Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Book reviews
 Featured article contributors
 Religion and empire
 Featured articles
 Book reviews
 Back Cover

Group Title: Alpata : a journal of history
Title: VII
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00090930/00007
 Material Information
Title: VII
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Creator: History Department, University of Florida
Publisher: History Department, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: Spring 2010
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Bibliographic ID: UF00090930
Volume ID: VID00007
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page i
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page iii
    Table of Contents
        Page iv
    Book reviews
        Page v
    Featured article contributors
        Page vi
    Religion and empire
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
    Featured articles
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
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        Page 50
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        Page 53
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        Page 55
        Page 56
    Book reviews
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
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    Back Cover
        Page 81
        Page 82
Full Text

El socorro de Gnnova por el II
marquis de Santa Cruz. 1634-1635.
Antonio de Pereda y Salgado (1611-1678).
Oil on canvas, 290 cm x 370 cm.

ALPATA is the Seminole word for alligator.


a journal of history


A Publication of the University of Florida
PHI ALPHA THETA I gamma eta chapter

head graduate editor Anuradha Pandey

head undergraduate editors Michelle Dissman
Mary Lester

book review editor Benjamin L. Miller

editors Sara Reynolds
Bret Sefarian

faculty advisor Dr. Jack E. Davis, Professor of History

sponsors University of Florida
Department ofHistory
Dr. Joseph Spillane, Chair

designer Jane Dominguez



Introduction .................................................................................. ................................ 3
Mary Lester
Citadels of Heaven: Religion in Pre-colonial Central America................................ 5
Mary Lester
Converting the Heathens to the Way of the Lord:
Catholic and Protestant Missionaries in New Spain, New France,
and British North America During the Colonial Period.................................. 8
Benjamin L. Miller
Islam and the Ottoman Empire in Pre-Modern Europe........................................ 11
Michelle Dissman
Religion and Indirect Rule in French West Africa..................................... ............. 14
Sara Reynolds
Orientalism and Empire: Religion in the British Raj ............................................. 17
Anuradha Pandey

An Unhappy Knight: The Diffusion and Bastardization ofMordred in
Arthurian Legends from Select Works of the Sixth through the Fifteenth
C en tu ries ............................................................................................................................. 2 2
Emerson Storm Fillman Richards
Charters, Theaters, and Change: A History of Czechoslovak Revolutionary
M edia, 1968-1989 ..................................................................... ......................... 33
Lorn Hillaker
Allied Intervention in Russia and the Czechoslovak Legions, from Brest-Litovsk
to C heliabin sk ................................................................................... .......................... 4 4

iv ] ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010

Bert Hansen. Picturing Medical Progress from Pasteur to Polio: A
History ofMass Media Images and Popular Attitudes in America.
New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2009............................................. 58
Reviewed by Matthew White
Peter V. N. Henderson. Gabriel Garcia Moreno and Conservative State
Formation in the Andes. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2008..................... ..... 61
Reviewed by William Fischer
Wim Klooster. Revolutions in the Atlantic World: A Comparative History.
New York: New York University Press, 2009......................... ..... .............. 63
Reviewed byJoseph Beatty
John D. Majewski. Modernizing a Slave Economy: The Economic Vision
ofthe Confederate Nation. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina
P ress, 2009 ................................................................................. ................................. 65
Reviewed by Scott II .
David Nicholas. The Northern Lands: GermanicEurope, c. 1270-c.1500.
Maldon, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009 ........................................... .........................68
Reviewed by Reid Weber
Steven Noll and David Tegeder. Ditch ofDreams: The Cross Florida Barge
Canal and the Strugglefor Florida's Future. Gainesville: University Press of
F lorid a, 20 0 9 ..................................................................................... ......................... 7 0
Reviewed by Leslie Kemp Poole
Moses E. Ochonu. ColonialMeltdown: Northern Nigeria in the Great
Depression. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2009...................................................72
Reviewed byJessica Morey
David Rolfs. No Peace for the Wicked: Northern Protestant Soldiers
and theAmerican Civil War. Knoxville: The University of Tennessee
P ress, 2009 ................................................................................. ...... ................... 74
Reviewed by Benjamin L. Miller
Daniel L. Schafer. Thunder on the River: The Civil War in Northeast
I /. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2010 ............................................ 76
Reviewed by Maria Angela Diaz
Leslie A. Schwalm. Emancipation's Diaspora: Race and Reconstruction
in the Upper Midwest. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina
P ress, 2009 .................................................................................. ................................ 78
Reviewed byJamesJ. Broomall

Subm mission G guidelines ............................................................ ......................... 81

ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ v


Janel Fontaine is a junior majoring in history. She enjoys studying all time
periods, but has a particular fondness for early Medieval Europe and archaeology.
As a University Scholar, she will be conducting research on slavery in Anglo-
Saxon England.

Lorn Hillaker is a senior majoring in history and minoring in German. He
plans on participating in the UF at Cambridge study-abroad program and on
doing research at the Federal Archives in Berlin in the summer of 2010. He is
also a University Scholar and the vice president of the UF chapter of Phi Alpha
Theta. His interests include reading, writing, exercise, and the occasional video

Emerson Storm Fillman Richards is a senior double majoring in English and
Medieval studies with a minor in geography. Her academic interests include
Arthurian legend, pre-19th century literature and creative writing. She is a
recipient of the University Scholars research grant and a member of Phi Beta

vi ] ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010



ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 1

2 ] ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010

Mary Lester

Religion and empire have always had a close association throughout history,
as the ruling state must address both the faith of the imperial center and
the controlled territories in the formation of their administrative policy. Yet for
all of their continuous interconnectedness, the relationship between religion
and empire defies simple categorization, and human faith has alternately drawn
empires closer to the metropole, calmed the fears or destroyed the native beliefs
of subjugated peoples, served as a tool of foreign rule, and even transformed into a
vehicle for blossoming nationalism and the eventual end of imperial rule.
The following sections provide brief glimpses into this complex relationship
between faith and imperial rule, and explore the workings ofvarious rulingpowers
in regards to their own faith and the faith of their subjects. Beginning in central
America, Mayan city-states and the Aztec empire readily absorbed the religious
beliefs of conquered or satellite peoples, and combined religious authority with
political power to link inextricably native religion with governmental rule. As
European nations spread their claims across the Americas, however, the French,
Spanish, and British chose to Christianize Native Americans rather than absorb
their belief systems into the official religion of the empire; instead of adopting
native faith, these empires instead imposed their own, foreign faith onto their new
territories, often using features of Native American faith and society as vehicles
for Europeanization.
Although the Americas provide a narrative of aggressive conversion to the
official imperial religion, several Old World empires offer alternative examples
of imperial interaction with native faith. In French West Africa, the colonial
government chose to ally itself with local Muslim leaders in Senegal, Algeria,
and Morocco, and ruled indirectly through native religious authority rather than
competed with them for influence. The Ottoman Empire, by contrast, directly

ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 3


interacted with the varying religious beliefs of its demographically diverse
population, and developed several effective strategies for incorporating and
profiting from the differing faiths of its subject peoples.
Finally, religion played a continuously changing role in British colonial
rule in India, as general British toleration of local religious customs in exchange
for goodwill transformed into government's deliberate misuse of religion to
classify and categorize the native peoples of India, a move that created several
Indian identities based on faith and caste and severely hindered any fully unified
movement for Indian independence.
From inception to independence, empires across time have variously
absorbed, fought, allied with, tolerated, and manipulated local religion to increase
their control and maintain their rule. For ruled peoples, however, such a close
relationship between empire and religion has often left a legacy of uncertainty and
division, a legacy that continues to haunt independent nations to the present day.

