Archive for October, 2010

Protected: Thucydides #7

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

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Final lit review

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Calvin Sherwood
Literature Review

Lit Review

Behind the census figures and maps that document the demographics of Colonial Louisiana, the commentary by historians in secondary literature gravitates to a particular ethnic group and its effects. While most of the literature that discusses that time and period mentions other groups to state their contributions to the colony, they eventually gravitate towards one ethnic group, where they centralize their argument around them. The reasons for this range from personal ties, actual descent of that exact people about which they write, preferred academic research for that group to possibly a negative bias against a group due to contemporary events. These influences help guide the sources into either specific Creole centered or Cajun centered literature, with the interesting exception omission of Spanish centered influence in any of the literature.
Naturally, since Colonial Louisiana was founded by the French, the Creole influence in some of the writings is understandable. However, the focus of sources, like Nathalie Dessens’ scholarly article “The Saint-Domingue Refugees and the Preservation of Gallic Culture in Early American New Orleans”, centers on not the old, original Creoles, but the influx of Creole immigrants from the revolutions in Saint-Domingue. This can be explained as a preferred academic subject for the author Dessens, since her article was published by Louisiana State University, a university more closely associated with the area than most, and she focuses explicitly on this group of unique Creoles, only mentioning other ethnic groups when they interact with the ‘new Creoles’. Another example would be in Brasseaux’s book French, Cajun, Creole, Houma, where of the influx of Creoles from Saint-Domingue received the most attention as the book claims that they preserved Gallic culture from assimilation for at least two more generations. This concentration upon later waves of Creole immigration portrays an obsession with a specific group of French speaking Creoles just after the beginning of ‘American Occupation.’ While they are an influential segment in preserving Creole culture, they are certainly not the only ones. Creoles had lived in the colony since its formation, why do these scholars give them such influence? Since the focus and interest in subject matter and details is what drives these sources, a reason for such speculation on the 1800s Creoles could be that they are recorded more thoroughly under the US census. Since the beginning of US documentation every ten years, actual figures of immigrants became easier to track and scholars could now track exact numbers of incoming migrants and compare the influx from year to year. This ability to track larger population waves made the later Creole migrations more valuable to further research.
The other ethnic group with a large cultural claim on Louisiana is the Acadians, or ‘Cajuns’. As they are a unique ethnic group in America tied closely to Louisiana, they receive considerable attention among historians who have written upon this topic. While they did settle Colonial Louisiana and bolstered the French-speaking population considerably, they did not actually maintain a large influence in the city of New Orleans itself. Nevertheless, Brasseaux states in The Founding of New Acadia, that the Cajuns successfully fought to maintain their culture and identity from the Creoles, whom they viewed as different from themselves. Brasseaux’s concentration on the Acadian cultural identity and its importance is because he himself is Acadian, and therefore has a unique cultural tie that he emphasizes and explores more deeply. The other source entirely dedicated to Cajuns/Acadians is Faulkner’s The Cajuns, which explores the ‘Cajun’ culture and its evolution over time in the Colony. Faulkner’s keen interest in this subject is apparent because he published the book himself in the U.S., which shows perseverance, and then also because he partially dedicated the book to the State of Louisiana, indicating that his love for the area and its culture inspired his research. For all these works written by ‘Cajunphiles’, the cause and inspiration is mostly a unique and sentimental attachment to the culture.
In contrast to the last two groups, the last glaring issue to discuss is the suspiciously large omission of Spanish influence during its reign over the Louisiana Colony. While it is true that New Orleans and Louisiana as a whole were already culturally formed by the transition to being a Spanish colony, but that still does not fully explain why Spanish is so downsized by the collected secondary sources. The only exception is a quick mention to the Spanish bureaucratic system and its introduction of new architecture in Hirsch’s Creole New Orleans; Race and Americanization, which is still admitted in a somewhat offhand and reluctant connotation. Such a small portrayal and description of Spanish contributions can possibly be explained by contemporary events. Other than that, there is almost no mention of any Spanish influence, which itself speaks of some malcontent amidst researching a famously Franco phonic culture, jealously guarding its unique heritage.
In researching the secondary sources for Colonial Louisiana’s demographic trends, it is clear that scholars tend to focus upon one ethnic group and its contributions, rather than compare all cultures as part of the whole. A problem with this ‘Cajunphile’ versus ‘Creolephile’ approach is that it remains hard to find good comparisons of all the cultures mixed together at one point and studying their changes over time. It also groups races together that might be better researched separately, like white Creoles and free black Creoles. Despite all those unanswered questions, at least these studies contribute an enormous amount of information dedicated to certain ethnic cultures found in Colonial Louisiana, which will prove very useful for further research.

