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05.10.02 Johnson, Ludwell H., “The Confederacy: What Was It? The View from the Federal Courts,” in Civil War History, vol 32, published in 1986.

Notes Concerning the Author

Ludwell Harrison Johnson III (1927-   ) was born in Charleston, West Virginia and raised in Richmond, Virginia.  He received his Ph. D. degree from John Hopkins University in 1955 and became a professor of history at the College of William and Mary.  His history specialty was the War Between the States, “with a focus on the political and economic motives of those” who sought to leave the Federal Government through State Secession.

Notable histories by his pen were Red River Campaign: Politics and Cotton in the Civil War (1958) and Division and Reunion: America, 1848-1877 (1978).  The latter book was later published under the title, North Against South: The American Iliad, 1848-1877.

Our Review

In this highly original article Johnson studies federal jurisprudence after the War between the States.  He finds that, despite Constitutional amendments and Congressional laws to the contrary, the courts were forced to recognize that the Confederacy had been a legitimate government in order to carry on the judgment of numerous cases.

Availability of this Essay

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