The Role of Indiana in The American Civil War

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The Role of Indiana State in the American Civil War

The book's authors Richard Nation and Stephen Towne discuss the role of Indiana State in the American Civil War. The authors compiled private letters from soldiers and leaders, official records from different government sources, newspaper articles, and other primary sources to discuss various issues that the state was facing at the time. The documents collected date back to 1850s and mostly show the political divisions that existed over a myriad issues, especially race, secession, violence, and slavery. The conflicts affected members of different classes, gender, and political divides. The chapters selected in this article are the ones focusing on political conflicts and influence of the south in the process of decision-making. The war played a critical role in altering the Indiana's society, socio-political life, and economic activities over years. The war contributed in the population shift to the central and northern parts of the state while leading to the decline of the southern parts.

Close Links Between Indiana and the South

The Civil War proved that Indiana had close links with the south given the magnitude of influence. The southern and central parts of the state were already enjoying close ties with the south even before the war broke[1]. The settlers of the state, according to the primary sources from the book, had immigrated from the Confederate state of Virginia and Kentucky. At one time, the governor complained to President Lincoln that Indiana was the only state with the highest number of southerners, something that affected the decision-making process. The governor notified the president that he had to be forceful because the ordinary process of making decisions was always sabotaged. The state was engaged by the southerners to produce military assortments because Kentucky had already declared its neutrality in the war. The state became home to the third largest hospital in the country, Jefferson General hospital, which served the injured soldiers and those in need of urgent medical attention due to the war. The state's governor was the most powerful because he controlled decisions in both his state and neighboring Kentucky. At one point, he allowed the Kentuckians to form their own Union regiments on Indiana soil[2].

Influence of Southerners in Indiana Affairs

The southerners had an influence in the affairs of Indiana to an extent of staging a war against Bright their senator leading to his ouster because of the perceived betrayal of the Union. The senator had written to the Confederate officials urging them to buy weapons from Indiana. The former Indiana governor and a supporter of the Union, Wright was nominated to replace him who has served for several years until 2015 when the senate expelled him.

Divisions and Conflicts within Indiana

The state was divided over whom to support between the Confederates and the Union. Hoosiers supported the war from its onset, but the conflicts erupted later on. The major issues that brought about violence were slavery and emancipation, the draft bill, and offering military services to the blacks. The governor, Morton, was compelled to address a special sitting of the Indian General Assembly seeking an approval to borrow and spend money in purchasing and supplying arms to the state's troops[3]. The governor urged the politicians to put aside their differences and concentrate on defending the Union. However, the Republicans and Democrats did not heed his call, choosing to continue their conflict. The Democrats were in control of the legislature and they expressed their support to the governor. In 1862, after the adjournment of the legislature, some Democrats decamped to the opposing side. The Democrats jointly wrote a statement declaring their support for integration of the Union, but opposing emancipation of the blacks.


Nation, Richard Franklin, and Stephen E. Towne. Indiana's War: The Civil War in Documents. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2009.

[1]Nation, Richard Franklin, and Stephen E. Towne. Indiana's War: The Civil War in Documents. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2009.


[2]Nation, Richard Franklin, and Stephen E. Towne. Indiana's War: The Civil War in Documents. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2009.

[3]Nation, Richard Franklin, and Stephen E. Towne. Indiana's War: The Civil War in Documents. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2009.

November 13, 2023

History War

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