Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Committee Chair

Mackey, Thomas C., 1956-


Slavery--Political aspects--Kentucky; Kentucky--History--Civil War, 1861-1865


In his 1926 study of the Civil War era in Kentucky, southern historian E. Merton Coulter repeated the old saying that Kentucky was the only state to secede after Appomattox. In an over-simplification of the process, most historians have seen harsh Union military policy as the root of Kentucky's ideological shift. However, in reading letters, diaries, and speeches written by Kentuckians during the Civil War, it becomes obvious that while Kentuckians were aware of and concerned about military policy, they were more alarmed by emancipation as a Union war goal. This thesis argues that emancipation and the subsequent enlistment of black troops contributed to Kentucky's adoption of a southern identity. Because of emancipation, many Kentuckians saw themselves as more akin to their fellow slaveholders in the South than to those northerners who had fought beside them in the Union army for four years.