Northern Homefront

TitleNorthern Homefront
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsSandow, Robert M.
EditorSheehan-Dean, Aaron
Book TitleA Companion to the U.S. Civil War
Number of Volumes2
PublisherWiley Blackwell
CityHoboken, NJ

The term “home front” was not contemporary to the Civil War generation. Nevertheless, it remains a useful concept directing historical inquiry away from the battlefront toward the impact of war on society. As an interpretive focal point, this essay examines community studies of the wartime North, comparing research questions, methodologies, and findings. The community was the central vantage point through which individuals and groups experienced the war years. After tracing the considerable effect of “new social history” on the field of community studies, the essay divides those works into malleable categories of urban and rural history. While driven by differing interests and approaches, these works speak to common subjects. How did communities respond to war? How did they harness resources for the struggle? And what economic, social, or political costs did the long war exact?

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