4 ] ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010

Mary Lester

Long before European nations expanded their influence across the globe,
the Mayan and Aztec empires of Central America not only developed
powerful centralized forms of government; they also created a complex religious
environment that was inextricably bound to the state.' Although most references
to Mesoamerican religion highlight such dramatic aspects as human sacrifice
and awe-inspiring pyramids, Mayan and Aztec faith also possessed a remarkably
intricate system of theological thought and required the active participation of all
classes ofMesoamericans. Due to the all-encompassing presence of Mesoamerican
religion in daily life, the diverse forms of government in CentralAmerica embraced
a central role in Mayan and Aztec faith and actively participated in religious
rituals. From powerful Mayan urban centers to the centralized government of
the Aztec empire, rulers took on the responsibility of looking after the religious
well-being of the people, and worked closely with priests to ensure the good
will of Mesoamerican deities. As Mayan and later Aztec influence expanded in
Central America, religion and government came to be linked intrinsically in
Mesoamerican religious thought and in daily ritual practice.
Although the Mayan civilization was the predominant culture in
Mesoamerica during the late classic era (600-900 CE), the Maya were in fact a
collection of several diverse urban centers rather than a unified political empire.
These cities, nevertheless, shared several common religious practices, and absorbed
the culture of neighboring urban centers. For all of the diversity of Mayan city-
states, some urban centers such as Teotihuacan came to share both political and
religious significance, as "religion and power continued to unite" in Mesoamerican

1. Although it would be more accurate to refer to the Aztec peoples as the "Mexica," the term
"Aztec" will be used in this essay for the sake of clarity.

ALPATA: a journal ofhistory, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 5


civilization.2 In general, Mayan religion was very demanding upon its followers,
and ritual saturated every aspect of Mayan life.3 Central features of Mayan faith
that the Aztecs later adopted include the importance of time and numerology,
and the advanced Mayan calendar represented a cyclical conception of time that
attempted to regulate the past and future ages of human existence.4 Numerology
worked in conjunction with calendrical predictions to help the Maya make sense
of their existence, and Mayan conceptions of the idea of god could be expressed in
numerological terms; in a startling similarity to Christianity, the Maya expressed
god as the "alpha and omega, and in that sense [the] one case [in which] 0=1.
The mystery of the transition from 0 to 1 is the essence of god."5 The concept of
sacrifice was also central to Mayan faith, and believers practiced this dualisticc
reciprocity" to give and receive, to understand the good through the bad.6
The rise of the Aztec empire in the early fifteenth century took the
unification of religion and authority a step further as the rhythms of religious
ceremony permeated all aspects of Aztec life and rule. Instead of viewing cities
as parallel yet separate centers of administrative and ceremonial authority, the
Aztecs incorporated their urban centers into their religious beliefs as places
where the sacred came together with the profane. For example, the capital city
of the Aztec empire, Tenochtitlan, was "transformed from [a military citadel]
into the foundation of heaven," a change that indicates "there existed a profound
correspondence between sacred forces of universe and social world of Aztec
empire."' In these cities, a system of ceremony and ritual imbued every day of the
Aztec calendar with religious significance and regulated the lives of city residents.
The empire's relationship with its gods was one ofmutual need, and required active
participation of the government and the entire empire to ensure the maintenance
ofAztec world order. Drawing upon earlier Mayan notions of sacrifice, the Aztecs
believed that their gods had created humans not only to worship them, but also to
sustain them through continuous offerings of blood and sacrifice with extensive
ruler participation.8 The religious significance of cities and a highly prominent
2. Alfredo L6pez Austin, "Guidelines for the Study of Mesoamerican Religious Tradition," in
Beyond Primitivism: Indigenous Religious t ,i i Jacob Olupona (New York:
Routledge, 2003), 120.
3. Munro S. Edmonson, "The Mayan Faith," in South andMeso-American Spirituality, ed. Gary H.
Gossen (New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1993), 71.
4. Edmonson, 73-75.
5. Edmonson, 67.
6. Edmonson, 84.
7. David Carrasco, "Aztec Religion: Sacred Cities, Sacred Actions," in Native Religions and Cultures
ofCentraland South America, ed. Lawrence E. Sullivan (New York: The Continuum Publishing
Company, 2002), 16.
8. For a wonderfully detailed analysis, see Miguel Le6n Portilla, "Those Made Worthy by Divine
Sacrifice: The Faith of Ancient Mexico," in South andMeso-American Spirituality, 41-64.

6 ] ALPATA: journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010


cult of sacrifice are only a few features of the complex Aztec religion, yet they
signify an apex of increasingly intertwining Mesoamerican religion and empire
when religious life was inseparable from Aztec rule.
After the Spanish conquered the Aztecs in 1521, they began an intensive
program of conversion and brought hundreds of Catholic priests to the region.
Yet while the Mayan and Aztec peoples might have faced forced conversion,
they remained spiritually focused on Indian lords and priests rather than the
Spanish.9 Several Central Americans, in fact, approached Spanish priests and
asked for a conversion, turning into what religious scholar David Carrasco calls
"Jaguar Christians" and practicing a Mayan translation of Christianity into
understandable terms. With the disappearance of great Mesoamerican empires
and urban centers, traditional religious systems could not continue to function in
the new context of Spanish rule. Like the unending cycle that characterized their
religion, the great city states and empires that had once ruled the Mesoamerican
landscape transformed into centers of Spanish administration or silently crumbled
into ruin in the vast jungles of Central America, and the connections between
Mayan and Aztec faith and governmental rule became memories of a past age.
As the Spanish extended their empire throughout the Americas, the later
appearance of the British and French Empires made for the intermingling of
Catholic, Protestant, and Anglican traditions throughout North America. All
three European powers competed to spread their various Christian traditions
to the natives and to maintain the religiosity of settlers, goals they accomplished
with varied levels of state support and missionary activity.

9. David Carrasco, "Jaguar Christians in the Contact Zone: Concealed Narratives in the Histories
of Religion in the Americas," in Beyond Primitivism: Indigenous Religious Traditions and
Modernity, 128.

