Civil War Blog

A project of PA Historian

Another Civil War: Labor, Capital, and the State in the Anthracite Regions of Pennsylvania, 1840-1868

Posted By on July 12, 2013

When doing research on topics for this blog, I came across a book that discussed the anthracite region of Pennsylvania in a way that I had never before seen. Author Grace Palladino’s 2006 book Another Civil War explores the role of the developing labor movement among coal miners of Northeastern Pennsylvania. She points out how this labor movement shaped events in Pennsylvania during the Civil War, and how Pennsylvania then thoroughly crushed the movement.

Here is the official book description from Amazon.

Winner of the Avery O. Craven Prize of the Organization of American Historians Another Civil War explores a tumultuous era of social change in the anthracite regions of Pennsylvania. Because the Union Army depended on anthracite to fuel steam-powered factories, locomotives, and battle ships, coal miners in Schuylkill, Luzerne, and Carbon Counties played a vital role in the Northern war effort. However, that role was complicated by a history of ethnic, political, and class conflicts: after years of struggle in an unsafe and unstable industry, miners expected to use their wartime economic power to win victories for themselves and their families. Yet they were denounced as traitors and draft resisters, and their strikes were broken by Federal troops. Focusing on the social and economic impact of the Civil War on a group of workers central to that war, this dramatic narrative raises important questions about industrialization and work-place conflicts in the mid-1860s, about the rise of a powerful, centralized government, and about the ties between government and industry that shaped class relations. It traces the deep, local roots of wartime strikes in the coal regions and demonstrates important links between national politics, military power, and labor organization in the years before, during, and immediately after the Civil War.

For anyone interested in the dynamics of labor in the midst of war, this is the book for you. Palladino analyzes other political and military issues present in the anthracite region during the war including race, money, and elections.

A good summer read that will give you great information about the coal region during the Civil War; local history that is oftentimes neglected.


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