The Trinity Symposium
Tuesday August 22, 7:30-9:00pm
Trinity Orthodox Presbyterian Church151
West County Line RoadHatboro, Pennsylvania 19040-1807(215) 675-1811
Defining "loyalty" in wartime has been a challenge in American society since the time of the Revolution. Americans on the home front have often found it difficult to distinguish between loyal citizens and those guilty of treason. Many actions that are tolerated in peacetime become criminal in wartime, and dissent can often be seen as seditious. Never was this problem more apparent than during the American Civil War. In the 1860s the Democratic Party faced many charges of treason and disloyalty for opposing Republican war aims. In this paper Jonathan White examines northern policies for dealing with treason on the home front. He finds a striking parallel between laws adopted during the Revolution and those enacted during War Between the States. In both instances civil liberties, free speech, freedom of the press, and the right peaceably to assemble were severely curtailed. Both wars necessitated restrictions of freedom in order for the nation to prevail—first to be born and then to survive.
Jonathan W. White is a Ph.D. candidate in United States History at the University of Maryland, College Park. He has published articles on Civil War politics in Civil War History, American Nineteenth Century History, The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Perspectives, and Pennsylvania Heritage. He is presently editing the Civil War diary of a prominent Philadelphian, Sidney George Fisher, which is forthcoming with Fordham University Press. His dissertation, "To Aid Their Rebel Friends," is a study of treason, loyalty and nationalism in the Civil War North. Mr. White is a graduate of Phil-Mont Christian Academy (1997) and the Pennsylvania State University (2001).