ALPATA: journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 7

Benjamin L. Miller

The mutually reinforcing themes of religion and empire manifested themselves
most strongly in Colonial North America through Catholic and Protestant
missionary work among Native Americans in the nascent territories of New Spain,
New France, and British North America. In these lands, three distinct European
nations asserted their hegemony through the establishment of missions and tried
to Christianize and Europeanize the natives with varying degrees of success. Not
content to be passive recipients of European religious beliefs, Native Americans
often resisted this missionary activity and, in some cases, continued to practice
their original belief systems underground.
Emulators of Francis of Assisi, Spanish Franciscans came first to North
America. Arriving in 1581, they built missions in the Kingdom of New Mexico
before the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, which brought the death of many Spaniards and
the forced abandonment of their missionary endeavors.10 Organizing the Pueblo
Indians of New Mexico into a theocracy, the padres gained status as "mighty
Inside Chiefs" and subordinated the gods of the native chiefs to the holy trinity."
10. Historian Ramon Gutierrez authored a significant study of this early Spanish missionary
activity in New Mexico. Although the periodization of Gutierrez's book runs from 1500-1846,
I will for the purposes of this paper, focus on the years from first contact in New Mexico in 1540
to the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. (See Ramon A. Gutierrez, WhenJesus Came, the Corn Mothers
WentAway: Marriage, Sexuality, and Power in New Mexico, 1500-1846 (Stanford, Cal.: Stanford
University Press, 1991).)
11. Gutierrez, When Jesus Came,46, 63-64.

8 ] ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010


The friars altered the native social structure to wipe out the Indians' core belief
in the "nexus between sexuality and the sacred."12 After destroying all Pueblo
religious objects, the missionaries tried to stop their open sexuality. In the end,
historian Ramon Gutierrez argues, before the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, the Pueblos
who pledged to join the ranks of practicing Christians and thus forsake their
native beliefs were not motivated by authentic faith. Rather, a combination of
fear and hope guided their decision making: the fear of what the Spaniards might
do to them if they resisted and the hope that by joining the religion of the friars
they would be able to partake of their technological and cultural innovations as
Striving to advance the cause of Christianity, members of the Jesuit order
dictated the story of conquest and conversion in New France from the mid-
seventeenth to the early-eighteenth century.14 Braving the danger of death by
disease or hostile Indians, these Jesuit missionaries ministered to natives who
resisted their Christian advances. Often seeking the ill or diseased for baptism,
Jesuits knew from past experiences that after baptism many healthy converts
often strayed from Christianity. Yet even if the natives outwardly demonstrated
a Christian faith, like European peasants of the period, historian Allan Greer
maintains, they turned to their own local religion in times of need.15 Their
traditional Iroquois culture remained intact as the native people, especially
women such as Catherine Tekakwitha, sought to harness the missionaries' "ritual
potency and supernatural connections."16
Around the same time theJesuits operated in New France, English Protestant
missionaries tried to impose English order onto natives in British North America.
During the 150-year period before the end of the French and Indian War in
1763, these pioneering clerics employed several new missionary techniques not
utilized by their two rival Empires. They first imposed a semblance of Euro-
centric order, before introducing natives to "the English art of industry."17 For
example, they introduced the natives to English-style farming. However, when
Indians resisted conversion, English missionaries turned to native children, trying
12. Gutierrez, WhenJesus Came, 74.
13. Gutierrez, When Jesus Came, 72, 94.
14. Beginning in 1567, Jesuit missionary activity in La Florida preceded their work in New France.
See Jerald T. Milanich, Laboring in the Fields ofthe Lord: Spanish Missions and Southeastern
Indians (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2006) and Bonnie G. McEwan, ed. The Spanish
Missions ofLa Florida (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1993).
15. Allan Greer, Mohawk Saint: Catherine Tekakwitha and theJesuits (New York: Oxford
University Press, 2005), 6, 106-107.
16. Greer, Mohawk Saint, 112.
17. James Axtell, The Invasion Within: The Contest of Cultures in ColonialNorth America (New
York: Oxford University Press, 1985), 148.

ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 9


to reeducate them in civility through the establishment of Indian schools, such as
the one founded in 1693 at the College of William and Mary in Virginia. These
English missionaries maintained two interconnected advantages over the Jesuits
of New France: a larger population that in turn aided immensely in the political
domination of the natives. However, when British missionaries advanced outside
of English demographic and political strongholds, their missionary successes fell
far short of French efforts, especially along the southern border of New France
and New England."1
The three colonialpowers that actively sought to convert the natives ofNorth
America worked within three hegemonic spheres, which in the case of France
and England overlapped one another. Inhabitants of borderland regions, the
native populations of New Spain and New France numerically outnumbered the
European missionaries sent to these areas and consequently the clerics could not
effectively quash native belief systems. Surrounded by a larger white population in
their strongholds, New England clerics had more resources at their disposal and
over time succeeded in their quest to "civilize" the native population according to
English religious norms.

18. Axtell, TheInvasion Within, 162, 179, 190, 219-220, 242.

10 ] ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010

Michelle Dissman

Located on the fringes of Christian Europe and with lands spread across
three continents, the Ottomans were uniquely positioned. The Ottoman
Empire's religious policies and interactions further complicated this geographic
circumstance and profoundly shaped the imperial structure.
At the height of Ottoman power during the late fifteenth through the
seventeenth century, religion occupied a pivotal role in the empire. As Islam served
as the primary religion, it served to both direct imperial policy as well as resulted
in conflicting views when confronted with a Christian Europe. The latter was
internally divided as a result of the religious upheaval that dominated much of the
Early Modern period.
Religion played a recurring role throughout this period. At the height of
Ottoman power, "the swift conquests of the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth
centuries established an empire that demographically at least was predominantly
Christian, which made it imperative that the authorities indulge these non-
Muslim subjects as much as doctrinally possible."19 The official state religion did
not reflect that of the population and made necessary accommodations in the
form of concessions to religious minorities.
As a result of these conquests and expansions, the Ottomans faced an
increasingly diversified population and as the historian Daniel Goffman observes,
"heterogeneity thus came to distinguish Ottoman society, especially along its
seaboards and borderlands where the exigencies of war and the opportunities of
commerce tended to diversify economies and throw together sundry peoples and
ideas."20 The Ottomans dealt with this diversity in a variety of ways that included
19. Daniel Goffman, The Ottoman Empire andEarly Modern Europe (New York: Cambridge
University Press, 2002), 170.
20. Goffman, 171.