Works Cited

Brasseaux, Carl. The Founding of New Acadia: The Beginnings of Acadian Life In Louisiana, 1765-1803. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1987.

Brasseaux, Carl. French, Cajun, Creole, Houma. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University, 2005.

Dessens, Nathalie. “The Saint-Domingue Refugees and the Preservation of Gallic Culture in Early American New Orleans. “ French Colonial History (8). 53-69.Michigan State University Press, 2007.

Faulkner, William. The Cajuns. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1979.

Freiberg, Edna. Bay St. John In Colonial Louisiana 1699-1803. New Orleans: Harvey Press, 1980.

Giraud, Marcel. A History of French Louisiana (1698–1715), tome 5, Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge, 1991.

Hirsch, Arnold and Joseph Logsdon, eds. Creole New Orleans; Race and Americanization. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1992.

Moore, John. Revolt In Louisiana; The Spanish Occupation, 1766-1770. Baton Rouge:
Louisiana State University, 1976.

Rowland, Dunbar and A.G Sanders. Mississippi Provincial Archives 1729-1740; French Dominion. Jackson: Mississippi Press of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, 1927.

Protected: Thucydides #6

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

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Sunday, October 24th, 2010

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Lit Review

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

Beginning in the 1500’s and carrying on for centuries afterward, the querelle des femmes, or “the debate over women,” began as a literary argument over the role of women concerning their status, and later their right to equality (especially regarding education).[1] In 1615, a man by the name of Joseph Swetnam wrote an attack on women; in his essay, “A Hostile Annotation of Rachel Speght’s A Mouzell for Melastomus(1617)” (1987), Cis Van Heertum identifies women’s pride and their unfaithful and cruel nature as the focal points of the attack.[2] Through her 1617 response to this misogynist abuse, A Mouzell for Melastromus, a very young Rachel Speght became, as mentioned in a work by Barbara Lewalski (The Polemics and Poems of Rachel Speght (1996)), the “first Englishwoman to identify herself, by name, as a polemicist and critic of contemporary gender ideology.”[3] The question that arises from this vein of history exemplifies the ripple effect:  What purpose did Speght’s response serve in the querelle des femmes?  In order to answer this, works that involve those who potentially influenced Rachel Speght, her own writings, as well as those works that perhaps found inspiration in Speght’s pieces, must all be analyzed.  Further still, reviews of these pieces of literature also offer insight to the question.  Thus, this paper will mainly analyze the texts that aid in bringing to light the role that Rachel Speght played in the querelle by breaking them into categories based on theme and gender roles, and in some cases, time period.

First, the literature gathered can be broken down into two separate and warring camps:  that which pertains to Rachel Speght and those works involving Joseph Swetnam.  There is ample information regarding Rachel Speght.  Lewalski begins by looking into Rachel Speght’s past and speculating potential causes of Speght’s attitudes.  The analysis of Speght’s educational background plays a huge role in the evolution of her thought.  Unlike many women of that time period, Rachel Speght seems to have received a classical education that would have been rare for a woman of any class.[4] This academic upbringing would have led to a heightened awareness and understanding of social issues.  Considering the fact that the presence of women in the educational systems of the time met heated debate, it would be likely that an educated woman, like Rachel Speght, would be more likely to step in and confidently submit her actual name with her literary defense.  Thus, Lewalski’s analyses of her background are more than fitting and support the idea that Speght’s writing would have the power to reach out and captivate readers, potentially inspiring others to join her side of the debate.

In her review of Lewalski’s work in the Renaissance Quarterly, also calls to attention Speght’s religious upbringing with a Calvin minister as her father.[5] The knowledge of this element in her youth establishes a foundation for its expansion; if religion played a major role in her youth, then Speght likely carried those ideas with her into adulthood.  In turn, her Calvinistic beliefs may in turn have resulted in her differing views on the patriarchal role in society.  Another insightful source is a work by Joan Kelly, Women, History, & Theory. Kelly highlights an interesting point–women on the feminist side of the debate tended to repeat the established ideas of the arguments, rather than contributing new material to the mix.[6] This could possibly mean either of two things in regard to the research question:  First, does this mean that, in response to the question, Speght had no impact on the debate?  That her work was just another piece of literature added to the pile?  Or perhaps does it indicate that her work set off a reaction of responses that filed in behind hers, restating her ideas.  It may be that, as she evidently possessed a higher level of education than the majority of females at that time, Rachel Speght held the ability to put forth an idea in defense of her gender, and that her impact involves spurring responses that echoed her beliefs.

