Wednesday, October 20, 2010

On the Eve of War

Today we are going to look at the turbulent 1850s in New Orleans. Politics of this decade definitely distinguish the city from the rest of the South of the same period. Some of the issues like Know-Nothingism (albeit a uniquely New Orleans brand of Know-Nothingism) were a lot more like one might find in a northern city.

Many other strings tied the Crescent City to the North, not the least of which was the issue of protectionism and the politics of sugar. We'll discuss that.

Nevertheless, New Orleans was the nerve center of slave trading in the West. It was also a major cotton port. These factors weighed heavily in loyalties in the city.

The election of November, 1860 delivered one portrait of Unionism in New Orleans. The secession convention of January 1861 portrayed something altogether different. We'll look at how that came to pass.

Mobilization for war began immediately, but had New Orleans Confederates had any idea what was at stake, they may have acted differently. Some topics for consideration: industry, banking, blockades, recruiting, black Confederates, and city defenses.

Some key locations: Fort Jackson & St Philip. Fort Macomb & Fort Pike. 

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