ALPATA: a journal ofhistory, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 11


everything from incorporation taxes to forced enslavement of a percentage of their
male children under the system ofghulam.21
The status of the Sultan within the Ottoman Empire also took on a religious
significance over this period. The Sultan was the leader of the Muslim world
but often did not follow Islamic law.22 Some of the more questionable practices
included the keeping of a harem, and the tradition of fratricide, by which the
Sultan would imprison all his brothers and their sons until he produced a living
male heir and then would kill all of them to prevent challenges to his power.23
Though many of these domestic policies are oppressive and brutal by
modern standards, in comparison to many other Empires and countries in the
Early Modern period the Ottoman Empire was relatively progressive in terms
of religious tolerance. Furthermore, many of these policies allowed for the
preservation of the Empire. For example, the devshirme system provided a loyal
slave army and fratricide provided a clear chain of inheritance that kept power
concentrated and avoided many of the succession problems that plagued much of
the rest of Europe.
While the Ottomans were tolerant of internal religious diversity, there was
marked animosity toward Christian Europe. The Protestant Reformation that
swept across Europe in the sixteenth centuryis a clear example ofthis impact. As the
reformation took place the Ottomans' situation turned precarious as Europe was
divided along religio-political lines. While the Protestants disliked the Ottomans,
they found the Catholics more objectionable. This relationship was largely the
result of a power struggle between the freshly severed halves of the Christian
world. Though the Ottomans were a perceived threat to Christendom, Protestant
Europe saw the Catholic Church and the Pope as larger threats. The Ottomans
thus acted as a buffer of sorts between Catholic and Protestant power.24 While the
Protestants saw a deep religious conflict with the Ottomans, they "understood
that only the Ottoman diversion stood between them and obliteration."2 This
power struggle would help maintain Ottoman rule throughout the Early Modern
As the empire expanded, colonial authorities forced the Ottomans to develop
policies to contend with an ever more diverse population resulting in a number of

21.John F. Guilmartin, Jr., "Ideology and Conflict the Wars of the Ottoman Empire: 1453-1606,"
Journalof Interdisciplinary History, Vol. 18, The Origin and Prevention of Major' 1 *
1988), 730.
22. Cemal Kafadar, Between Two Worlds: The Construction ofthe Ottoman State (Los Angeles:
University of California Press, 1995), xi.
23. Guilmartin,Jr., 729.
24. Goffman, 110.
25. Goffman, 110.

12 ] ALPATA: journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010


systems to contend with this change. Ottoman Sultans had to confront their own
religion in their actions at court, many of which ran counter to Islamic ideals.
Furthermore, the Ottomans found that their religion put them in an unstable
position within the power struggles of Europe as the Protestants split with the
Catholic Church. Thus throughout the Early Modern period, when the Ottoman
Empire was at its zenith, religion played a major role in shaping the empire.

ALPATA: a journal ofhistory, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 13

Sara Reynolds

By the end of the nineteenth century, France had created an empire that
spanned four million square miles, contained 60 million people and consisted
of land in Asia, the Americas, and Africa.26 In Africa, France ruled indirectly and
avoided alienating the primarily Muslim population, which was essential labor,
by maintaining puppet governments with Muslim rulers. The French colonial
government also employed religious and racial ideologies to establish hierarchies
that emphasized the cultural superiority of Europe and French republican ideals.
In Algeria and Morocco, France used religion as a tool for building social
alliances between colonizing Europeans and Africans. In 1830, Algeria became a
formal colony and in 1912 Morocco became a protectorate.27 Berbers, the original
inhabitants of North Africa, and Arabs, who had settled in the region later, were
the two primary groups in this region.28 They had coexisted peacefully in North
Africa for centuries despite their differing languages and cultures.29 In an effort
to form a link with a portion of their African subjects, the French exacerbated the
differences between the two groups. The French, who saw the Berber population
as the descendants of the citizens of Ancient Rome, falsely believed that Berbers
did not speak Arabic, did not practice Islam, and were unhappy under Muslim
majority rule.30 Colonial authorities portrayed Arabs as violent invaders who had

26. DonaldJ. Harvey, "French Colonization," Discover France!, http://www.discoverfrance.net/
Colonies/ (accessed December 26, 2009).
27. David Robinson, Muslim Societies in African History (New York: Cambridge University Press,
2004), 102, 104.
28. "Religion and Racialization in French Colonial Africa," ,rr ., I i ,, r I /
html (accessed December 26, 2009).
29. "Religion and Racialization."
30. Robinson, Muslim Societies, 104.

14 ] ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010


imposed Islam on the noble and honorable Berbers, who were "less Islamic and
more civilized."3 In Morocco, France attempted to establish separate governments
for Berbers and Arabs. This attempt created tension between the two North
African communities though it was a failure overall.32
In Senegal, France implemented a form of puppet government and allied with
the country's Islamic leaders to maintain power. The French conquest of Senegal
began in 1885, marking the end of a line of Islamic aristocracies.33 As the French
established control, they implemented a system of indirect rule and allowed
members of the former aristocracy to maintain their previous authoritative
positions. The Muslims occupied a key position in Senegalese colonial society
because they grew peanuts and paid taxes. The French needed their labor and
loyalty to ensure peace and prosperity in their colonial possession, but many
Senegalese were unhappy with French colonial rule and turned to the Islamic
leaders as beacons of resistance. The French, realizing they needed an alliance with
the Islamic leaders to maintain order, brought one of Senegal's most important
religious leaders, Amadu Bamba Mbacke, back from exile in 1902, hoping to
bring economic and political order to Senegal.34 However, the people saw the
return of Bamba as victory over imperial authority, and France exiled the leader
once more.35 By returning and re-exiling the most prominent Islamic leader of the
time, France demonstrated its grip on power. The French allowed Bamba in 1907
to return once more to Senegal, where he remained for the rest of his life under
surveillance. On the eve of the Great War, Bamba released statements supporting
French colonial rule. The French capitalized on these statements during the war,
when Bamba encouraged Muslims to enlist with the Allied forces.36
France used religion as a political tool in several ways in its African colonies.
In Algeria and Morocco, the French colonial administration attempted to use
religion to create a society involving superior and inferior classifications. In
Senegal, France controlled the whereabouts of the most prominent Islamic leader,
Amadu Bamba Mbacke, to demonstrate its authority over the Muslim population.
France also avoided conflict by allowing former Islamic aristocrats to rule in
puppet governments.
Indirect rule and division of the population along religious lines is not
unique to France and Africa. South Asia is also illustrative of the ease with which
religion became a political tool with significant consequences for the postcolony.
31. "Religion and Racialization."
32. Robinson,Muslim Societies, 104.
33. Robinson, Muslim Societies, 184-185.
34. Robinson,Muslim Societies, 182, 187 189.
35. Robinson, Muslim Societies, 189.
36. Robinson, Muslim Societies, 190.

ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 15


Achievement of the secular nation-state form has become the goal of many
societies in the postcolonial period, but the interaction ofpostcolonial societies
with European governmental tactics, such as the use of religion for purposes of
social stratification and control, has thrown the viability of the secular nation-
state form into question around the world.

