News---The Opera's Not Over Until John Brown Swings

John Brown Opera In Kansas City

On May 3, The Lyric Opera - Kansas City presents the world premier of the opera "John Brown," which promises to "bring to life" Brown's career in Kansas and other events in his tumultuous life. Other scheduled performances are May 5, 7, 9 and 11.

John Brown Opera Synopsis

In 1854 Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act which provided that the question of slavery in those territories was to be decided by their residents. This precipitated a proto-civil war between North and South, both sides sending men and money to Kansas to swing the balance of national power. The South was in control of the federal government; it feared that abolition of slavery in the new states would mean the end of its power. Nearest to Kansas was Missouri, a slave state; in the first territorial elections, thousands of armed men from the South crossed the border, terrorized election officials, stuffed the ballot boxes and "elected" a pro-slavery Kansas government which immediately enacted repressive laws: anti-slavery sentiments were punishable by prison sentences or death. This territorial government was given official sanction in Washington.

Lawrence, Kansas Territory, December 8, 1855

Invaders from the South are threatening the free-state settlers of Lawrence, Kansas. Martha and her brother Tom, both pacifists, try to persuade her fiancé, John Brown's son, Oliver, to leave town with them, but he refuses. The leader of the settlers, Robinson, and the pro-slavery Governor both want to avoid conflict, but each is opposed in his own camp: Robinson by the abolitionist John Brown, the Governor by the blood-thirsty Sheriff. When Lt. Jeb Stuart arrives without the troops the Governor had requested, the Governor crosses the river to sign a peace treaty with Robinson. Stuart, a proud Southerner, overhears John Brown describing the evils of slavery. This leads to a heated confrontation, with Stuart's slave caught in the middle. Alone with the slave, Brown tells how, like Moses, he has been chosen by God to lead the slaves to freedom. Robinson and the Governor return and are about to sign an evasive treaty, but Brown and the settlers suspect that they are being sold out to the slavery side. At the height of renewed conflict, Tom's body is brought in. Martha tells how he was murdered by the invaders. Her anguish brings about reconciliation. The treaty is signed while Brown warns, "This is but the prelude to disaster."

Scene 1 - A meadow in Kansas, May, 1856

On their homestead in eastern Kansas, Brown's family and friends sing a spiritual with a slave whose family Brown rescued. Brown and Oliver bring news that an army of Southerners has entered Kansas, swearing to kill the Browns and all other abolitionists. These invaders are being helped by Brown's slave-trading neighbors on Pottawatomie Creek. Martha, still distraught over her brother's death, comes to say goodbye. Oliver convinces her to stay, to believe in the power of love. Frederick Douglass, the great black leader, comes to visit his old friend Brown, who reveals his plan to use the Southern Allegheny Mountains as a base for an attack on slavery. He then persuades Douglass to give a speech. Some of Brown's Southern neighbors burst in, assisted by U. S. troops under Lt. Stuart, looking for an escaped slave. Thinking Douglass was the fugitive, the neighbors beat and tie him. Douglass proves his innocence, but Stuart supervises the burning of the Browns' outlawed books. Brown leads Douglass away; when he returns a messenger comes with news that war had begun: Lawrence has been burned, its leaders jailed. Furious that there was no resistance, Brown calls for a retaliatory strike against his Southern neighbors. With the words, "The Northern army is born tonight," he leads Oliver and several others off, carrying swords.

Scene 2 - Emerson's house, Concord, Massachusetts, March, 1857

In his home in Concord, Massachusetts, Ralph Waldo Emerson praises Brown as the hero who saved Kansas. Amos Lawrence, the wealthy manufacturer for whom the Kansas town was named, decries Brown's lawlessness. While Emerson and Henry Thoreau defend Brown, he is given supplies and clothing by the people of Concord. Brown declares that he will soon carry his fight into Virginia. Lawrence denounces this as leading to civil war, withdraws his support, and warns the others that if they aid Brown, they too will be guilty of treason. Brown contrasts their luxurious surroundings with the plight of the slaves and elicits even greater sympathy and gifts.

Scene 1 - A farm house in Maryland, October, 1859

Brown and eighteen men are hiding out in a farm house five miles from Harpers Ferry, Virginia. They need more men and money. Brown asks Douglass to join him, but when the black leader learns that the attack will be against the U. S. arsenal, he refuses. Brown insists that even if they fail, the raid will create such panic in the South that it will lead to civil war, the only means of ending slavery. Martha, now Oliver's wife and pregnant, has also become an abolitionist. Brown confides his doubt and depression to his daughter Annie, who assures him of the love and support of his family. When new recruits arrive with gold he interprets it as a sign to begin.

Scene 2 - Harpers Ferry, Virginia, three days later

The attack on Harpers Ferry had failed. Oliver, wounded and delirious, dies singing a hymn with his father. Governor Wise of Virginia is angered at news that the North is proclaiming Brown a hero. He prevents a crowd from lynching the wounded Brown, whom he then interrogates. As reporters take notes, Brown's eloquence puts the Governor on the defensive. When Brown's maps and letters are found, the Governor fears insurrection all through the South. He and Stuart goad the crowd to call for secession and war. A reporter whispers a rescue plan to Brown, who replies, "No! I am now worth inconceivably more to hang than I am to live."

A church in a Northern state, December 2, 1859

In a church in a Northern state, Douglass and Martha, she holding her baby, address a crowd gathered to mark the moment of Brown's execution in Virginia, and "to witness his resurrection." Douglass and Martha describe Brown's hanging, which the audience sees in large silhouette. "Now bury him!" Douglass says. "You cannot bury him! As long as men love freedom, John Brown will never die."

