By Stuart McConnell
The Grand military of the Republic, the biggest of all Union military veterans' companies, was once the main robust single-issue political foyer of the overdue 19th century, securing sizeable pensions for veterans and aiding to opt for 5 postwar presidents from its personal club. To its contributors, it was once additionally a mystery fraternal order, a resource of neighborhood charity, a supplier of leisure in small municipalities, and a patriotic association. utilizing GAR conference lawsuits, newspapers, songs, rule books, and native put up documents, Stuart McConnell examines this influential veterans' organization in the course of the years of its maximum strength.
Beginning with a detailed examine the boys who joined the GAR in 3 localities -- Philadelphia; Brockton, Massachusetts; and Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin - McConnell is going directly to study the Union veterans' attitudes in the direction of their former accomplice enemies and towards an entire variety of noncombatants whom the verterans known as "civilians": stay-at-home townsfolk, Mugwump penion reformers, freedmen, ladies, and their very own little kids. within the GAR, McConnell sees a gaggle of veterans attempting to take care of questions in regards to the quantity of society's legal responsibility to the negative and injured, where of conflict stories in peacetime, and the which means of the "nation" and the individual's relation to it.
McConnell aruges that, by means of the Nineties, the GAR was once clinging to a preservationist model of yankee nationalism that many white, middle-class Northerners chanced on congenial within the face of the social upheavals of that decade. In impact, he concludes, the nineteenth-century occupation of the GAR is a examine within the microcosm of a state attempting to carry quick to an older snapshot of itself within the face of huge social change.