Date of Award

5-2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

History

Major Professor

Stephen V. Ash

Committee Members

Daniel M. Feller, Martin Griffin, Luke E. Harlow

Abstract

The Civil War was won by the Union through the effective mobilization of Northern society. Communities across the North were the essential actors in providing troops, producing war materiel, and rendering aid to soldiers. But historians of the Northern home front have primarily focused on dissent and opposition rather than explaining popular support for the war. Scholarship that has concentrated on mobilization has centered on the ideology that influenced it rather than the process by which it was carried out, and historians of the Civil War have largely viewed Northern society as a single entity rather than a conglomerate of individual communities.The Pittsburgh home front connected with and manifested support for the Union war effort in myriad ways that illustrate the importance of regional distinctiveness to understanding the role of Northern society in the war. Ultimately, Pittsburghers were mobilized by a strong sense of localism that made mobilization a matter of honor for the community, by an interpretation of events on the home front that drew parallels with the experience of soldiers on the front line, and by adaptations of existing traditions to promote mobilization. By interpreting the war in ways that fit their existing ideologies and by creating opportunities to directly participate in its prosecution, community leaders and organizers in Pittsburgh enabled the people to engage in the war rather than simply observe it.

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