For Songs, Interviews, Lessons Plans and above text go to

CWL: Wasn't it just last October that the San Francisco Opera Company performed Philip Glass' Appomattox opera? See CWL's remarks at

Welcome IntLawGrrl Susana SáCouto

Delighted to announce that Susana SáCouto has joined Rebecca Bratspies this week as IntLawGrrls' newest members.
Susana (left) is the Director of the War Crimes Research Office at the Washington College of Law (WCL), American University, Washington, D.C., which promotes the development and enforcement of international criminal and humanitarian law. A Professorial Lecturer in Residence at WCL, Susana teaches courses on gender and human rights law and on the responses of international humanitarian law and international criminal law to women in conflict, and further directs WCL’s Summer Law Program in The Hague.
Susana he has a rich background and expertise in the fields of human rights law, international humanitarian law, and international criminal law:
► Her most recent publications include "Reflections on the Judgment of the International Court of Justice in Bosnia’s Genocide Case against Serbia and Montenegro,"15 Human Rights Brief 2 (Fall 2007); with Katherine Cleary, "Victim Participation before the International Criminal Court," 17 Transnational Law & Contemporary Problems 73 (2008); and "Advances and Missed Opportunities in the International Prosecution of Gender-Based Crimes," 15 Michigan State Journal of International Law 137 (2007).
► Susana has directed the Legal Services Program at Women Empowered Against Violence, clerked for the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and worked with the Center for Human Rights Legal Action in Guatemala.
► She currently serves as co-chair of the Women’s International Law Interest Group of the American Society for International Law, and was recently awarded The Women’s Law Center 22nd Annual Dorothy Beatty Memorial Award, by the Women's Law Center of Maryland, for significant contributions to women’s rights.
Susana's chosen to dedicate her IntLawGrrls contributions to Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz who, as Susana describes in her post below, was a 17th century Mexican nun known as the America's 1st feminist writer. Sor Juana joins IntLawGrrls' other transnational foremothers in list at right, just below the "visiting from ..." map.
Hearfelt welcome!

Introducing Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

In this 1st post at IntLawGrrls blog, I will explain why I have selected as my transnational foremother Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1648 or 1651-1695), a Mexican nun recognized for her extraordinary knowledge of the arts and sciences of her day and for her fierce defense of a woman's right to education. She has been called the first feminist of the Americas because of her outspoken advocacy of women's right to learn, a dangerous position to advance during the Inquisition in 17th century Mexico.
In one of her most famous writings, Reply to Sor Philotheawritten in response to a letter from the bishop of Puebla, who had posed as "Sor Philothea", which reprimanded her for neglecting religious literature—Sor (that is, Sister) Juana vigorously defended women's right to be educated and to take up intellectual pursuits, citing over forty women who had made significant contributions throughout history. Her reply incited harsh criticism from the Church. Although toward the end of her life Sor Juana renounced worldly learning, disposed of her library of 4,000 volumes (considered at the time to be the largest private library in Mexico), and devoted herself to penance, her story and reputation “as the first published feminist of the New World and as the most outstanding writer of the Spanish American colonial period” remain.
Many of her writings can be found online using the Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Project.

'Nuff said

(Occasional item taking context-optional note of thought-provoking quotes.)

The United States and ICC supporters can do more to prevent impunity for serious crimes by working together than either can achieve on their own, and it is in our mutual interest to develop a relationship that recognizes this.

-- John B. Bellinger III, Legal Advisor, U.S. Department of State, concluding his speech last Friday at a conference on the International Criminal Court (logo at left) at DePaul University College of Law, Chicago. Commentary on same from our Opinio Juris colleagues is here; a Wall Street Journal article on the conference as a whole here.

On April 30

On this day in ...
... 2003 (5 years ago today), about 6 weeks after a U.S.-led coalition had invaded Iraq and put its President, Saddam Hussein, to flight, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer declared: ''It is the fact that major combat operations have ended.'' The same day, the New York Times published a "lessons learned" analysis of the operations that were said to have come to an end. In fact, combat continued; as we've tracked, servicemember casualties now exceed 4,365 (with U.S. troop deaths in April at a 7-month high), while a low estimate places Iraqi civilian casualties at 83,221 children, women, and men.
... 1952, The Diary of a Young Girl by the late Anne Frank (right), who lived in hiding in Amsterdam before Nazis transported her and her family to concentration camps, was made available in English. First published in Dutch as Het Achterhuis in 1947, the memoir since has been issued in 50 different languages. (photo credit)

Classics Reprinted---Whistling Dixie: Southern Railroading Before the Rebellion and Black Virginians in Rebel Camps

Travel on Southern Antebellum Railroads, 1828-1860, Eugene Alvarez, University of Alabama Press, illustations, maps, notes, bibliography, index, 240 pp paperback $19.95

The matter-of-fact descriptive title of this interesting little volume on railroading in the pre–Civil War South does not do justice to Alvarez’s coverage of the subject. Along with his full account of trains and train accommodations,
he manages to encompass a number of social, political, and even ideological subjects.

“Here is a carefully researched account of all aspects of railroading—engines, cars, life aboard, perils of the road, stations—with much contemporary
flavor from this boisterous era.”-- Anniston Star

“A charming and informative examination of the early years of railroads. It is also history of the kind I like best: a study not of great events or momentous trends, but of how people lived.” — Jonathan Yardley, Miami Herald

“Excellently and extensively illustrated and can be recommended to all interested in trains and southern social history.” — Journal of Southern History

The Confederate Negro Virginia’s Craftsmen and Military Laborers, 1861–1865, James H. Brewer, University of Alabama Press, 240 pp, illustrtions, notes, bibliography, index, paperback, $29.95.

“Brewer has brought to light creditably the little known contribution of the Virginia Negroes, free and slave, to the Confederacy. In so doing, he corrects a serious historical omission while delivering a telling blow to the destruction of the stereotyped southern Negro during the war. . . . A milestone in the history of the period and essential to any serious study of the Civil War, the Negro, and the South.” — Journal of American History

“Brewer forcefully presents his main theme that the Virginia Negro ‘contributed a sustaining eff ort to the War for Southern Independence and an impressive mass of facts and statistics demonstrates that the Old Dominion’s more than half a million blacks made a vital contribution to the rebel cause. . . . Professor Brewer makes his point effectively and, in the process, adds a new dimension to the measurement of the Confederate war effort. No historian of the Civil War era can afford to ignore this book, which sheds so much new light.” — Journal of Southern History

A Gettysburg College “Top 200 Civil War Books” selection, Mayflower Award Winner for 1970

Source: text from publisher

New--Federal Second Corps at Antietam

Unfurl Those Colors: McClellan, Sumner, and the Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign, Marion V. Armstrong, University of Alabama Press, index, notes, bibliography, maps, illustrations, 424 pages.