In the case of Swetnam, there is less material used here, however the pieces gathered play a crucial role.  In order to understand Rachel Speght’s reaction and the effects of it, one must comprehend against what she wrote.  Again, Heertum’s article brings a critical aspect of history to light:  within the first paragraph, Heertum mentions the multiple printings of Joseph Swetnam’s The Araignment of Lewd, Idle, Froward, and Unconstant Women.[7] This demonstrates the fact that his work obviously gained great popularity.  As a result, one can determine the attitude of the time—as such material met high demand, there is no doubt that the masses shared similar misogynistic opinions and attitudes.  This theme, one which obviously held much of the people’s support, would easily have lasted over the centuries, especially as the debate heated up.  In a critical review of Heertum’s work, Anna Simoni, brings up the fact that Swetnam seemed to lack a formal education.[8] This could contribute to harsher opinions against women held by Swetnam, resulting perhaps from a sense of educational inferiority.  It might also signal that his intent was misinterpreted by the masses and transformed into a vessel to carry the ideas of the time.

After noting how the theme of the work influences its categorical placement (misogyny vs feminism), and how gender roles played a role (status of women in society, education of women, reaction of mainstream women in the debate), there remains one particularly interesting aspect to point out after analyzing nearly every work.  The majority of these works carry publishing dates ranging from 1984 to the late 1990s.  The querelle des femmes lasted roughly 400 years.[9] After that, it seems to have slipped from literary, historic, and social planes.  However, separating these works by time period, essentially a large grouping in the mid 80’s to late 90’s, one can take note of a trend.  In 1984, the term “glass ceiling” began to surface.  The “Glass Ceiling Debate” refers to idea that, in the business realm, women reach a certain point after which they are held back from climbing the ladder in the workplace, merely due to their gender.  This idea parallels the idea from the querelle in that the role of women was yet again brought into play.  Where the querelle des femmes mainly involved the social status of women and equality in education, the role of women in the workplace was believed to be under attack.  This likely indicates that people opposed to the apparent limiting of women’s opportunities to climb higher looked back to the querelle for inspiration, which may imply that Rachel Speght’s influence carried on beyond the originally expected scope.

Overall, many sources provide insight to demonstrate that Rachel Speght did leave an imprint on the direction of the querelle des femmes.  By analyzing secondary sources on the basis of gender distinctions as well as themes within them, it is easier to assess the areas upon which the works touch and where they will provide the most solid evidence to support the research claim.

[1] Charles Schriebner’s Sons, Querelle des Femmes, (accessed September 12. 2010).

[2] F. W. Van Heertum, “A Hostile Annotation of Rachel Speght’s A Mouzell for Melastomus(1617),” English Studies, (1987):  490.

[3] Barbara Kiefer Lewalski, ed., The Polemics and Poems of Rachel Speght, (Oxford, NY:  Oxford University Press, 1996), xi.

[4] Barbara Kiefer Lewalski, ed., The Polemics and Poems of Rachel Speght, (Oxford, NY:  Oxford University Press, 1996), xi-xiv.

[5] Margaret J. Arnold, review of The Polemics and Poems of Rachel Speght, by Barbara Kiefer Lewalski, Renaissance Quarterly 51:3 (Autumn 1998):  1065-1066.

[6] Joan Kelly, Women, History, & Theory (Chicago:  The University of Chicago Press, 1984), 75.

[7] F. W. Van Heertum, “A Hostile Annotation of Rachel Speght’s A Mouzell for Melastomus(1617),” English Studies, (1987):  490.

[8] Anna E. C. Simoni, review of A Critical Edition of Joseph Swetnam’s The Arraignment of Lewd, Idle, Froward, and Unconstant Women, by F. W. Van Heertum, English Studies 71:3 (June 1990):  283.

[9] Joan Kelly, Women, History, & Theory (Chicago:  The University of Chicago Press, 1984), 78.

