UCA prof's tribute to Union soldiers | Arkansas Blog

UCA prof's tribute to Union soldiers

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I start the morning with congratulations for Lorien Foote, an associate professor of history at the University of Central Arkansas, who's a finalist for the Lincoln Prize, awarded to scholarly works on Abraham Lincoln, for her book "The Gentlemen and the Roughs: Violence, Honor, and Manhood in the Union Army."

Here in David O. Dodd land, where an annual full-page tribute to the traitorous R.E. Lee remains a popular feature of the state's largest newspaper, Foote treads into dangerous (or at least locally unexplored) territory:

Foote's book examines the conflict with the Union army over ideals of manhood — whether men needed to be moral, have honor, be genteel, or display strength and aggressiveness.

"One of the most important contributions of my book is that it shows how important honor was to Union soldiers. Most scholars believe that only southerners held ideals of honor by the time of the Civil War," she said. "I explored records that other historians had ignored — courts-martial records - and discovered that affairs of honor were common for northern men and that they had recognized rituals of honor. Indeed, what makes my book unique is its use of military records to explore cultural issues."


Yankees, honorable? Sounds like fighting words to me.

NEWS RELEASE

CONWAY — Lorien Foote, an associate professor of history at the University of Central Arkansas, was among the seven finalists competing for the 2011 Lincoln Prize.

Foote's book, "The Gentlemen and the Roughs: Violence, Honor, and Manhood in the Union Army" (New York University Press) received Honorable Mention in the competition. The book explores persistent tensions and overt conflicts within the Union army over notions of "manliness" and "honor."

The Lincoln Prize is awarded annually for scholarly work on Abraham Lincoln, the American Civil War soldier or a subject related to the Civil War era. The winner receives a $50,000 prize.

The Lincoln Prize was co-founded in 1990 by businessmen and philanthropists Richard Gilder and Lewis Lehrman, co-chairmen of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in New York and co-creators of the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the largest private archives of documents and artifacts in the nation, according to a release from the Institute. The Institute is devoted to history education, supporting history theme schools, teacher training, digital archives, curriculum development, exhibitions and publications, and the national History Teacher of the Year Award program.

"I am honored and thrilled to be a finalist and Honorable Mention for the Lincoln Prize. It is the most prestigious prize in my field of history and to be a finalist is considered a major award in and of itself," Foote said. "It is a recognition that my book makes a significant and original contribution to our understanding of the Civil War."

Foote's book examines the conflict with the Union army over ideals of manhood — whether men needed to be moral, have honor, be genteel, or display strength and aggressiveness.

"One of the most important contributions of my book is that it shows how important honor was to Union soldiers. Most scholars believe that only southerners held ideals of honor by the time of the Civil War," she said. "I explored records that other historians had ignored — courts-martial records - and discovered that affairs of honor were common for northern men and that they had recognized rituals of honor. Indeed, what makes my book unique is its use of military records to explore cultural issues."

The three-member 2011 Lincoln Prize jury considered 106 titles for the award before recommending the finalists to the Lincoln Prize Board which makes the final decision. Past Lincoln Prize winners include Ken Burns in 1991 for his documentary, "The Civil War."

Foote will be recognized in May at the Union League Club in New York.

"I received great support from UCA that enabled me to research and write this book. I am thankful to the University Research Council for funding my work in the National Archives," Foote said. "The book was conceptually difficult, and I am grateful to my colleagues in the History Department for their conversation and support. Writing a book is a stressful process and my wonderful colleagues made it a lot easier."

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