16 ] ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010

Anuradha Pandey

South Asia has an extremely diverse religious landscape that has made for long-
standing debates about the relationship between religion and empire in the
region. This overview will examine the approaches the British colonial state took
for managing religious identities. The contemporary perception of South Asian
identity politics as primarily divided along strictly religious ("communal") lines
obscures the multiple identities an individual may have as well as the long history
of relatively peaceful relations between Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists,
Zoroastrians, and Jews on the subcontinent. A resurgent Hindu nationalism
in the past twenty years that thrives on othering Muslims and Christians also
necessitates a historiographic intervention that emphasizes the complexity of
religious interaction, nationalism, and communalism in the colonial and post-
colonial periods.
The importance of Protestant identity to the logic of empire for the British
must be emphasized to understand the approaches of the British colonial state
to Hindus and Muslims in India. Protestantism figured centrally in the British
perceptionoftheircivilization and "race" as superior. BritishProtestantmissionaries
went to India and Africa in droves for what they thought to be a divinely ordained
mission to impose Euro-centric civilization on those societies.3
Anglican missionary activity was especially prevalent post-1858 in India.
Before the resurgent imperialism of the mid-nineteenth century, the British
had adopted a policy of noninterference in religious matters. In many cases they
also financially patronized temples, mosques, and other religious activities to
the chagrin of missionaries, who accused the colonial government of favoring
37. Hugh McLeod, "Protestantism and British National Identity, 1815-1945," in Nation and
Religion: Perspectives on Europe andAsia, ed. Peter van der Veer and Harmut Lehmann (Princeton,
N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1999),46.

ALPATA: a journal ofhistory, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 17


Hinduism at the expense of spreading Christianity. Their noninterference and
patronage policies earned the East India Company's Court of Directors the
reputation of the most anti-missionary force in India, as the British commercial
interests were dependent on the goodwill of upper-caste Hindus. The renewed
alliance between church and state between 1780 and 1830 as a result of losing the
fifteen North American colonies saw a resurgence of conservatism centered on the
idea of Britain as a Christianized Roman Empire.38
The religio-cultural logic of empire and the change in India's status from a
commercial to territorial empire changed the focus of the colonial government
from patronage and pure commerce to controlling and classifying the population.
Within this massive effort, the government emphasized collecting data pertaining
to caste and religious community. Orientalist scholars gleaned notions ofcaste and
ideas about Hinduism from ancient texts, and the British conceptualized Indian
society based on these texts. This is turn helped reify the caste system, which may
not necessarily have been as crucial to the social structure as Orientalist scholars
Indian civilization was constructed in scholarship and through government
policy as synonymous with ancient Hinduism, thus casting the Muslim minority
as foreign. To an extent, these colonial classifications served to create social and
political divisions along religious, linguistic, caste, and ethnic lines.39 These
definitions of identity served to divide the Indian independence movement along
different historical narratives. The classification of the Indian population into
religious and caste communities created identities tied to these categories that
allowed the British to employ a "divide and rule" strategy. A crucial aspect of the
logic of colonial rule was the application of indigenous laws intended to prevent
social upheaval against colonial rule, which depended on alliances with Hindu and
Muslim rulers and upper-class leaders. Religious and caste leaders influenced the
constructions of Hindu and Muslim civil law, which the British then employed,
though such systematic applications of religious law in civil matters had never
In tandem with these colonial administrative developments, religious
modernization movements provided the cultural capital for political engagement
with the British. Orientalist scholarship saw ancient Sanskrit texts rather than
everyday practice as the basis of Hinduism, which aided in the construction of
a semitized religion. The Hindu elite who wished to reform the religion with an

38. Rowan Strong, Anglicanism and the British Empire c. 1700-1850 (New York: Oxford
University Press, 2007), 56.
39. Peter van der Veer, Religious Nationalism: Hindus andMuslims in India (Berkeley: University
of California Press, 1994), 19.

18 ] ALPATA: journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010


infused Victorian morality and wanted to be comparable with Islamic orthodoxy
used this semitized conception of Hinduism based on sacred texts, individualism,
equality, and rationalism. Movements such as the Brahmo Samaj, Arya Samaj, and
Ramakrishna Mission focused on reforming Hinduism to be more aligned with
a Western rationalist structure of religion. In nineteenth-century-elite Hindu
thought, the Hindu imagination and spirituality were superior to those of the
West, while Indian civilization was also imagined as equally masculine to that of
the West on the basis of logic and rationality.40
The relationship between colonial policy and Orientalist scholarship
made for considerable intertwining of Indian nationalism and Hindu reform
movements, as ideas informing Indian nationalist sentiment were appropriated
from the construction of Indian history as synonymous with ancient Hinduism.
Islamic reform movements, by contrast, tended to dissociate from the Indian
independence movement. The contemporary communalization of Indian politics
is thus to some extent a legacy of British archaeologies of empire.

40. Thomas B I I... i ... Wave: Democracy andHindu Nationalism inModern India
(Princeton, NJ.: Princeton University Press, 1999), 68.

ALPATA: journal ofhistory, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 19

20 ] ALPATA: a journal ofhistory, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010


ALPATA: journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 21

Emerson Storm Fillman Richards

Every nation has endemic legends, yet some "endemic" legends are paradoxically
transnational; one such multinational "endemic" story is the set of legends
forming the narrative of King Arthur and his knights. Despite a specific hearth
in Wales, Arthurian legend has permeated European literature and culture. To
advance the understanding of the evolution of a medieval narrative tradition,
specifically Arthurian literature and the significant evolution of the figure of
Mordred to this series of legends, scholars must locate the differing concerns,
values, and interests of the peoples that created the literature. Identifying what
was culturally significant enough to transport the narrative from one society to
the next indicates much about the culture itself. The endurance of Mordred as
a character, as well as his defining action in Arthurian legend of slaying King
Arthur, indicates his social importance across time and geographical space.
From the earliest incarnations of Arthurian legend, the figure of Mordred
was a constant. His character has been carried from Wales, where he initially
and ambiguously appeared in the Annales Cambriae, into the national literatures
of Italy, Germany, and France.' Thus, despite the frequent characterization of
Arthurian legend as particularly English, Arthurian legend is more accurately
pan-European. Once Arthurian legend had diffused throughout Europe, authors
began to use the legend's well-known set of figures, such as Lancelot, Guinevere,

1. Written in 970, documenting the era from 447 to 533.

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AN UNHAPPY KNIGHT | Emerson Storm Fillman Richards