Final Lit review

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

The Minute Men during the American Revolution Lit review final2

Lit Review

Monday, October 18th, 2010

In April of 1942, a captured American force of ten thousand soldiers was marched over a sixty-two mile stretch of Philippine jungle. The American troops had surrendered following the Battle of Bataan, the largest surrender in American history. Along what would become known as the Bataan Death March, these troops were beaten, starved, and murdered by their Japanese captors. Those that survived were shipped back to Japan to serve as slave labor for Japanese companies facing severe shortages in manpower. News of the events on Bataan was released to the public three years after the Death March and was met with intense anti-Japanese sentiments and fierce nationalism in America. The veterans and former POWs of Bataan were sworn to secrecy upon their return home by the American government, and were prevented from filing war-crime claims against the Japanese a few years later. Since the soldiers were silenced by their government and not allowed to file war-crime claims, literature from the soldiers and about the soldiers went on hiatus until the early 2000s, when a resurgence of interest in the subject was peaked by the release of several memoirs by former POWs from Bataan. These works suggest that the American government neglected their own veterans needs by providing little to no compensation for their time in captivity, and the blocked any attempts for compensation by the Japanese companies for which they worked in order to maintain a strong economic and political link with the Japanese in the quickly emerging globalized economy.

A flurry of newspaper articles from the time detail the atrocities committed by the Japanese and the whereabouts of some of the ten thousand captured American soldiers. Though news of the Death March shocked the public, it was quickly overshadowed by the end of the war months later. Reports from the 1940’s and 1950’s of the events following the Battle of Bataan are scarce. A few military journals, such as Military Affairs, Vol. 15, No. 2, retold the story but merely provided a detailed summary of the battle.[1] The story of the soldiers from Bataan seems to have evaporated from the public consciousness at the time, as no memoirs or soldier’s accounts from Bataan were published until the early 2000’s. This information further supports the theory that the American government purposely silenced soldiers from telling their story in order to rebuild ties with Japan after the vicious anti-Japanese propaganda released during World War II.

Searching through historical journals, newspapers, and magazines from between 1950 and 1990 yields scarcely a mention of the Battle of Bataan. It was not until the early 2000s that Bataan reentered the public consciousness. Published in 2001, Ghost Soldiers, by Hampton Sides details the daring mission to free captured soldiers from the island of Luzon.[2] This story quickly garnered much national attention and became a New York Times “Best Seller.” This national attention helped reignited public curiosity about the Bataan Death March. Though this work provides little insight into the lives of soldiers, or political policy at the time, it is extremely important to note the sharp rise in publications about the Bataan Death March in the following years. Ageing veterans from Bataan began to tell their story and several books were published by former POWs between 2000 and 2002, notably Lester Tenney’s My Hitch in Hell and Anton Bilek’s No Uncle Sam: The Forgotten of Bataan. [3] Both Tenney and Bilek recall the reception that awaited them in America. As the rest of the nation celebrated the end of the war, Tenney recalls returning to America “…quietly, anonymously, without any fanfare or banners waving to welcome us…”[4] These memoirs reveal much about the soldier’s time in Japan, but the publication dates reveal much more about the tight-lip attitude the government imposed upon the soldiers as they returned home.

The most useful source for examining the Death March’s after effects is Michael and Elizabeth Norman’s Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath. [5] The Norman’s interviewed hundreds of Bataan veterans about their time in captivity and describe the mental and physical deterioration of the captured soldiers and their disappointment in the American government in the years following their release. It also details the reasons behind the executive order not to discuss their ordeal, as the US and Japan began work on a peace treaty that would eventually nullify any war claims against Japan by former POWs. Through these interviews, the Norman’s suggest that the American government silenced these soldiers upon their return home until a treaty could be made with Japan that would void any war-crime claims against Japan, allowing the United States and Japan to become close economic partners. The Norman’s also note that Tears in the Darkness was a work “…ten years in the making” [6] thus the interviews they conducted with former POWs most likely inspired many of the interviewees to begin to reach out and tell their story.

In an article by Kinue Tokudome in the Asia-Pacific Journal from 2008,[7] Tokudome details the former POWs’ battle with their own government over reparations from Japan, as they claimed they received unsubstantial compensation for their time spent in captivity.[8] This piece clearly supports justice and reparations for the veterans. The irony here is that there were very few sources published in America vying for reparations for the veterans, yet this article, which is in support of veterans attaining reparations, comes from an Asian journal. One can gather that in the post-war globalized economy that began to form following World War II weighed much heavier in the minds of the American government than justice for it’s veterans. Linda Goetz explores this issue further in her book Unjust Enrichment.[9] Goetz conducted hundreds of interviews with former POW’s and details the types of labor the POW’s were subjected to during their internment. Unjust Enrichment also describes the fallout from the lawsuits filed by the POW’s, and the lack of so much as a public apology from the Japanese government or companies.  This piece effectively summarizes the mindset of the POWs during the 2000’s, many of whom only wanted a public apology as they are nearing the end of their lives.

