Thursday, April 14, 2011

On To New Things

Courtesy Library of Congress-American Memory

Well, I submitted my article, "'Principles Opposed to the Public Peace:' Kentuckians' Reactions to John Brown's Raid" on Tuesday. I certainly do not think I have seen the last of the paper since I am sure more editing will be needed if it is accepted, but I have already started thinking of my next study.

Initially I thought about doing something on one of the United States Colored Troop regiments that was raised in Kentucky, but that would most likely require significant research time at the National Archives in Washington D.C. And, while I am certainly not opposed to spending as much time as possible in the nation's capitol deep in research, it is probably not realistic at this point.

I also thought about working on a string of studies about how Kentuckians experienced other national issues in the 1850s. Starting with the Compromise of 1850 (including the Fugitive Slave Law) and the Nashville Convention and going through John Brown's raid. These studies could be a number of articles that would probably turn into chapters, but obviously a study such as this would require it being book-length. Chronologically, other topics that would be of interest to me in this particular study would be Kentuckians' responses to: Uncle Tom's Cabin, The Kansas-Nebraska Act, The Margaret Garner case, Brooks's caning of Sumner, Bleeding Kansas, the Dred Scott decision, the Lincoln-Douglas debates and end with my work on John Brown's raid. The only problem with this idea is that would require a significant commitment and would take a long time.

But, I believe that I have decided on something different. Piggybacking off of my previous work on Kentuckians' reactions to John Brown's raid, I think I might continue to explore the Bluegrass state and race. After recently reading Anne E. Marshall's Creating a Confederate Kentucky it reminded me of how vehemently Kentuckians opposed African Americans enlisting in the Union army. Although this topic has been touched upon in recent scholarship it doesn't appear that anyone has explored it in depth. Another positive to this particular topic is that there should be no shortage of sources from all across the state and from numerous perspectives.

One primary source I easily found at the Library of Congress is pictured above. Although it is not from a Kentuckian (it is from native Hoosier Ambrose Burnside) it does mention how he thought Kentuckians would respond to the issue of African American enlistments in the Commonwealth. It reads:

The following Telegram received at Washington 320 PM. June 26 1863,

From Cincinnati 2 PM.

Dated, June 26 1863.

Prest Lincoln

I am satisfied from my knowledge of Ky that it would be very unwise to enrol the free negroes of that State It would not add materially to our strength and I assure you it would cause much trouble I sincerely hope this embarassment to the interests of the public service will not be placed in our way Please Answer at once1

Very Resp'y

A E Burnside

Maj Genl

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