Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Using Civil War Louisiana as its focus, I argue that military occupation and expansive state power during the US Civil War served the primary mechanisms by which national states fought the war, stabilized order, and shaped a postwar nation. While many histories of the war separate frontline combat from the domestic home front and distinguish between the policy decisions of high politics and everyday decisions on the ground, this dissertation connects the political decisions of war to the daily acts of governance and resistance in occupied Louisiana. Union occupation officials and Confederate state authorities made contingent decisions throughout the war that determined the shape of government power, social democracy, and the postwar nation. Occupied longer than almost any portion of the Confederate South, Louisiana offers a decisive landscape for social and military analysis. Military officials experimented with strategies of power while Louisianans exerted pressure on authorities based on their disparate social positions. My analysis yields a picture of America transitioning from an individualist, agrarian, and slaveholding nation to a corporatist, modern, and contract labor nation.



Committee Chair

Sheehan-Dean, Aaron



Available for download on Friday, March 08, 2024