle of atlanta during my recent trip to the city, i went on location to the spot where mcpherson fell. The civil war historian james mcpherson (whose class i took 24 years ago), addressed the subject in a beautiful book looking at the letters and diaries of civil war soldiers mr mcpherson’s literary evidence supports mr keegan’s view but also shows the importance of other motives, like a profound belief in the injustice of slavery. Also see for cause and comrades: why men fought in the civil war: james m mcpherson mcpherson and manning both analyze hundreds of soldiers’ letters their work should be read in full, but i think it’s fair to summarize that confederate soldiers’ concepts of hearth and home, liberty, and protection of loved ones all were based on.