Lost Causes and the Civil War

Maurice S. Lee

in Uncertain Chances

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199797578
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932412 | DOI:
Lost Causes and the Civil War

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This short coda discusses how the Civil War figures in the narrative of chance’s rise in America. Though often taken to announce the broad emergence of chance in American thought and culture, the Civil War is actually less of a dramatic break, not only because discourses of chance had already emerged (and indeed, shaped experiences of the War) but also because providential thinking powerfully survived in the postbellum period. Taking Elizabeth Stuart Phelps’s The Gates Ajar as a case study, the coda suggests how America continues to grapple with the possibilities of chance.

Keywords: civil war; Postbellum America; Elizabeth Stuart Phelps; The Gates Ajar; providence

Chapter.  2382 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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