Unfurl Those Colors! examines the operational fabric of leadership
and command in the Army of the Potomac during one of the most critical campaigns and battles of the Civil War. The Battle of Antietam remains “the bloodiest single day of combat in American history” with over 5,000 killed, 20,000 wounded, and 3,000 missing. Many eminent Civil War historians consider it the turning point of the war.

As a result of the perceived Federal success at Antietam, Abraham Lincoln was able to issue the Emancipation Proclamation to make the war about ending slavery and terminating any hope of European recognition for the South. This book constitutes an operational study of the Army of the Potomac during this campaign and battle, carefully documenting the command decisions of army commander George B. McClellan and following the execution of those decisions through the corps level of command and down to the ordinary soldier in the Second Army Corps.

It reappraises the leadership and decisions of Edwin V. Sumner during the battle of Antietam as the one federal corps commander who was steadfast in carrying out McClellan’s plan of battle and effectively directed the battle on the Federal right. It details as no previous account has the fighting of the Second Army Corps at Antietam to include Sedgwick’s division in the West Woods and French’s and Richardson’s divisions at Bloody Lane.

"Unfurl Those Colors! is a very important contribution to the field of Civil War and military history. While a number of significant books have been written on the Battle of Antietam and the Maryland Campaign, none have narrowed down a particular phase as this book does.” states Ted Alexander, Chief Historian at Antietam National Battlefield Park and a Smithsonian Associates tour guide specializing in Civil War sites.

Marion V. Armstrong Jr. is a retired U.S. Army reserve officer and teaches history at colleges in middle Tennessee.

Source: text from publisher

CWL: It seems Antietam/Sharpsburg is having a good year when it comes to publishers' attention. The Maryland Campaign of September 1862: Ezra A. Carman's Definitive Study of the Union and Confederate Armies at Antietam by Joseph Pierro arrived on the bookstore shelves in late March and now Unfurl Those Colors is upon us. The summer reading stack is getting tall!

Rice Rationing

The line seemed to stretch for days—men and women pushing carts filled to the brim with foodstuffs struggled and prodded their way to the front of the line to pay for their purchases.
“One bag per customer!” shrieked a clerk to the ever-growing crowd. “One bag per customer!”
The crowd became restive and angry. “One bag?” shouts an old man, a hand cradling his treasure—5 bags of rice peeked enticingly from between the bars of the metal shopping cart. “What can we do with just one bag?” he demanded.
“Not my problem, sir,” the clerk replied. “Our policy is one bag of rice per customer. I just work here. I don’t make the rules.”
“How are we supposed to feed our families?” a woman demanded, her voice at once plaintive and angry.
“Not my problem,” the clerk repeated.
“Well, whose problem is it?” shouted a young man dressed in army fatigues, his muscular arms easily juggling his burden of 10 bags of rice.
The clerk shrugged, which only seemed to enflame the others. The crowd moved as a single predatory unit. A chant rose up: “Whose problem? Whose problem? Whose problem?” Someone tipped over a display case of mars bars and celebrity gossip rags, the sound of the metal stand hitting the concrete floor galvanized the crowd. Fists flew, several catching the hapless clerk on the head and stomach. Blood from his wounds spilled onto his navy blue Wal-Mart-issued coverall. He doubled over and landed on the floor, writhing in pain.
The crowd had gotten a taste of their power, and they weren’t ready to stop. They turned on each other, rifling through their neighbors carts and grabbing at whatever they could get a hold of—rice, sugar, flour. Children were pushed aside, women trampled, men pummeled.
It was survival of the fittest all over again.
Suddenly, a piercing yell reverberated through the crowd. “This is the New York City Police Department. We have you surrounded! Come out with your hands up!”
* * * *

OK, I’m clearly having a bit of fun here. But have you seen the headlines? “Food Rationing Confronts Breadbasket of the World,” and “Two major US retailers ration rice amid global food crisis.” It seems Costco and Wal-Mart are going to save us from ourselves by rationing rice, oil, and flour in New York and California. “This temporary cap is intended to ensure there is plenty of rice for all our members,” claims a company spokesman. Admittedly, the world is going through a global food crisis, and India, Vietnam and Thailand have either limited their rice exports or are considering such action. But there is no scarcity of rice in the United States. In fact, David Coi of the U.S. Rice Federation admitted as much. Coi maintains:

'What happened is because of perception of problems in the world market, a few people try to buy more rice than they usually do, and these two companies have decided they want all their customers to be able to purchase rice. What happened was one person bought a three-month supply instead of a two-week supply that they normally buy.'
Are you kidding me? The proper response to a few people buying more rice than usual is to ration it? To purposefully create a false sense of scarcity? Costco and Wal-Mart’s actions are nothing more than a cynical and self-serving attempt to profit from the global food crisis. They ought to be ashamed.

Remembering Harold, thinking about Barack

Twenty-five years ago today Chicago made history when Harold Washington was sworn in as mayor.
The 42d person to lead America's Second City, Washington, who was serving in Congress at the time of his election, became the 1st African-American to hold that position. (photo credit) In a bruising primary, he'd bested the incumbent, Chicago's only woman mayor, Jane M. Byrne, as well as Richard M. Daley, presumptive heir to the seat his father had held for 2 decades. Still more bruises followed in the contest against Republican State Rep. Bernard Epton, as the website of the local CBS affiliate reported:

90 percent of white voters in Chicago, including ward bosses, turned their back on the Democratic Party. The atmosphere of the city became divisive and hostile in ways that would be difficult to imagine ... a quarter century later.
... It became a campaign of slurs, accusations, charges and counter-charges, and a contest dominated by the issue of race. ...

