The Online Museum Store of the Alabama Department of Archives & History
1865 Alabama: From Civil War to Uncivil Peace by Christopher McIlwain
The year 1865 is critically important to an accurate understanding of Alabama’s present. In 1865 Alabama: From Civil War to Uncivil Peace Christopher Lyle McIlwain Sr. examines the end of the Civil War and the early days of Reconstruction in the state and details what he interprets as strategic failures of Alabama’s political leadership. The actions, and inactions, of Alabamians during those twelve months caused many self-inflicted wounds that haunted them for the next century.
McIlwain recounts a history of missed opportunities that had substantial and reverberating consequences. He focuses on four factors: the immediate and unconditional emancipation of the slaves, the destruction of Alabama’s remaining industrial economy, significant broadening of northern support for suffrage rights for the freedmen, and an acute and lengthy postwar shortage of investment capital. Each element proves critically important in understanding how present-day Alabama was forged.