Chapter

Introduction

Earl F. Mulderink III

in New Bedford's Civil War

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780823243341
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823243389 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823243341.003.0001

Series: The North's Civil War (FUP)

Introduction

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When the Civil War erupted in 1861, New Bedford stood as the world's whaling “capital” and was home to one of the North's most significant and sizeable black communities. This book explores New Bedford's history as its people faced economic, political, and social changes. It discusses military recruitment, enlistments, and ongoing connections between home front and battlefield, and draws upon the tools and resources of social history to examine an important northern home front during the Civil War era. The book pays particular attention to an African American community that “fought a different Civil War” than did native-born white Americans. It focuses on broadly construed communities within New Bedford: The city's economic elite, political leaders, and African Americans. The book also investigates four interrelated issues that remained central in the Civil War era: Economic change and challenge, the politics and policies of city leaders, racial dynamics and New Bedford's African Americans who enjoyed a relatively favored position in what Kathryn Grover termed “the fugitive's Gibraltar,” and New Bedford's multiple contributions to state and national efforts during the war.

Keywords: New Bedford; Civil War; whaling; African Americans; home front; social history; elite; politics; military recruitment; economic change

Chapter.  4107 words. 

Subjects: Military History

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