The Romance of Reunion
Nina Silber’s historical analysis in The Romance of Reunion, takes an in depth look at the groundwork that was behind the reconstruction of the nation after the Civil War. While most historians refer to the political agenda behind fixing the segregated nation, Silber takes a moderately different approach and focuses more on reunification, rather than reconstruction. Her argument is made very clear throughout the book and through the use of numerous illustrations that were developed during this time period, Silber created an approach to the situation that generally focused on the opposing views of gender roles within the North and the South.
In the opening chapter of the book, Silber does a great job out outlining exactly what areas her argument focuses on. She relies somewhat heavily on the concept of complete segregation after the war, and that the North was in a stance of power in terms of forgiveness. She tends to place a great deal of emotion on both the North and the South, in describing the events that formed the reunification process. The North was not worried immediately on “reunion or forgiveness, but the commitment to free labor for all; black and white, northern and southern” (Silber 15). While the idea of reconciliation was a new concept to both areas, Silber argues that the North had control of the “tempo” of forgiveness and they were dedicated to reunifying the nation as a whole, for if it was not restored it would be a complete disappointment to all that has been put into the fight.
Her analysis of the gender roles really shaped a large portion of her argument. southern men, Silber argues, were viewed by northerners as people who put everything into honor and dignity. Southern “feminine sectionalism also confirmed the weakness of southern masculinity” and Silber argued that the women were the Confederacy’s “main supporters and defenders” (Silber 27). Gender was not the only thing she discussed in the book,...
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