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H-Net reviews Paul Taylor’s The Most Complete Political Machine Ever Known

Feb 20th, 2020

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Cecily Zander reviews Paul Taylor’s “The Most Complete Political Machine Ever Known”: The North’s Union Leagues in the American Civil War on H-Net.org

“Joining the growing tide of literature concerned with understanding nationalism in the Civil War-era North, Paul Taylor’s The Most Complete Political Machine Ever Known: The North’s Union Leagues in the American Civil War offers a detailed analysis of the creation and maintenance of one of the war’s least understood institutions—Union Leagues. Union Leagues—private (sometimes secret) clubs formed by civilians interested in expressing their support for the Union cause, cultivating patriotic attitudes, and policing treasonous dissenters—were, according to Taylor, “the North’s primary arbiter of how loyalty and treason were defined” in the loyal states during the conflict (p. 12).”
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