Most of the literature about the Bataan Death March and its aftermath suggest that the American government purposely silenced the soldiers who were captured on Bataan in hopes of rebuilding an alliance with Japan, and in turn left many former POWs to suffer after the years of abuse in Japan. There is also a notable spike in the early 2000s of interest in Bataan, possibly sparked by Michael and Elizabeth Norman’s Tears in the Darkness. These sentiments are repeated in almost every source regarding the Bataan Death March, and shed light on a subject the American government would like to keep in the shadows.

Works Cited

Bilek, Anton. No Uncle Sam: The Forgotten of Bataan. Ohio, Kent State University Press, 2003.

Frazier, Glenn D. Hell’s Guest. GA: Williams & Company Publishers, 2007.

Goetz, Linda. Unjust Enrichment. IN: Stackpole Books, 2004.

Morton, Louis. “The Battling Bastards of Bataan,” in Military Affairs, Vol. 15, No. 2. Society for Military History, 1951.

Norman, Michael, and Norman, Elizabeth. “Surviving Bataan” American Heritage Vol. 59, Issue 2 (2009), pg 56-63.

Norman, Michael, and Norman, Elizabeth. Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and It’s Aftermath. USA: Macmillin Publishing, 2009.

Sides, Hampton. Ghost Soldiers: The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II’s Most Dramatic Mission. IL: Doubleday Publishing, 2001.

Tenney, Lester. My Hitch In Hell: The Bataan Death March. NY: Potomac Books, 2007.

Tokudome, Kinue. “The Bataan Death March and the 66-Year Struggle for Justice.” Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus (April 14, 2008) (Accessed September General Announcement. “Jap Newspapers Ordered to Tell of Atrocities” The Canberra Times, September 15, 1945, Front Page.

[1] Louis Morton, “The Battling Bastards of Bataan”, Military Affairs, Vol. 15, No. 2 (Society for Military History, 1951).

[2] Hampton Sides, Ghost Soldiers: The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II’s Most Dramatic Mission (IL: Doubleday Publishing, 2001).

[3] Anton Bilek, No Uncle Sam: The Forgotten of Bataan,(OH: Kent State Press, 2003) and Lester Tenney, My Hitch in Hell: The Bataan Death March (NY: Potomac Books, 2007).

[4] Lester Tenney, My Hitch in Hell, p. 147.

[5] Michael & Elizabeth Norman, Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and It’s Aftermath (USA: Macmillion Publishing, 2009).

[6] Michael & Elizabeth Norman, Tears in the Darkness, p. iv.

[7] Kinue Tokudome, “The Bataan Death March and the 66-year Struggle for Justice”, Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus (April 14, 2004).

[8] According to a report in the American Journal of International Law, the survivors were paid $2.50 a day for time in captivity, adding up to approximately $3,103 for over three years in captivity. When adjusted for inflation in 2000, this totaled only about $20,000.

[9] Linda Goetz, Unjust Enrichment (IN: Stackpole Books, 2004).

Literature Review

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

The American Civil War is remembered as one of the most terrible events to have ever occurred on the soil of the United States of America.  It was a bloody and terrible conflict that was a crucial component to the history of this nation. Few other conflicts have had anywhere near as much of a lasting impact on the psychology of the nation. Even today evidence of the effect the Civil War had on the American people can be seen.  One of the reasons for the Civil War having such an impact is the amount of controversy involved in the conflict.  The motives for the entire war are still the subject of heated debates.  Also, at the forefront of the conflict were highly controversial individuals, Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln being just two of the most notable.  However, without a doubt, on of the most controversial figures in the Civil War was Union General William Tecumseh Sherman.

            The main cause of the controversy surrounding Sherman stems from the tactics of total war he employed during his Southern campaigns, mostly during the latter months of 1864.[1]  Sherman’s total war tactics included destroying infrastructure, such as railroads, crops, and warehouses.  His tactics brought the war into an entirely different sphere.  He was not just fighting the opposing army; he waged an all out war on the entire enemy nation with the ultimate goal of breaking Southern morale and putting an end to the war.  While many Southerners even in the present day regard Sherman as a devil who hated the South and randomly destroyed everything in his path without reason, it is quite evident from examining the sources and literature that there was indeed a logic behind the madness of his tactics.  This can be found even in his letters to his young daughter Minnie.[2]   Upon researching the subject thoroughly, psychoanalysis can be drawn of Sherman presenting the idea that personal motives may have played a much more significant role in his military decisions, mainly his decision to employ the tactics of total war.  With this being said, it is not until more recent times that any of the literature on the subject even remotely suggests the theory that Sherman’s private life played a significant role in his decision to practice total war.

