Front cover image for Patriotism by proxy : the Civil War draft and the cultural formation of citizen-soldiers, 1863-1865

Patriotism by proxy : the Civil War draft and the cultural formation of citizen-soldiers, 1863-1865

Colleen Glenney Boggs (Author)
"At the height of the Civil War in 1863, the Union instated the first-ever federal draft. 'Patriotism By Proxy' develops a new understanding of the connections between American literature and American lives by focusing on this historic moment when the military transformed both. Paired with the Emancipation Proclamation, the 1863 draft inaugurated new relationships between the nation and its citizens. A massive bureaucratic undertaking, it redefined the American people as a population, laying bare social divisions as wealthy draftees hired substitutes to serve in their stead. The draft is the context in which American politics met and also transformed into a new kind of biopolitics, and these substitutes reflect the transformation of how the state governed American life. Censorship and the suspension of habeas corpus prohibited free discussions over the draft's significance, making literary devices and genres the primary means for deliberating over the changing meanings of political representation and citizenship. Assembling an extensive textual and visual archive, 'Patriotism by Proxy' examines the draft as a cultural formation that operated at the nexus of political abstraction and embodied specificity, where the definition of national subjectivity was negotiated in the interstices of what it means to be a citizen-soldier. It brings together novels, poems, letters, and newspaper editorials that show how Americans discussed the draft at a time of censorship, and how the federal draft changed the way that Americans related to the state and to each other."--Provided by publisher
Print Book, English, 2020
First edition View all formats and editions
Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, 2020
xii, 179 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
9780198863670, 0198863675
Introduction1: Public Reading and the Civil War Draft Lottery2: "We Are Coming, Father Abraham": Draft Substitutes and the Parodic Politics of Representation3: Alter Egos: Biopolitical Subjectivity and the Economics of Substitution4: The Heroic Substitute: African American Writers and the Formation of Black Citizen-SoldiersConclusion