I remember it well.
The election took place while I was a student at Chicago's Northwestern University School of Law, from which Washington had earned his J.D. in 1952, a time when, according to campus lore when I was there, the school was considered "progressive" for setting aside 2 seats in each class, 1 for a woman, 1 for an African-American. (Washington's set-aside sibling also proved her mettle: Dawn Clark Netsch was graduated magna cum laude, became a politician and Northwestern law professor, and, in 1994, the 1st woman to receive the Illinois gubernatorial nomination of a major party.) Although decades had passed, in 1983 the city remained splintered, a metropolis of ethnic enclaves circled by unseen but well known walls. Isolation fed bitter, overt hostilities.
Emblematic of the ugliness of the 1983 campaign was a button that my relative saw worn openly on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange: Beneath the circle-with-slash that's the universal sign of "NO" was a green watermelon against a black background.
And yet, that year, Chicago began to rewrite its history. Citywide turnout on Election Day was nearly 88%, the highest ever. In the end a coalition of African-American, Latina/o, and "white 'lakefront liberal' voters" elected "Harold," as supporters called him, by a slim margin.
Washington's 4 years as mayor -- he died from a heart attack in 1987 -- were landmark. The city fared as it had under other mayors. That fact of competence eroded Chicago's entrenched ugliness. And though Daley eventually did become mayor, his way of running things proved far more inclusive than that of his father.
Harold's breakthrough, moreover, inspired a generation -- not only this onetime lakefront law student, but also a man who came to the city in the '80s to work with poor people. That man was Barack Obama (right), now himself a Member of Congress, now taking his own bruising as he endeavors to repeat in the national arena what Harold achieved in Chicago.

On April 29

On this day in ...
... 1951, at a meeting in Beijing, China presented a 5-member delegation of the Tibetan government with a draft agreement. According to the Tibetan Government in Exile, the delegation "rejected the Chinese proposal in toto," and in any event did not have power to enter a pact with China; nonetheless, after undergoing "harsh and insulting terms" and being both "threatened with physical violence" and isolated from its Government, on May 23 the delegation signed the "Agreement on Measures for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet" to avoid "an immediate military advance on Lhasa," Tibet's capital. China's official news service, Xinhua, has an extremely different view of events. As we've posted, China's half-century presence in -- and the Dalai Lama's exile from -- Tibet sparked riots there last month. This month, there've been disturbances nearly everywhere the Olympic torch has been displayed.
.... 2008 (today), is celebrated the 6th annual International Dance Day. At this year's celebration at UNESCO headquarters in Paris will feature performances by South African and French dancers as well as delivery of the annual "Message" by dancer and choreographer Gladys Faith Agulhas, shown at right with Makhotso Sompane (photo credit) of Agulhas Theatre Works, Johannesburg. The date was set aside in order, as UNESCO put it,
to bring all dance together on this day, to celebrate this art form and revel in its universality, to cross all political, cultural and ethnic barriers and bring people together in peace and friendship with a common language : Dance.

News---Grand Army of the Republic Post Restored In Original Location

Civil War Fundraiser Seeks To Restore 'Historic Treasure', Bob Karlovits, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, April 24, 2008.

A Civil War commemorative event in Carnegie has grown into a full weekend this year with an evening of music Friday and a Sunday afternoon talk by a historian. The effort also is taking a bigger role in the $8.6 million capital campaign to aid the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall in that borough. It is the second expansion of a three-year-old event centered on raising funds to restore the Thomas Espy Post of the Grand Army of the Republic at the library building.

"At this point, I think we'll call it quits," Diane Ragan says of the length of the event. She is library director and the author of two books on the Civil War. Maggie Forbes, executive director of the library and music hall, says it is accurate to look at the event as related to the capital campaign because "anytime we do anything that helps us reconnect our library to the community, it helps in what we do." The event will open with The NewLanders, a folk group that will perform a program called "Songs of Southwestern Pennsylvania." It will deal with music from the Civil War era through the time of the industrialization that brought many immigrants here.

The program will end Sunday with a talk by Stuart McConnell, a professor of history at Pitzer College in California. He is the author of a book about the change of political and social reality shaped by the Grand Army of the Republic, a fraternal organization made up of members of the Union Army. Saturday will be filled with an encampment by the re-enactment unit, the 9th Pennsylvania Reserves, military drills and skirmishes, readings of the Gettysburg Address by Rea Redd from the re-enactment unit, and a Civil War exposition in the reception hall.

Ragan joined the library in 2006 when she began a career in library science after writing the books on the Civil War and working at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Oakland. She says she had been thinking about work as an archivist but didn't find that hopeful. "Coming to a library that also has an archive is a wedding made in heaven," she says of the files in the Espy post.

Forbes has been advancing the growth of the library, music hall and Espy post in ways that also include concerts at the music hall. But she says the restoration of the Espy post is the most significant part of the efforts. "The music hall is a regional treat," she says, "but the Espy post is a historic treasure."

Bob Karlovits can be reached at or 412-320-7852.

CWL: The wwwsite of the GAR post is

Click on the white rectangle (Thomas Espy Post) under the masthead of the wwwsite.

The group most responsible for the preservation of the GAR post in Carnegie, PA, which is 8 miles south of Pittsburgh, PA is the Ninth Pennsylvania Reserves, a Civil War reenactment unit, founded in 1981. In April 2000, the unit co-organized a three evening performance of 'Our American Cousin' with a professional theatre troupe. The event raised $10,000 which was matched within 90 days by the local and state governments; the current preservation effort of the post began in 2000. The GAR post is located in Carnegie Free Library building and the board of the library is committed to the preservation of the post.

New---The War and The Hearth in Dixieland

Weary of War: Life on the Confederate Home Front, Joe Mobley, Prager/Greenwood Publishing, illustrations, bibliography, index, 200 pp., $49.95.

Providing a fresh look at a crucial aspect of the American Civil War, this new study explores the day-to-day life of people in the Confederate States of America as they struggled to cope with a crisis that spared no one, military or civilian. Mobley touches on the experiences of everyone on the home front-white and black, male and female, rich and poor, young and old, native and foreign born.

He looks at health, agriculture, industry, transportation, refugees city life, religion, education, culture families, personal relationships, and public welfare. In so doing, he offers his perspective on how much the "will of the people" contributed to the final defeat of the Southern cause. Although no single experience was common to all Southerners, a great many suffered poverty, dislocation, and heartbreak.

