By Brenda Wineapple
Wonderful in scope, Ecstatic Nation illuminates some of the most dramatic and momentous chapters in America's earlier, whilst the rustic dreamed vast, craved new lands and new freedom, and was once bitterly divided over its nice ethical unsuitable: slavery.
With a canvas of striking characters, reminiscent of P. T. Barnum, Walt Whitman, Frederick Douglass, and L. C. Q. Lamar, Ecstatic Nation brilliantly balances cultural and political background: It's a riveting account of the sectional clash that preceded the Civil conflict, and it astutely chronicles the advanced aftermath of that battle and Reconstruction, together with the promise that ladies could percentage in a new definition of yankee citizenship. It takes us from photographic surveys of the Sierra Nevadas to the invention of gold within the South Dakota hills, and it signs the painful, exciting beginning of recent America.
An epic story by way of award-winning writer Brenda Wineapple, Ecstatic Nation lyrically and with actual originality captures the optimism, the mess ups, and the tragic exuberance of a renewed Republic.
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Additional resources for Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, Crisis, and Compromise, 1848-1877
It appeared a very good circulation. A West element graduate and classmate of normal Beauregard, McClellan had served within the Mexican battle, the place he used to be brevetted first lieutenant and captain. later on, he had superintended the Illinois imperative Railroad and the Ohio & Mississippi sooner than returning to the army. good-looking, his surprise of reddish hair lower brief, and with a thick, well-groomed mustache that bristled with appeal, McClellan was once a compact, broad-chested guy by no means perplexed approximately his infallibility. He stated he had led the Union to special (he referred to as them terrific) victories in western Virginia prior that spring while he had guarded the strategically major Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, which associated Washington to the Midwest. although no longer at the battlefield himself, he had directed his troops to win skirmishes at Philippi, wealthy Mountain, and Corrick’s Ford—successes, he stated, that had helped that sector turn into a brand new kingdom, West Virginia, the subsequent 12 months. while he first arrived in Washington, the guy already referred to as the younger Napoleon appeared clean from the battlefield, longing for a struggle, confident regardless of what he discovered: “no arrangements no matter what for cover, now not even to the level of placing the troops in army position,” he stated. “Not a regiment used to be competently encamped, now not a unmarried road of procedure guarded. All used to be chaos, and the streets, inns, and bar-rooms have been choked with drunken officials and males, absent from their regiments with no depart, an ideal pandemonium. Many had even long past to their houses, their flight from Bull Run terminating in manhattan, or maybe in New Hampshire and Maine. ” The hundreds of thousands of thirty-day infantrymen who were coming to Washington on account that April had speedy realized that not anything a lot awaited them: there have been scant foodstuff and water, few uniforms, makeshift quarters. Disorganization, then, can be noticeable not only within the poorly drilled soldier yet at the faces of the befuddled, hungry males who stood round in blazing warmth or riding rain, wandering the streets or dispatched to camps the place rations have been measly, blankets skinny, and ill-fitting sneakers falling aside. Brimming with the sanguine self assurance of the egoist, McClellan set approximately organizing the military, enlarging its employees, and overseeing the main points of regimental lifestyles, every thing from the stocking of the commissary to the counting of horses, harnesses, and wagons. His overview of the army’s unpreparedness used to be now not incorrect. Reporting to the newly shaped Sanitary fee, a personal association confirmed to create box hospitals, to carry clinical provides, surgeons, and nurses to the military, and to coordinate casualty lists, the architect Frederick legislations Olmsted wrote a blistering account of the military in his “Report at the Demoralization of the Volunteers,” within which he accused the govt. of sending ravenous, thirsty, drained boys into conflict with out a lot of a plan, a lot association, a lot self-discipline, or any expertise that this used to be no longer a brief emergency yet a protracted, challenging struggle. And in response to William Henry Hurlbert, the Charleston-born Douglas Democrat now modifying the hot York global, the defeat at Bull Run had additionally been as a result of “professional contention, jealousy, envy; the will of advertising and of conspicuous command; sometimes a trifling longing for the recognition to be so simply gained via falling in with the general public clamor of the hour.