            The earliest works on the subject consist mostly of memoirs.  There were many written by enlisted men who served under Sherman during the infamous “March to the Sea.”[3]   Perhaps the most important work in the form of memoirs are those of General Sherman himself, which were composed and published in 1875.  The memoirs of General Sherman provide valuable insight into the motives for his actions.  Although he does not always clearly state his motives, they can be deduced by the reader on most occasions.

            Around the turn of the nineteenth century, literature on General Sherman began to be produced.  These works were mostly concerned with his military career, mostly focusing on his role in the Civil War.  Among these early works on the subject are General M.F. Force’s 1899 publication General Sherman as well as the 1905 work by Edward Robins, William T. Sherman.  Neither of these works can be considered biographies on Sherman, the man.  The best way to classify them would be to say they are military narratives, which pay very little or no attention to the private life of General Sherman.

            It is not until much later that the literature begins to discuss the possible motives behind Sherman’s controversial decisions.  Even then there is still not much mention of how his private life could have had much influence on his tactics.  Many of the works still focused exclusively on the military actions associated with Sherman.  John Bennett Walters’ Merchant of Terror: General Sherman and Total War, published in 1973, sparingly presents possible motives behind Sherman’s actions but fails to discuss his private life at any great detail. 

            It is only in the 1990s that one begins to see literature produced discussing Sherman’s life in much broader detail.  However, even then there are works which follow the trend of largely ignoring his private life and the effect his personal life may have had on his military decisions.[4]  It is not until John F. Marszalek published Sherman: A Soldier’s Passion for Order in 1993 that there was any work sufficiently dealing with the private life of Sherman.  Marszalek goes into great detail discussing the affairs of Sherman’s private life throughout the entirety of his biography.  However, even he does not suggest that his private life played a significant role in shaping Sherman’s decision to employ the use of total war.

            In conclusion, a review of the literature on the topic, shows that over time the focus has slowly evolved from being solely focused on his the military actions of General Sherman to being more interested in aspects of his private life.  However, it seems that there has yet to be much written on the subject as to the influence his private life may have had in shaping his military tactics.  Why there has not already been any work done in this area is unclear, because it seems that there is sufficient evidence available to justify works dedicated to the matter.


Coburn, Mark. Terrible Innocence: General Sherman at War. New York: Hippocrene Books, 1993.

Connolly, James. “An Illinois Soldier Marches with Sherman to the Sea and Beyond.” in The Civil War and Reconstruction: A Documentary Collection, edited by William E. Gienapp, 256-258. New York: W.W. Norton, 2001.

Force, Manning F. General Sherman. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1899.

Marszalek, John F. Sherman: A Soldier’s Passion for Order. New York: Free Press, 1993.

Robins, Edward. William T. Sherman. Philadelphia: George W. Jacobs & Company, 1905.

Sherman, William T. “To Maria Boyle Ewing Sherman, January 6, 1864,” in Sherman’s Civil War: Selected Correspondence of William T. Sherman, 1860-1865, edited by Brooks D. Simpson and Jean V. Berlin. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1999.

Sherman, William T. Memoirs of General W.T. Sherman. New York: Penguin Books, 2000.

Walters, John Bennett. Merchant of Terror: General Sherman and Total War. New York: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., 1975.

[1]               William T. Sherman, Memoirs of General W.T. Sherman (New York: Penguin Books, 1985).

[2]               William T. Sherman, “To Maria Boyle Ewing Sherman, January 6, 1864,” in Sherman’s Civil War: Selected Correspondence of William T. Sherman, 1860-1865, ed. Brooks D. Simpson and Jean V. Berlin (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1999), 583-584.

[3]                James Connolly. “An Illinois Soldier Marches with Sherman to the Sea and Beyond.” in The Civil War and Reconstruction: A Documentary Collection, ed. William E. Gienapp (New York: W.W. Norton, 2001), 256-258. This is just one of the many examples of memoirs written by enlisted men who served under Sherman

[4]               Mark Coburn, Terrible Innocence: General Sherman at War (New York: Hippocrene Books, 1993) is a good example of this.