For African Americans, however, the war brought liberation from slavery and the promise of a new life. White women, too, saw their lives transformed as wartime challenges gave them new responsibilities and experiences. Mobley explains how the Confederate military draft, heavy taxes, and restrictions on personal freedoms led to widespread dissatisfaction and cries for peace among Southern folk. He describes the Confederacy as a region of divided loyalties, where pro-Union and pro-Confederate neighbors sometimes clashed violently. This readable, one-volume account of life "behind the lines" will prove particularly useful for students of the conflict.

Table of Contents:
1. Death, Sickness, and Despair
2. Agriculture, Industry, and Transportation
3. Destitution, Poor Relief, and Ersatz
4. Conscription, Desertion, and Internal Conflict
5. Slaves, Free Blacks, and Foreigners
6. Refugees, Cities, and Towns
7. Religion, Education, and Cultural Life
8. Courtship, Marriage, and Family Life

Source: text from publisher

CWL: Weary of War: Life on the Confederate Home Front by Joe A. Mobley is the third in the series 'Reflections on the Civil War Era' and released in March. True Sons of the Republic: European Immigrants in the Union Army by Martin W. Öfele is the second in the series and was released in February. Decision in the Heartland: The Civil War in the West, the first in the series, was released in January.

New---True Sons of the Republic: Europeans Fighting for the Union

True Sons of the Republic: European Immigrants in the Union Army, Martin W. Öfele, Praeger/Greenwood Publishing, 240 pp., photos, notes, bibliography, $49.95.

Up to 500,000 Union soldiers, or one fourth of the Union army, had been born in Europe. These immigrants had left their home countries for a multitude of reasons, mostly economic and political. In the United States, they envisioned a country of freedom that would allow them to pursue their goals of acquiring wealth and participating in politics. Soon immersed in the great debate over the expansion of slavery, many immigrants found themselves forced to take sides and eventually rallied around the Union flag. Ethnic Americans joined the Northern army out of the same motivations as their native-born comrades, with one notable difference. By defending the Union, immigrant volunteers hoped to tear down nativist obstruction against their assimilation into society and prove their worth as full citizens.

Declaring their unconditional loyalty, several groups entered into veritable competitions to raise separate regiments that would defend not only the Union but ethnic and national pride. Through their high visibility within the army, those units became synonymous with the ethnic war effort. The conduct of noticeable organizations such as the Irish Brigade or the partly German Eleventh Army Corps shaped public notions of immigrant participation in the war for decades to come, notwithstanding the fact that the large majority of foreign-born soldiers served in mixed and predominantly native American regiments. These new Americans contributed substantially to Union victory.

Martin W. Ofele has taught history at the Universities of Leipzig and Munich. He is the author of several publications on the Civil War Era in Germany.

Source: text from publisher

CWL: True Sons of the Republic: European Immigrants in the Union Army by Martin W. Öfele is the second in the series 'Reflections on the Civil War Era' from Praeger/Greenwood Publishing and was released in February. Decision in the Heartland: The Civil War in the West, the first in the series, was released in January and Weary of War: Life on the Confederate Home Front by Joe A. Mobley is the third and released in March.

New---The North Won The War By Winning The West; Praeger Publishing Lauches New Series

Decision in the Heartland: The Civil War in the West, Steven E. Woodworth, 208 pages, Praeger/Greenwood Publishers,photos, bibliography, notes, $39.95.

The verdict is in: the Civil War was won in the "West"--that is, in the nation's heartland, between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River. Yet, a person who follows the literature on the war might still think that it was the conflict in Virginia that ultimately decided the outcome.

Each year sees the appearance of new books aimed at the popular market that simply assume that it was in the East, often at Gettysburg, that the decisive clashes of war the took place. For decades, serious historians of the Civil War have completed one careful study after another, nearly all tending to indicate the pivotal importance of what people during the war referred to as "the West."

In this fast paced overview, Woodworth presents his case for the decisiveness of the theater. Overwhelming evidence now indicates that it was battles like Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Chattanooga, and Atlanta that sealed the fate of the Confederacy-not the nearly legendary clashes at Bull Run or Chancellorsville or the mythical "high-water mark" at Gettysburg. The western campaigns cost the Confederacy vast territories, the manufacturing center of Nashville, the financial center of New Orleans, communications hubs such as Corinth, Chattanooga, and Atlanta, along with the agricultural produce of the breadbasket of the Confederacy.

They sapped the morale of Confederates and buoyed the spirits of Unionists, ultimately sealing the northern electorate's decision to return Lincoln to the presidency for a second term and thus to see the war through to final victory. Detailing the "Western" clashes that proved so significant, Woodworth contends that it was there alone that the Civil War could be--and was--decided.
Steve E. Woodworth is Professor of History at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. He received his Ph.D. in history from Rice University in 1987 and has taught at colleges in Texas, Oklahoma, and Georgia. He has authored, co-authored, or compiled twenty-six books, including Nothing but Victory; While God is Marching On; and Jefferson Davis and His Generals.

Source: text supplied by the publisher

CWL: Decision in the Heartland: The Civil War in the West is the first in the series 'Reflections on the Civil War Era' from Praeger/Greenwood Publishing. Decision in the Heartland: The Civil War in the West arrived in January. True Sons of the Republic: European Immigrants in the Union Army by Martin W. Öfele was released in February and Weary of War: Life on the Confederate Home Front by Joe A. Mobley in March.

Welcome IntLawGrrl Rebecca Bratspies

IntLawGrrls is proud to announce our newest member: Rebecca Bratspies (right), Associate Professor of Law at CUNY School of Law in New York.
Rebecca's teaching and scholarship focus on environmental and public international law, with particular emphasis on how legal systems govern the global commons and how law can further sustainable development. Before entering teaching, as a Henry Luce Foundation Scholar, she was seconded to the Republic of China Environmental Protection Administration in Taipei, and later practiced litigation at Dechert, Price and Rhoads in Philadelphia.
Her publications, on topics such as environmental liability, international fisheries regulation, and genetically modified food crops, include “Rethinking Decision-making in International Law: A Process-Oriented Inquiry into Sustainable Development,” 32 Yale Journal of International Law 363 (2007), and Transboundary Harm In International Law: Lessons from the Trail Smelter Arbitration (2006), which she cowrote with with Russell A. Miller. This year she and Miller are set to publish Progress in International Organization, to which a panel was devoted at this month's annual meeting of the American Society of International Law. A member-scholar of the Center for Progressive Reform, Rebecca has experience blogging at BioLaw and Agricultural Law, both of which we've added to our "connections" list at right. Her 1st IntLawGrrls post below addresses the current food crisis, a topic on which I too post, still farther below.
Rebecca's chosen to dedicate her work on the blog to Harriet Tubman, to whom IntLawGrrl Hope Lewis here likewise gave special note. Tubman, as we've posted, was an escaped slave who helped other escapees to freedom on the Underground Railroad, served the Union "as a cook, a nurse, and even a spy," and agitated for women's suffrage. Rebecca explains her particular reasons for choosing Tubman:

