Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War: Mothers of Invention (1996)

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Catharine Drew Gilpin Faust (born September 18, 1947)[1] is an American historian and was the 28th president of Harvard University, the first woman to serve in that role. She was Harvard's first president since 1672 without an undergraduate or graduate degree from Harvard and the first to have been raised in the South. Faust is the former dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

In 2014, she was ranked by Forbes as the 33rd most powerful woman in the world.

In 1975, Faust joined the University of Pennsylvania faculty as assistant professor of American civilization. A specialist in the history of the South in the antebellum period and Civil War, Faust rose to become Walter Annenberg Professor of History.

She is the author of six books, including Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War (1996), for which she won both the Society of American Historians Francis Parkman Prize and the Avery O. Craven Award from the Organization of American Historians in 1997. Her other works include James Henry Hammond and Old South, a biography of James Henry Hammond, Governor of South Carolina from 1842 to 1844. This Republic of Suffering (2008) was a critically acclaimed exploration of how the United States' understanding of death was shaped by the high losses during the Civil War. It was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award.


The Confederate States of America (CSA), commonly referred to as the Confederate States, Dixie, or simply the Confederacy, was an unrecognized breakaway republic in North America that existed from February 8, 1861, to May 9, 1865.[1][4][5] The Confederacy comprised U.S. states that declared secession and warred against the United States during the ensuing American Civil War.[6][7] Eleven U.S. states declared secession from the Union and formed the main part of the CSA. They were South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina. Kentucky and Missouri also had declarations of secession and full representation in the Confederate Congress during their Union army occupation.

The Confederacy was formed on February 8, 1861, by seven slave states: South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas.[8] All seven of the states were located in the Deep South region of the United States, whose economy was heavily dependent upon agriculture—particularly cotton—and a plantation system that relied upon enslaved Africans for labor.[9][10] Convinced that white supremacy and slavery were threatened by the November 1860 election of Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln to the U.S. presidency, on a platform which opposed the expansion of slavery into the western territories, the Confederacy declared its secession from the United States, with the loyal states becoming known as the Union during the ensuing American Civil War.[6][8][4] In the Cornerstone Speech, Confederate Vice President Alexander H. Stephens described its ideology as centrally based "upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition."[11]

Before Lincoln took office on March 4, 1861, a provisional Confederate government was established on February 8, 1861. It was considered illegal by the United States federal government, and Northerners thought of the Confederates as traitors. After war began in April, four slave states of the Upper South—Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina—also joined the Confederacy. The Confederacy later accepted the slave states of Missouri and Kentucky as members, accepting rump state assembly declarations of secession as authorization for full delegations of representatives and senators in the Confederate Congress; they were never substantially controlled by Confederate forces, despite the efforts of Confederate shadow governments, which were eventually expelled. The government of the United States rejected the claims of secession as illegitimate.

The Civil War began on April 12, 1861, when the Confederates attacked Fort Sumter, a Union fort in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina. No foreign government ever recognized the Confederacy as an independent country, although Great Britain and France granted it belligerent status, which allowed Confederate agents to contract with private concerns for weapons and other supplies.[1][12][13] By 1865, the Confederacy's civilian government dissolved into chaos: the Confederate States Congress adjourned sine die, effectively ceasing to exist as a legislative body on March 18. After four years of heavy fighting and 620,000–850,000 military deaths, all Confederate land and naval forces either surrendered or otherwise ceased hostilities.

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