The Ballad of Political Dependency
This book begins by discussing how the Civil War transformed the relationship between the American people and their government. As war shifted the boundaries between the political and the personal, women and men pressed previously private, intimate needs onto states they embodied into patrons they could beg for favors. In the process, democracy and wartime exigency turned dependence from a personal condition into a political style. In strange and seemingly un-American ways, the war sparked a revolution not just in what the American state could do but in what people believed it could do. In the decades following the attack on Fort Sumter, people spoke of politics not just through classic American languages of independence and autonomy but also through a vernacular vocabulary of dependence. The popular politics that flowered from the dialogue between crowd and politician was a calculated, often selfish, frequently extravagant set of appeals.
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