Her courage has always been an inspiration to me. I grew up in Pennsylvania, and one of my friends lived in a house that had been part of the Underground Railroad. As girls, we read everything we could about her life. To me, her story has always been a reminder that social transformation is possible, and a vivid example of תיקון עולם (Tikkun olam, or "repairing the world").

Tubman thus joins IntLawGrrls' other transnational foremothers in the list at right, just below the "visiting from ..." map. (credit for Tubman portrait, by Robert Shetterley)
Heartfelt welcome!

"Predictable" food catastrophe

A Predictable Catastrophe—that is how Jacques Diouf, Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, has described the growing world food crisis. The combined pressures of market speculation, diversion of corn to biofuel production, pressures from a changing climate, and an increased demand for meat from rapidly developing nations all contribute to the record high prices for staples like wheat, corn, and rice.
These recent events are not written on tabula rasa. Decades of International Monetary Fund-imposed structural adjustment, which forced developing countries to drastically cut agricultural subsidies and to promote production of export crops rather than food for the domestic population, created a situation in which developing countries were particularly vulnerable to the vagaries of international trade. The current crisis (prior IntLawGrrls posts here) is also at least partly attributable to the collapse of the Doha round and the failure of the United States, European Union, and Japan to eliminate domestic subsidies for agricultural production.
Where is the outrage?
I know that sitting here in New York, awash in plenty, most of my neighbors are more interested in whether fast food companies should have to post the calorie counts for their meals than the hundreds of millions of people suffering food insecurity. From a distance, it can be hard to appreciate the enormity of this problem. But, millions of the world’s poor face hunger because they simply cannot afford to feed themselves and their families. That is inexcusable!
Biofuel production poses a particular threat to the food security of women. A recent FAO analysis reports:

Unless policies are adopted in developing countries to strengthen the participation of small farmers, especially women in biofuel production by increasing their access to land, capital and technology—gender inequalities are likely to become more marked and women’s vulnerability to hunger and poverty further exacerbated.

The report also warned about threats to biodiversity and traditional knowledge posed by the replacement of local crops with monoculture energy crop plantations.
Food riots, prompted by shortages, are perhaps the most visible sign of a food system in disarray. The FAO warns that more than 30 countries face food crises. (See post below for yet another set of concerns.)
Olivier de Schutter, the newly appointed U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, certainly has his work cut out for him.

On balance, does the Earth benefit from shipping organic foods transcontinentally?

Beyond the food-crisis concerns that newest IntLawGrrl Rebecca Bratspies raises today (in a post that joins others of recent weeks), there's another concern to ponder:
Does it help the planet to buy organic foods if they traveled halfway 'round the globe to reach our plate? Or, as The New York Times put it Saturday, want "Some Carbon With Your Kiwi?"
That was the teaser for "The Environmental Cost of Shipping Groceries All Over the World," an excellent article by Elisabeth Rosenthal (below left).
Among the transcontinental food movement that Rosenthal cites:
Britain ... imports -- and exports -- 15,000 tons of waffles a year, and similarly exchanges 20 tons of bottled water with Australia.
The result's predictable:

[P]ollution -- especially carbon dioxide, the main global warming gas -- from transporting the food.

Perhaps, then, we ought to add an aphorism to prior suggestion of biodiversity dieting: Think globally, eat locally.

On April 28

On this day in ...
... 1932, researchers announced the discovery of the 1st effective vaccine for yellow fever, a sometimes fatal disease apparently so named because the skin of some of its victims becomes jaundiced. Discoverer Max Theiler was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1951. Carried by mosquito from human to human(virus at left), "yellow fever has increased in the last two decades of the 20th century and is again a serious public health issue."
... 1970, the United States notified Cambodian officials of the decision of President Richard M. Nixon "to approve and assist the South Vietnamese sweep into Cambodia, with the objectives of saving the Government of Premier Lon Nol and destroying Communist hideouts in Cambodian territory," the New York Times reported. U.S. involvement in Cambodia ended, as we've posted, with defeat in the same month 5 years later. After U.S. withdrawal Lon Nol (right), who'd overthrown Cambodia's Prince Sihanouk in March 1970, went into exile in Hawaii.

Déboire de la globalisation*

* Globalization’s heartbreaks.

Couldn’t resist the pun: a “déboire” is a heartbreak, disappointment or difficulty; “boire” means to drink. One drinks from a glass, and a heartbreaking (among other adjectives) result of globalization is that the French drinking glass company, Duralex, is going under, glub glub. Created in 1939, this handy little tumbler (because it survives tumbles?) has served generations in school- and employer-run cafeterias (yes, French employers must provide either a company cafeteria, a sufficiently equipped space to allow employees to eat on site, or a lunch allowance as part of their pay), and is widely used in homes (we have several) and retro-chic cafés. How can such a sturdy and ubiquitous product, with an equally sturdy global reputation, go belly up? According to the workers’ union rep, the company’s Turkish owner and principal customer has mismanaged the company, which is otherwise viable, by buying glasses at below-market rate for his Turkish dishware companies. Result: Duralex has been in judicial recovery since 2005, one of its factories was closed in 2007 for economic reasons (putting 103 people out of work), and the second factory (240 employees) is now facing the same fate—unless someone can come up with at least €5 million ($7.5-8 million) towards the overall €22 million (at least $33 million) debt. The bankruptcy judge had, of course, asked the owner for this money, but he went home to Turkey.
I am not at all familiar with bankruptcy law or procedures that might allow for bringing this person to justice, so to speak (going bankrupt isn’t a crime, after all). Neither is the general public. And the press isn’t saying, which is rather typical of stories of factory closings here in France:
► Foreign owner closes down the “inefficient” or “expensive” French site, taking the work (and money) home; or
► French owner closes down the “inefficient” or “expensive” French site, taking the work (and money) elsewhere; and
► No one talks about what the solution might be, other than protectionism.
Paradoxically, while the government tries to keep factory closings quiet for obvious reasons, stories like Duralex’s get good coverage, stirring up anti-globalization sentiment with which this IntLawGrrl sympathizes when globalization leads to the enrichment of some and the impoverishment of others, leaving us feeling that the glass is only half full (photo credit)). I wonder, though, why this otherwise viable company was sold in the first place, and whether we shouldn’t be collectivizing rather than globalizing tout azimut.

