Hi there! My name is Scott MacKenzie, and I am working on my PhD at Auburn University in Alabama. My field is United States History with particular emphasis on the Civil War Era. I'm from Alberta, Canada originally. Now, you're probably asking why a Canadian would study the most American of events, its legendary Civil War. I'm amazed too. I never considered it until about ten years ago. Before that, all I knew about the war was from movies (I saw Glory in the theater in 1989) and from high school history class. They taught me that Canadian Confederation began in response to a perceived threat from the United States in response to British support to the Confederacy during the war. I now realize how much Canadian leaders grossly exaggerated the menace. It appears to me that the American threat is a common theme in Canadian history, but that's another story.
My route to Civil War history was a long and circuitous one. After graduating from the University of Manitoba with a history major and a classics minor, I went to Queens College, City University of New York to pursue an MA and, I hoped, a PhD in European History. That fell through for a number of reasons that I won't disclose here. However, I struck up a friendship with a Civil War historian who encouraged me to return to graduate school. After several years in the real world, I did so at the University of Calgary, graduating with my MA in 2007. My thesis dealt with the civil war in Kanawha County, West Virginia. How did this topic interest me? Simple: I went there once. Never did I realize that a road trip in 2002 would become my life's work. I'm now continuing my research at Auburn, home of the 2010 National Champions. War Eagle!
I'm starting this blog after subscribing to others dealing with the Civil War. Some like Kevin Levin's Civil War Memory (http://www.cwmemory.com), Brooks Simpson's Crossroads (http://cwcrossroads.wordpress.com/) and Keith Harris' Cosmic America (http://cosmicamerica.com/) have sterling work in starting discussions of important Civil War era topics. They debate new books, the so-called Neo-Confederates, the allegations that enslaved persons willingly fought for the Confederacy, the politics of Civil War commemoration, and popular media. Everyone owes these Olympians a debt of gratitude. My goals are similar but more modest. Like them, I abhor bad history, particularly that which excludes the role of race, slavery and emancipation in the causes, prosecution and consequences of the war. As such, I aim to raise Civil War related topics from Canada and abroad, as well as popular culture and current politics. I encourage comments from others but please keep things civil. I reserve the right to limit debate and ban those who abuse the privilege. Welcome all.