Lit Review on Calhoun

Sunday, October 17th, 2010
This is my lit review on Calhoun       Literature Review on John C. Calhoun Bram Sims October 5, 2010            John C. Calhoun was the Seventh Vice President of the United States and a leading politician for South Carolinian nullification.  He was also the Secretary of War, a United States Senator, and was [...]

Lit Review on Calhoun

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

This is my lit review on Calhoun




Literature Review on John C. Calhoun

Bram Sims

October 5, 2010

           John C. Calhoun was the Seventh Vice President of the United States and a leading politician for South Carolinian nullification.  He was also the Secretary of War, a United States Senator, and was educated at Yale where he became a member of the Phi Beta Kappa.  Calhoun, who went from the position of nationalist to sectionalist, argued through many of his writings and speeches about southern rights and the North’s ever-present opinion about changing them.  Through examining the literature one finds new and different ideas.  This review will discuss some of those ideas which reflect financial situations, political movements, gender, and personal views of Calhoun held at different time periods.      

            The first biography that comes up on Calhoun is from Richard Bancroft, Calhoun and the South Carolina Nullification Movement (1928). In this text Bancroft tells his reader that Calhoun was not only influenced politically over the subject of nullification but more importantly Calhoun was concerned with the financial and economical aspect.[1]  In a 1929 review of Bancroft’s biography the author states, “Fortunately, too, the work does not follow the well-beaten path. Whereas other treatments of this nullification movement have emphasized too largely the political aspects of the question this author has given much more attention to the economic. He has his own way of thinking. He is not influenced very much by what others of late have been saying about this movement.”[2]  This new and different view of Calhoun could easily be attributed to the time period because of the present financial crisis that appeared a few years earlier and the Great Depression that began in 1929.

            August Spain’s The Political Theory of John C Calhoun was originally written in 1937 but was not published until 1951. Spain uses the political writings of Calhoun to make the pro-slavery thought of the South known to his readers. He also spends some time referring to how Calhoun influenced European thought, and especially German thought.[3]  There are three possible reasons why this biography was not published until 1951, the first being that a number of other biographies were being released during this time period on Calhoun and the publisher thought it a good idea to put this work out on the market with the competition.  The second has to deal with the time Spain spends on influencing the Germans because of the ending of World War II.  The third and most realistic reason that the biography was not published until 1951 goes along with the first reason.  The Civil Rights struggle of this period created a lot of buzz as to Calhoun and the slavery issue.  People wanted to know about his views on the issue of slavery because on the current situations of that time period. 

            In the late 1940s and early 1950s a number of other Calhoun biographies were published.   Charles Wiltse published the second of a three volume set on Calhoun in 1949 about the nullification years between 1829 and 1939.  Wiltse presents his argument about Calhoun becoming a nationalist based off of the rejection and harsh treatment he received from Andrew Jackson under the influences of Van Buren.[4]

            Margaret Coit’s John C Calhoun, American Portrait, published in 1950, focuses on Calhoun’s personal life and leaves detailed accounts on his relations with women.  Coit describes the relationships between Calhoun and his mother-in-law, wife, and daughter as sympathetic and tender.[5]  This reflects not so much the time period but the fact that Coit is a female and therefore, does this study because it is appealing to her and the female audience.  This new and detailed observation of Calhoun’s personal life is based on gender.

            Wiltse published the third and final volume of his set on Calhoun entitled, The Sectionalist, 1840-1850, in 1950.  This volume deals with Calhoun’s goal to organize the South as an effective political block to preserve slavery and to only use secession as a last resort. Witse also focuses on the fact that democracy of the South and slavery worked against agriculture’s competition with the industrial North over control of the country.[6] 

            The past four works mentioned all have a sympathetic view of Calhoun and are unlike the more general studies that came before.  These biographies relate sympathetically towards Calhoun in a way that was not present in the writings pre-1950.