On April 27

On this day in ...
... 1960, the West African country of Togo won its independence from a U.N. trusteeship managed by 1 of its former colonizers, France. The day was not marked for nearly 3 decades when President Gnassingbé Eyadéma held sway; he ordered celebration instead on January 13, "the date he took power in 1967." After his death in 2005, his son and successor, President Faure Gnassingbé, returned the independence celebrations to this date.
... 1973 (35 years ago today), Beryl Plumptre was named chair of the new Food Prices Review Board of Canada. She saw her job "not merely to report on why food prices were increasing so rapidly, but to report, not to politicians, but directly to the Canadian public." At the time that Plumptre, a past president of the Consumers' Association of Canada and the Vanier Institute of the Family, launched the food board, Canadians spent 20% of their budget on food. Today it's about 10%. The food board was merged a few years later with Canada's Anti-Inflation Board; Plumptre became vice chair of the latter agency. Born in a suburb of Melbourne, Australia, in 1908, she died just this month, on April 4, at the age of 99. (credit for circa 2000 portrait of Plumptre, by Jerry Grey)

Human rights for hostes humanis?

Since the time of Grotius, a pirate has been considered to be hostis humanis generis, an enemy of mankind.

So write Ilias Bantekas and Susan Nash in their book International Criminal Law (2003). As a global enemy, the pirate was subject to prosecution in any country that managed to exercise jurisdiction over him -- or, in the case of pirates like my IntLawGrrls transnational foremother Grace O'Malley -- her. (credit)
Thus it's a bit of a surprise to read that Britain, the country that once claimed to rule the waves, is shirking from seizure of the 21st C. pirates about whom IntLawGrrl Naomi Norberg posted earlier this month. London's Sunday Times of London reported that the Foreign Office has instructed the Royal Navy "not to detain pirates because doing so may breach their human rights." The Times' Marie Woolf reports of the further concern regarding the "risk that captured pirates could claim asylum in Britain." This fear of inability to return the captives likely stems from Britain's non-refoulement obligations, explicit in treaty provisions such as Article 33 of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and Article 3 of the Convention Against Torture, and deemed implicit in provisions such as Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights:

The Foreign Office has advised that pirates sent back to Somalia could have their human rights breached because, under Islamic law, they face beheading for murder or having a hand chopped off for theft.

Not all Britons share this view. The Times quoted Julian Brazier, a Conservative Member of Parliament:
'These people commit horrendous offences. The solution is not to turn a blind eye but to turn them over to the local authorities. The convention on human rights quite rightly doesn’t cover the high seas. It’s a pathetic indictment of what our legal system has come to.'

No doubt the notion that even hostes humanis have human rights also will trouble those who would use the old rule of free-rein-to-fight-pirates as a template for today's treatment of persons caught up in what the Bush Administration calls its "Global War on Terror."

(Cross-posted at Slate's Convictions blog. Subsequently, co-bloggers Benjamin Wittes posted this response, and Deborah Pearlstein this reply. Thanks to Berkeley Law student Lindsay M. Harris for the head's up on the Times story.)

"Human rights isn't a zero-sum game"

IntLawGrrls readers may recall last Saturday's post regarding the U.N. General Assembly speech in which Pope Benedict XVI endorsed the promotion of human rights. A key element of was the pope's support for the view that civil and political rights are indivisible from economic, social, and cultural rights.
Cross-posting of the report at Slate's Convictions drew response from my fellow blogger Eric Posner, a University of Chicago law professor whose scholarship often concerns international law. His post, entitled China, Human Rights Champion?, began:

If Diane and the pope are right that we shouldn't privilege civil and political rights over social, economic, and cultural rights, and maybe they are right, then we should give credit where credit is due, and crown China the human rights champion of the last thirty years.

It concluded:

We needn't declare a winner; but out of respect for China's achievement, we should at least let it relay its Olympic torch in peace.

FWIW, here, in full, is how I replied:

Eric, nothing that the pope said Friday favored one set of rights over another. Indeed, as my post stated, his speech to the U.N. General Assembly included "a tacit reprimand to those who would privilege civil and political rights over economic, social, and cultural rights -- or vice versa." (emphasis added) The point I'd intended to underscore was that the pope had reaffirmed the indivisibility of both sets of rights, the civil/political, on the one hand, and the economic/social/cultural, on the other. Indivisibility was inherent in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but frayed when Cold War geopolitics pushed the U.N. Human Rights Commission to separate the 2 sets as it began the process of drafting treaties designed to make binding all those rights that states had endorsed in the nonbinding Declaration. That separation, which seemed essential at the height of the Cold War, may be less so today: 160 countries are full members of the 1977 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, while 157 countries are full members of the 1977 International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. That means that 3/4 of all the United Nations' member states are firmly in each Convenant's camp. Vestiges of Cold War concerns may be found, however, in the fact that the United States is not party to the latter Covenant and China is not party to the former.
As for China: application of the concept of indivisibility means that China is no more a "champion" of human rights than any other state. The role that the Chinese state has played in alleviating poverty deserves attention. Indeed, how each country addresses the basic needs of persons within its jurisdiction deserves note, as I've argued with regard to the United States in a forthcoming essay just posted at SSRN. But the costs of such programs also must be assessed, respecting matters as wide-ranging as the health problems and the repressions of civil liberties that may result from economic development at all costs. (Here, too, insert a "vice versa.")
On 2 points, it seems, we agree. 1st: Athletes honored to carry the torch a bit of the way toward the 2008 Olympics should not have to fear anger and assault as they run through the streets of their home country. 2d: Comprehensive, critical comparison of the nature and extent of states' programs to protect human rights rarely will yield a clear "winner."

