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Glorious Contentment
The Grand Army of the Republic, 1865-1900

by Stuart McConnell

Softcover, 332 pages, 61/8 x 91/4, 17 illustrations, notes, bibliography, index
Published Spring/Summer 1997 
University of North Carolina Press

From the publisher:
The Grand Army of the Republic, the largest of all Union Army veterans' organizations, was the most powerful single-issue political lobby of the late nineteenth century, securing massive pensions for veterans and helping to elect five postwar presidents from its own membership. To its members, it was also a secret fraternal order, a source of local charity, a provider of entertainment in small municipalities, and a patriotic organization. Using GAR convention proceedings, newspapers, songs, rule books, and local post records, Stuart McConnell examines this influential veterans' association during the years of its greatest strength.

Beginning with a close look at the men who joined the GAR in three localities -- Philadelphia; Brockton, Massachusetts; and Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin - McConnell goes on to examine the Union veterans' attitudes towards their former Confederate enemies and toward a whole range of noncombatants whom the veterans called "civilians": stay-at-home townsfolk, Mugwump pension reformers, freedmen, women, and their own sons and daughters. In the GAR, McConnell sees a group of veterans trying to cope with questions concerning the extent of society's obligation to the poor and injured, the place of war memories in peacetime, and the meaning of the "nation" and the individual's relation to it.

McConnell argues that, by the 1890s, the GAR was clinging to a preservationist version of American nationalism that many white, middle-class Northerners found congenial in the face of the social upheavals of that decade. In effect, he concludes, the nineteenth-century career of the GAR is a study in the microcosm of a nation trying to hold fast to an older image of itself in the face of massive social change.

About the author
Stuart McConnell is associate professor of history at Pitzer College.

Table of Contents

Chapter One: Parade

Chapter Two: Rank

Chapter Three: Roster

Chapter Four: Post Room

Chapter Five: Relief Fund

Chapter Six: Campfire

Chapter Seven: Flag


Infantry unit marching in the Grand Review
The reviewing stand for the Grand Review
General John Alexander Logan
The Post 2 Guard in the national encampment parade, 1890
The meeting room of Post 2 as it appeared in 1880
GAR post room, with chairs arranged for meeting
The design of a standard post room
Members of Post 201, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, on Memorial Day
"Memorial Day"
Camp as spectacle
The Great Barbecue at the 1895 national encampment
The national diorama
A monument decorated for Memorial Day, 1880
The body of John A. Logan lying in state, 1886
A unit of black musicians heads a Memorial Day parade, 1880
Union and Confederate veterans at the Peach Orchard, 1913

Book condition: This is a new "remainder" book. A remainder is a book that may have been unsold by the publisher, or it may have been an "unsold" return from a bookstore. It may have minor shelf wear on the cover, or other mild imperfection. We do not ship books with major damage. No remainder mark.

Other Civil War History Books
[This Astounding Close] [The Confederate Image] [Gettysburg - The Third Day] [Glorious Contentment (GAR)] [Lee & His Army] [Pickett's Charge - Last Attack at Gettysburg] [War at Every Door]

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