Dr. Manning Speaks to the Civil War Round Table of the District of Columbia on June 12, 2013.

Summary of Presentation:
Historians often identify the 19th century as a time of global State Building, and we  often, and rightly, situate the U.S. Civil War within that larger global framework.  When we do so, we usually point to ways in which the federal government amassed power during the Civil War, but State Building involves more than just how much territory a government controls or how large an army it can place in the field.  It also means talking about how significant a presence a government is in the lives of the people that it governs, and it means talking about the nature and strength of the relationship between the central government and the individual human being. 

To understand these two aspects of the development of the central state in U.S. history, we need to recognize how fundamentally they were shaped by the destruction of slavery in the U.S.  And to understand the destruction of slavery and the resulting reinvention of the American people, we need to look in some places that at first glance seem very unlikely.  We need to look at places called contraband camps, which were unplanned slave refugee camps to which tens of thousands of slave men, women and children fled during the Civil War. 
Dr. Manning’s presentation will take a close look at interactions between the Union Army and refugees from slavery in Civil War contraband camps to better understand how the Civil War not only ended slavery, but also reinvented the relationship between the federal government and the individual person.

Introduction and Biography:
Chandra M. Manning teaches at Georgetown University and co-directs the Georgetown Workshop in 19th Century U.S. History with her colleague Adam Rothman.  Her first book, “What This Cruel War Was Over: Soldiers, Slavery, and the Civil War” won the Avery Craven Prize awarded by the Organization of American Historians, earned Honorable Mention for the Lincoln Prize, the Jefferson Davis Prize, and the Virginia Literary Awards for Non-fiction, and was a finalist for the Frederick Douglass Prize.  Her current work focuses on how the Civil War, slave refugees, and the United States government changed each other during and after the Civil War, and goes in three directions.  One book begins in Civil War contraband camps to examine how the relationship between former slaves and the United States government changed during and after the Civil War.  Another project analyzes contraband camps in the context of the global history of war refugees.  And a third project (still at a much earlier stage) looks at the United States Centennial in 1876.
Chandra Manning researches and writes about 19th century United States history, the century that saw the United States transition from an agrarian republic to an urban, industrial nation, define gender norms in particularly enduring ways, invent what we now call the "middle class," depend upon and then abolish human slavery, tear itself apart in civil war, evolve a particular version of a central state with global influences as well as implications, and, last but certainly not least, embrace baseball as its "national game." (She is also busily brainwashing her two young sons into Red Sox fans).  Dr. Manning is particularly interested in ordinary Americans' relationship to the United States government, as well as their ideas about slavery, civil rights, citizenship, republicanism, and the legacy of the American Revolution.  Her published work to date has focused largely on Union and Confederate soldiers' changing attitudes toward slavery and race during the Civil War.

For additional information about Dr. Manning and her research and publications, visit
For additional information about the presentation, download CWRTDC's June 2013 newsletter available at http:/www.cwrtdc-newsletters.blogspot.com/ For information about the Round Table and to apply for membership, visit www.cwrtdc.org