            Richard Current released a more critical analysis on Calhoun in 1963 without the admiration that the majority of the early 1950s writers used. Current quotes a woman who refers to Calhoun this way, “His mind has long lost the power of communication with any other. I know of no man who lives in such utter intellectual solitude. . . . He either passes by what you say, or twists it into a suitability with what is in his head and begins to lecture again. . . . I never saw any one who so completely gave me the idea of possession.”[7]  In the third section of John C. Calhoun, Current explains the significance and influence that Calhoun had on political issues up to a century after his death.  The followers of this political ideology are called Neo-Calhounists and believed much more liberal ideas than Calhoun actually did.  “…in his philosophical assumptions he stood to the right of the Whig conservatives and far to the right of Democratic radicals. Really he was neither the one or the other; he was a reactionary. He reacted against, instead of seeking an accommodation with, the trend of American thought from 1776 on.”[8]

Not until twenty-five years later, in 1988, was another biography on Calhoun, John C. Calhoun and the Price of Union; A Biography published by John Niven. This could be because such an exhaustive effort was put in on the literature during the 50s and early 60s, but this is speculative.  The only difference from the early biographies is in his description of how little Calhoun thought of his fellow politicians.  Niven believes this is because of the harsh treatment they originally showed to Calhoun and that these outbursts are only a cry for help over misunderstandings between him and others.[9]  This is somewhat more of a psycho-analytical view of Calhoun as being admirable but, at the same time quite insecure.

            In 1993, Irving Bartlett’s John C. Calhoun: A Biography, was published and shed similar light on the subject as Niven did only five years before.  However, Bartlett differs in his argument based off of Calhoun’s commitment to his culture and institutions in a time of revolution.  Bartlett thinks that Calhoun had numerous strengths but they were limited by this absolute and unquestioned commitment to his southern culture and beliefs.  Bartlett also points out how interesting this idea is because of how revolutionary and ever changing political and cultural thought was during Calhoun’s time. [10]

The newest biography on Calhoun Majority Rule versus Consensus; the Political Thought of John C. Calhoun (2009),by James Read, does not seem to offer any new ideas about Calhoun.  It only goes over the information already present in the other biographies.[11]

            This literature review looks at a number of different sources from different time periods and pointed out unique ideas from each.  Sometimes the time periods influenced why the biography was written, as with the 1950s civil rights movement contributing to a number of Calhoun biographies.  Other times points are made based off of the author’s gender, like with Margaret Coit’s, John C Calhoun, American Portrait (1950). Through these different ideas and descriptions of Calhoun, one can see how literature has changed about him over time.


Bancroft, Frederic. Calhoun and the South Carolina nullification movement. Baltimore: The John Hopkins Press, 1928.

Bartlett, Irving. John C. Calhoun: A Biography. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1993.

Coit, Margaret. John C Calhoun, American Portrait. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1950. 

Current, Richard. John C. Calhoun. New York: Washington Press Square, 1963.

Niven, John. John C. Calhoun and the Price of Union : A Biography . Baton Rouge: Louisana      State University Press, 1988.

Read, James. Majority Rule Versus Concensus: The PoliticalTthought of John C Calhoun.             Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2009.

Wiltse, Charles. John C. Calhoun, Nullifier, 1829-1839. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1949.

Wiltse, Charles. John C. Calhoun, Sectionalist, 1840-1850. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1951.

Spain, August. The Political Theory of John C. Calhoun. New York: Bookman Associates, 1951.

Journal of Negro History 19 no. 1 (jan): 1929, 100.

[1]               Frederic Bancroft, Calhoun and the South Carolina Nullification Movement. (Baltimore: The John Hopkins Press, 1928.), There was at least one other earlier biography but, I could not locate a copy of it and had no luck finding reviews or articles about it either.

[2]               Journal of Negro History 19 no. 1 ((Jan): 1929), 100.    I’m sure African Americans of this time period found Calhoun to be a very interesting topic of study

[3]               August Spain, The Political Thoery of John C. Calhoun. (New York: Bookman Associates, 1951)

[4]               Charles Wiltse, John C. Calhoun, Nullifier, 1829-1839. (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1949)    This was the first time this argument was presented so strongly but, I do not see a connection to the time period.  I only see a different viewpoint based off of personal observation.

[5]               Coit, Margaret. John C Calhoun, American Portrait. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1950)

[6]               Charles Wiltse, John C. Calhoun, Sectionalist, 1840-1850. (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1951)

[7]               Richard Current, John C. Calhoun. (New York: Washington Press Square, 1963), 240.

[8]               Ibid, 304.              

[9]               John Niven, John C. Calhoun and the price of Union : A Biography . (Baton Rouge: Louisana State University Press, 1988)

[10]             Irving Bartlett, John C. Calhoun: A Biography. (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1993)

[11]             James Read, Majority Rule Versus Concensus: The Political Thought of John C Calhoun. (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2009)