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American CreedPhilanthropy and the Rise of Civil Society, 1700–1865$
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Kathleen D. McCarthy

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780226561981

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226561998.001.0001

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Conclusion: Civil Society and the Civil War

Conclusion: Civil Society and the Civil War

Chapter:
(p.192) Conclusion: Civil Society and the Civil War
Source:
American Creed
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226561998.003.0010

The politics of chivalry symbolized the clash of two competing political cultures, one dominated by the partisan imperatives of white male political elites, the other predicated on a sprawling patchwork of associations. These competing visions of public governance, one hierarchical, the other decentralized, formed a subtext for the Civil War, both in its origins and in its execution, pitting these differing philosophies against each other in a struggle to define the appropriate parameters of civil society. The Civil War underscored the extent to which the country's ethos of limited government was predicated, in part, on the ability of private citizens to subsidize the government with their money, their time, and their expertise, an ability that enabled them to create alternative power bases outside elected office. Fund-raising also provided an entrée into national policymaking for African Americans.

Keywords:   chivalry, Civil War, political cultures, African Americans, political elites

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