On April 26

On this day in ...
... 1998 (10 years ago today), 75-year-old Juan Gerardi Conedera, a Roman Catholic Bishop, was fatally bludgeoned in Guatemala City, Guatemala. His death occurred 2 days after he issued Nunca Más (Never Again), his "scathing report on human rights violations committed during the country's 36-year civil war." In June 2001, a Guatemalan court sentenced to 30 years in prison the retired colonel, the captain, and the sergeant whom it had convicted of the murder. (photo credit: Bishop Gerardi's funeral procession)
... 2008 (today), is celebrated the 8th annual World Intellectual Property Day. It was founded by the group responsible for monitoring global developments in intellectual property, aptly named the World Intellectual Property Organization, or WIPO. Its Director General, Kamil Idris, states, with good reason:
The man or woman in the street might wonder just what makes intellectual property worth all this effort. What, they might ask, do the workings of copyrights, patents, industrial designs or trademarks have to do with the really big issues, like how to stop global warming; or with the things that add spice to life, like watching their favorite athletes perform in this year’s Olympics?

His answer:
The answer is that, without intellectual property rights, many new technologies developed to tackle global problems would never see the light of day and the great sporting events, which entertain and unite us, would not be broadcast into homes across the globe.

And for that reason, he concludes:
[O]n World Intellectual Property Day, we pay tribute to the inventors and artists, great and small, who enrich our existence with the fruits of their innovative thoughts and creative vision.

CWL---Malvern Hill July 1862 and Cemetry Hill July 1863: Lee's Deja Voodoo?

At the GNMP Seminar in April Jennifer Murray, a doctoral student at Auburn University, compared frontal assaults made during the American Civil War. She noted at Malvern Hill, Lee planned for converging artillery fire followed by an attack by 14 brigades. This assault was plagued by bad communication between division, brigade and artillery generals, and suffered from poor maps that allowed troops to be out of position. Longstreet dissented from the plan and Henry Hunt was in charge of the Federal artillery.

Lee, 367 days later, does it all over again at Gettysburg. Murray asked 'What did Lee learn from Malvern Hill?' She feels Lee learned very little. Was the artillery organized better at Gettysburg? No. Did the infantry generals get their troops to the point of the attack in a way that allowed them to break and hold the Union line at Gettysburg? No. Did Lee clearly mark the beginning of the attack after the artillery had cleared the point of attack? No.

Murray, after discussion Fort Donelson, Malvern Hill, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, Spotsylvania and the Crater, reaches the conclusion that there was no significant change in infantry tactics in the course of the war.

Stephen W. Sears in the March 2008 issue of North South magazine presents Lee's efforts at Malvern Hill in a manner that encourages the reader to find marked similarities between the July 1862 and July 1863 assaults. 'The Battle of Malvern Hill, July 1, 1862' map on page 25 is striking in its resemblance to Cemetery Hill as the Union forces occupied it on July 2-3, 1863.

On the Carter and Poindexter farms, Longstreet found a low, open ridge lines within artillery range of the Federal's Malvern Hill line. Lee and Longstreet wished to catch the Union position in an artillery crossfire; if a crossfire could be achieved the Federal artillery would be destroyed or be forced to withdraw from the hill. Difficulties arose when it became apparent that insufficient artillery was available for both farms to be used as artillery platforms. Instead pf 50 canons on the Pointdexter Farm, only 16 were deployed by Jackson and these were quickly destroyed or chased away by the Federal artillery. The Federals achieved a 2 to 1 advantage in the number of artillery pieces engaged. Confederate access to the Carter Farm's ridge was obstructed by dense woods; one battery at a time could reach the firing line on Carter's Farm and these also were dispatched as the Federals could concentrate more pieces than the Confederates could on the farm's ridge line.

As the Federals rearranged their guns, a Confederate colonel reported that the Federals were pulling back from the hill. Also, a Confederate general reported that Armistead's brigade had taken a lower portion of the hill. These two reports caused Lee to issue new orders for an immediate rapid advance. Sears lays the blame for the Confederate defeat on to several instances of imprecise infantry orders and a mispreception of the terrain to be assaulted by Lee. From the Official Records, Sears quotes Lee's understanding of the battle; "Under ordinary circumstance the Federal Army should be been destroyed."

It is interesting to note that Lee interpreted Gettysburg in the same manner; in Lee's view Gettysburg is a failure of his lieutenants to achieve coordination with each other. From 'The Battle of Malvern Hill, July 1, 1862' map on page 25 the path of the Confederate assault leads to the salient of the Union line; at Gettysburg the Cemetery Hill salient is protected by the borough of Gettysburg itself. At Malvern Hill, Lee wished to assault the flanks of the salient but found the terrain made that assault impractical; he assaulted the center instead. At Gettysburg, the flanks of the Cemetery Hill appeared vulnerable and he did order the assault.

Roosevelt memorial

Had the opportunity during my recent visit to Washington, D.C., to make a 1st visit to the Roosevelt Memorial installed a few years back on the edge of the Tidal Basin, a stone's throw from the Jefferson Memorial. The bronze statues recalling the life and times of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, President during the Great Depression and World War II, and Eleanor Roosevelt, 1st Lady and, eventually, U.S. delegate to the United Nations, were set against dark granite. The words etched in stone, they shone.
Depression-era soup kitchen line

Crippled by polio a decade before his election as President, FDR sits in his seldom-photographed wheelchair.

Perhaps the most famous line from FDR's 1st Inaugural Address in 1932; audio here.

Fala stands sentry at the foot of FDR.

Real men, and women, hate war.

Though the Roosevelts' record was not unblemished, their lifework helped to open a new era of human rights.

A call to global justice.

ER beside the symbol of the United Nations. Many women stopped, climbed into the alcove, and had their photos taken in a sisterly stance right next to Eleanor.
Bloggers Team