Mordred, and Arthur, in a propagandistic way. For example, a comparison between
the works of contemporaneous fifteenth-century authors Sir Thomas Malory
and John of Fordun shows the way in which authors elevated Mordred from a
mythic figure to an allegory for Lancastrian and Yorkist politics, highlighting the
omnipresent conflict between the English and Scottish. The English Malory's Le
Morte dArthur presents Mordred in a highly vilified way, whereas the Scottish
Fordun's Chronica Gentis Scottorum suggests that Arthur robbed Mordred and
his half-brother Gawain of the throne. A comparison of the use of Mordred as a
politically allegorical figure in Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur and Fordun's Chronica
gentis scottorum demonstrates the later importance that the effect of literary
diffusion had on the character. These texts, though composed contemporaneously
and on the same island, present Mordred in vastly different capacities.
This study, therefore, will consider the transformation of Mordred from
the fifth century through the fifteenth century through a comparison of
geographically and temporally distinct texts. The main focus will be on two texts,
Le Morte d'Arthur and Chronica gentis scottorum; auxiliary texts in use include
Gervase of Tilbury's Otia imperialia and Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia
regum britanniae (heretofore HRB), concluding with a brief consideration of a
twentieth-century use of Mordred and Arthurian legend as presented in T. H.
White's The Once and Future King. Above all, this study seeks to show that the
diffusion of Arthurian legend is more than a simple spreading of ideas or books,
but rather a transformative process.
Due to the temporal and geographical diffusion of Arthurian literature,
there is no one version of the set of events comprising Arthurian legend. Not
only did events appear and disappear in the legend over the course of time, but
characters also did not always play the same roles. To offer a synopsis of the legend
would indubitably neglect a seminal piece of Arthurian literature or betray some
cultural bias; instead of a complete overview of the legend, a summation of a series
of events usually associated with Mordred (primarily following post-Vulgate
interpretations) would be much more useful. Mordred was born as the result of
an incestuous liaison between Arthur and his sister. Arthur, upon learning of
Mordred's existence, commanded that all male children be sent to sea to drown.
Mordred, of course, survived and later came to Arthur's idyllic court of Camelot.
Joined by his half-brothers, all from Orkney (an island north of Scotland),
Mordred plotted to expose the affair of Lancelot and Guinevere. Thus a civil war
began, culminating in the battle at which both Mordred and Arthur fell. Arthur
fatally skewered Mordred, and Mordred drew himself upon Arthur's blade and
slew the king, his father.

ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 23

AN UNHAPPY KNIGHT | Emerson Storm Fillman Richards

As stated above, the Annales of Cambriae are the first historical text to
mention Mordred. The passage for the year 537 reads "Gueith Camlann, un qua
Arthur et Medraut corruere." 2 Despite the early dates appearing in the Annales
Cambriae, the actual date of the document's composition is almost 300 years
later, circa 954. In 1138, Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia regum britanniae
referred to Arthur as King Arthur, and Arthur had a greater presence in HBR
than in previous annals.3 In Geoffrey of Monmouth's history, the basis for many
of the later versions of the Arthurian cycles emerges, including the character of
The transformation of Mordred from an ambivalent name on a list to a villain
to a nationalistic hero figure exemplifies the directions and evolutions of the
Mordred story that are visible in the diffusion of the "matiere de Bretagne" from
its point of origin in Wales to other parts of Britain.4 As the Arthurian legend
spread throughout Europe, almost all of the knights underwent a metamorphosis
throughout time and space in which their characters began to reflect the geographic
and temporal location of and the cultures producing the respective narrative.
This metamorphic process subsequently bastardized Mordred, a status which
came both literarily and physically. The physical process of the disassociation
and reassignment of characteristics of Mordred from the cultural diffusion of the
Arthurian legend produced the illegitimacy of his birth and the villainy of his
For example, the first appearance of incest connected with Mordred's birth
occurred in Lancelot and MortArtu ofthe Vulgate Cycle in the thirteenth century,
where the "moral comment is curiously lacking."5 This shadow of incest connected
with Mordred continued to grow and mutated into having a greater degree of
influence in the legend, yet "the English were quite undeterred in their admiration
by the incest charge."6 In fact, Fanni Bogdanow, author of The Romance of the
Grail, stated that "the theme of Mordred's incestuous birth seems to serve mainly
to heighten the horror of the final tragedy."7 Malory eventually transformed
Arthur's fatal flaw of incest, which the French authors initially presented, into

2.Annales Cambriae, ed. The Rev. John Williams Ab Ithel (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, Her
Majesty's Printers, 1860),4.
3. The first significant mention of Arthur as a historical figure occurs in Historia Brittonum
composed in 830 by Nennius, a Welsh priest. According to Nennius's Historia Brittonum, Arthur
fought against the Saxon invasion, where he "was twelve times chosen their commander [dux
bellorum] and was often conqueror" and won twelve battles, including the Battle of Badon Hill.
4. This is a body of Celtic literature pertaining to Arthur that later influenced the French
5. Elizabeth Archibald, Incest and theMedievalImagination (New York: Oxford University Press,
2001), 203.
6. Archibald, 209.
7. Archibald, 217.

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AN UNHAPPY KNIGHT | Emerson Storm Fillman Richards

the mechanism that made Arthur the tragic hero. Arthur's knowledge that it is
his son whom he has both killed and been killed by and that it is his son who has
become the catalyst for the destruction of his kingdom acts in the very same way
as Oedipus's realization that his marriage to Jocasta has been incestuous. This
realization is the real tragedy of Camelot, not Lancelot and Guinevere's courtly
paramour. In fact, Lancelot's dalliance with Guinevere could have been permitted,
or at least overlooked if not excused, if Mordred and his faction had not forced
Arthur to recognize it.
The transformation of Mordred from a figure in annals to a villain and,
though briefly, into a hero, is exemplary of this correlation between geography and
the effects on narratives. After theAnnales Cambriae (written in 970 at St. David's,
Wales, documenting the era from 447 to 533) mentioned him ambiguously, the
character of Mordred became more defined in later texts. The initial depiction of
Mordred merely stated that at "the battle of Camlann...Arthur and Medraut fell
[trans.]."8 TheAnnales did not state whether Medraut and Arthur fell supporting
or opposing each other. In Henry of Huntington's Historia Anglorum, however,
written in 1129 (about 150 years after the Welsh Annales), Mordred was a
distinctly evil character. He "usurps the [Arthur's] throne and marries Arthur's
wife."9 Although Mordred may have been villainous since his inception, it is
not until later narratives that his motivations for such villainy are innumerate.
As with all of the figures in Arthurian legend, as time progresses, his character
became more complex.
By the twelfth century, Geoffrey of Monmouth's histories subscribed
Mordred's place of birth to the Orkney Islands, off the coast of Scotland. To make
a man of the North, closer to Scottish than British, a villain, a usurper of thrones
and an often incestuous adulterer with Arthur's queen Guinevere, is indicative
of the racism towards the Scottish and Pictish tribes from the perspective of the
inhabitants of the southern parts of British Island.10 This tradition of the treachery
of Mordred, as typically described in the earlier versions of the Arthur story,
continued until the legend diffused to Scotland and Scottish authors re-interpreted
the legend in the fourteenth century; Mordred, in the hands of Scottish authors,
was transformed from a villainous usurper into a wronged hero. In Chronicagentis
Scotorum, attributed to John of Fordun in the mid- to late-fourteenth century,
"Gawain and Mordred had a right to the throne,"" the logic being that "since

8. Williams Ab Ithel, 4.
9. Alan Lupack, The Oxford Guide to Arthurian Literature andLegend (New York: Oxford
University Press, 2005), 35.
10. V. H. Galbraith, "Nationality and Language in Medieval England," in Transactions ofthe Royal
HistoricalSociety, Fourth Series, Vol. 23, (1941), 113-128.
11. Lupack,41.

ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 25

AN UNHAPPY KNIGHT | Emerson Storm Fillman Richards

Arthur was illegitimate, Mordred, as Lot's son, was the rightful heir to the British
throne."12 In fact, Rosemary Morris purposes that "the whole tragedy, from HRB
onwards, hinges on the succession."13 While "Mordred's claim [to the throne] is
vindicated by the Scots," Morris suggests that this issue of legitimacy became more
important in Scottish texts than the interpersonal relationship between Mordred
and Arthur and the indeterminate sin of incest.14 Instead of moral transgressions,
Mordred's presence at Camelot became an issue of succession and transcended
into international politics. Fordun's statement is perhaps not surprising, given
that the author and his audience were likely Scottish.15 Thus Mordred was no
longer portrayed as a traitor, but rather as the party wronged by the usually heroic
King Arthur. The Mordred figure and his "rebellion" represented an assertion of
Gaelic nationalism during a time of English hegemony towards the North.
In contrast to Rosemary Morris's interpretation of Mordred's birth as a
commentary on Scots and rights of succession, Elizabeth Archibald proposes that
Arthur's incest with his sister, varyingly Morgause or Morgan, was less a critique
of Mordred as it would later become, but more a critique of Arthur. The French
Vulgate cycle was the first text to describe the incestuous birth of Mordred, circa
the thirteenth century."6 Despite an argument by Guerin in The Fall ofKings and
Princes, which states that Geoffrey of Monmouth "deliberately suppressed such
a major flaw [as incest] in his hero,"17 most scholars believe the Vulgate Cycle
to be the first work in which Mordred was conceived by an incestuous liaison
between Arthur and his sister. Though predating the Hundred Years War,
the French Anglophobia (and indeed, the English Francophobia) is apparent
throughout the literature. Archibald says that "the writer [ofAgravain, a section
in which Mordred's birth is detailed] seems to have several aims in developing
this story, and on the whole they are not favourable to Arthur."18 The positions
of Archibald and Morris on the purpose of Arthur's incest in the Vulgate cycle,
though seemingly contradictory to each other, are in fact complimentary. Morris
continues the argument that "[t]he incest is not used either to punish Arthur or

12. Archibald, 203.
13. Historic regum britaniae; Rosemary Morris, The Character ofKingArthur in Medieval
Literature (Cambridge, England: D. S. Brewer, 1982), 139.
14. Morris, 139.
15. This assumption is made based on the nationality of the author as well as the subject on which
the author is writing, the history of the Scottish people from a very pro-Scottish point of view.
( ~um may have found readership in England and France (due to the later
connection through Mary de Guise); however, it is of most interest to the Scottish people.
16. According to Morris, "the Vulgate Mort, which apparently invents the incest ... emphasizes]
only the son's treachery." Morris, 139.
17. Archibald, 210.
18. Archibald, 207.

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AN UNHAPPY KNIGHT | Emerson Storm Fillman Richards

to explain Mordred's wickedness,"19 and that furthermore, "[the author] does
not assume that because Mordred is born of incest he is necessarily wicked. Only
Mordred himself can answer for his own character."20
While Mordred was still a villainous character in the French Vulgate
Cycle, it would appear that the text leaned towards a more equilibrated doling of
blame-Arthur's offense was clearly recognized, and it was his "evil" that begot
Mordred's evil. In comparison, the later English author Malory redeemed Arthur
and condemned Mordred unequivocally in Le Morte d'Arthur: upon Merlin's
prediction of Mordred's birth, the sin from where he came, and his later role in
Arthur's kingdom, Arthur gathered all of the babies born within a certain period
(around the time ofMordred's birth) and set them to sea in hope of their drowning.
By murdering both his son and the other children, Arthur sacrificed his moral
soul for his kingdom's wellbeing. Archibald deems that "Malory is harsher [than
previous Arthurian authors] in letting all the other babies drown, which makes
Mordred's survival all the more miraculous."21
The transition from the medieval to the early modern period in the fifteenth
century was, for the entirety of Europe, tumultuous. The bubonic plague had
effectively reduced the population of Europe and created a newly emerging form
of European economics, ergo a new way of life with an emphasis on the rights of
the labor force. At this time, England was also at war with France and wracked
with internal strife.2 Essentially, England was torn, socially and politically, from
two fronts, a distressing situation that was reflected in the literature.23 Malory's
Le Mort d'Arthur stood on the cusp between the medieval and early modern
periods at the time of its publication circa 1470. Malory wrote LeMorte d'Arthur

19. Morris, 107.
20. Morris, 108. KingArthur is, through his classic sin, elevated into mythology. After French
authors added the element of Arthur's moral failing resulting in tragedy by the hand of his son, the
cycles took on more weight than earlier, folkloric Arthurian tales such as Culhwch ac Olwen. A shift
into the vernacular occurred from the high Latinate language preceding in the annals through the
Vulgate Cycle, and the content of the legend became classical and elevated. In this way, despite his
sin, Arthur's canonization finds a genesis. The Vulgate Cycle allows a heightened pathos for the
hero-king slain by his own son. Arthur became martyr-like.
21. Archibald, 212.
22. The Hundred Years War, culminating in the Battle of Agincourt, preoccupied England with
France. Meanwhile, the War of the Roses culminated in the battle at Bosworth Field, which
r,. ...r. i ...i i ;domestic turmoil.
23. SirJohn Fortescue's writings are an example of Pro-Lancastrian propagandist, polemic
literature (though not fictitious) that was appearing. Fortescue also appears to have had anti-French
sentiments, as he described why the French language did not remain the primary language of
-...1.. 11.. ... "the French did not accept accounts of their revenues, unless in their own idiom,
lest they should be deceived thereby. They took no pleasure in hunting, nor in other recreations...
So the English contracted the same habit from frequenting such company, so that they to this day
speak the French language in such games and accounting." John H. Fisher "A Language Policy for
L .. r, i... -, .,,, ""PM LA. 107.5 (Oct., 1992):1168.

ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 27

AN UNHAPPY KNIGHT | Emerson Storm Fillman Richards

during his interim in jail at the waning of the knightly era.24 Like many medieval
texts, there are several versions, and untiltl 1934, the edition printed by William
Caxon in 1485 was considered the earliest text ofLe Morte d'4rthur..."; however,
the Winchester Manuscript "bore a composition date of 1469."25
In Malory's version of the Mordred narrative, King Lot of Lothian and
Orkney married Arthur's sister, "and King Arthur lay by King Lot's wife, which
was Arthur's sister, and gat on her Mordred."26 Malory highlighted the incest of
Mordred's birth by ensuring that the genealogy of the Pendragon family did not go
unnoticed. Merlin's prophesy "that there should be a great battle beside Salisbury,
and Mordred his own son should be against him," spurred Arthur to issue a decree
similar to the biblical Pharaoh's decree upon determining an influx of Israelites
that "charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the
river, and every daughter ye shall save alive."2 Mordred, like Moses, survived this
infant annihilation;28 he eventually became a knight, and was generally disliked
at Arthur's court, but tolerated because of his heritage and familial ties to Gawain.
He became aware of the affair of Lancelot and Guinevere and began to plot to
destroy not only Sir Lancelot and Guinevere, but also Arthur and, thereby, the
entirety ofCamelot. In essence, Mordred was, according to Malory, [an] unhappy
Throughout the texts discussed above, Mordred's motivation for his betrayal
and subsequent destruction of Camelot is both varied and complex, and the
English and Scottish authors of the fifteenth century imbued the legend with
historical and political allegory.30 The historical interpretation is most solidly
defined, but a political interpretation of the text lends itself to a very conservative
reading, as the king is equated with and reflects the health of land: Arthur is

24. The jail at which Malory was incarcerated was in London. However, the author himself was
born Warwickshire.
25. Malory, vii.
26. Malory, 58.
27. Malory, 60. Exodus 1:22
28. I .. ........ r.... possibility. If Mordred can be equated to Moses, then Arthur's court
becomes comparable to the subjugating Egyptian royalty. Parallels can further be drawn in that
Mordred, like Moses, did in fact pose a legitimate threat to the respective kingdoms, which led to
destruction. This incident could also reference the Passover, where the Lord passede] through the
landofEgyptthis r. ,l.r ,1 .1 .... r: all the firstborn in the land ofEgypt, both man and beast;
and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment" (Exodus 12:12).
29. Malory, 682. "Unhappy", in this context and in other usages contemporary to Malory, means
unfortunate, rather than discontented. Archibald explains the context of this appellation: "[i]n
the Agrainvain Mordred and Lancelot meet a hermit who tells them that they are the two most
unfortunate knights it the world: Mordred is destined to destroy the Round Tale and to kill his
father the best man in the world who will also kill him." Archibald, 204.
30. M alory'sversionoftl ..... rl .... .... I .. . I. r ,ll rl . I n ..... r. ofthe French and
German traditions. His portrayal of Mordred is standard for a post-Viti ., r. I ... I version.

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AN UNHAPPY KNIGHT | Emerson Storm Fillman Richards

"king, born of all England."31 In allowing the perpetuation of incestuous origins
of Mordred, coupled with Mordred's Orkney birth-place, Malory wrote in a very
unsubtle statement that the Northern people are "bastards." The bastard son, as
a representation of a country and as a political character, will try not only to gain
sovereignty but also to usurp the throne. Malory's writing was both a strangely
prophetic and a very astute projection of Anglo-Scottish politics.
In the late sixteenth century, a century after Malory's era, the tensions
between England and Scotland manifested into the struggle for succession to
the English throne. Having gained independence from England in 1328, several
centuries later in the early sixteen hundreds, the Scottish kingJames laid claim to
the English throne. Despite Elizabeth the First's previous attempts to prevent the
continuation of Catholicism through the ascension of Mary of Guise, the French
Queen of Scotland, Mary's son James inherited the throne after Elizabeth's death.
Like Mordred and Arthur essentially canceling each other out in battle, the rule
of James the First annulled Scottish independence, while also extinguishing
the British royal line.32 The English Tudor line, descended from the House
of Lancaster, had ended because of Scottish rule; however, Scotland lost the
sovereignty that the Scots desperately continued seek.
Furthermore, the destruction of Camelot in Malory's text metaphorically
parallels and predicts the outcome of the War of the Roses. Arthur and his faction
represent the Yorkist House, and Mordred and his faction suggest the House
of Lancaster. Like Mordred and Arthur, the houses of Lancaster and York were
related by kinship, and at the Battle of Bosworth Field, the Lancastrians killed the
Yorkist king Richard the Third and won the right to succession. After Mordred's
warmongering and the smallish scuffles between Arthur and Sir Lancelot, there
was a culminating battle in the legend that parallels the battle at Bosworth Field.
However, Arthur's battle ended more bleakly than Bosworth: despite the seeming
stalemate resulting from the slaying of father and son, even this battle has a victor.
Mordred did achieve his goal, and while it ultimately cost him his life, he brought
to political light the affair of Lancelot and Guinevere which resulted in the
destruction of Camelot.
In addition to the varying political allegories attached to his character,
Mordred also represented a political ideology of progress in Malory's Le Morte
d'4rthur. Mordred labored to undermine the pinnacle of the chivalric order,
the Knights of the Table Round. Knights were medieval. Knighthood and the
methods with which they fought were archaic. Mordred destroyed this old-

31. Malory, 28.
32. James united the thrones of Scotland and England; a century later, Scotland became part of the
Kingdom of Great Britain.

ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 29

AN UNHAPPY KNIGHT | Emerson Storm Fillman Richards

fashioned political form with a very modern weapon, and a very modern method.
Therefore Mordred's politics were that of progress, whereas the system that he
brought down was one the traditionalist court of King Arthur.
Since the introduction of gun powder into European warfare and other
advances in military technology, and certainly since the Bubonic Plague had
previously decimated a good portion of men eligible for knighthood, the horse-
based culture of the chevalier was rapidly becoming obsolete. Therefore, this
period of progression away from the medieval period may seem a strange time for
Malory to choose to regurgitate the archaic, chivalric tales of King Arthur and
his Knights of the Round Table. By the time Malory wrote, the Early Modern
period had superseded the Age of Chivalry. However, this Early Modern, or
extreme late medieval period, was a time period in which England needed this
seemingly nationalistic tale of a brave, native king defending England from an
alien force, a vile, incestuous usurper from the North named Mordred. His battle
techniques are modern; "in the most unknightly fashion, [Mordred] uses cannon
on his enemies, even on Guinevere's fortress."33 The introduction of gunpowder,
both inLeMorte d'Arthur and in Malory's reality, primarily rendered the knightly
orders antiquated. Mordred's use of gunpowder to destroy the ideal that Camelot
represented was mirrored in the society of the late-fifteenth and early-sixteenth
centuries as firearms destroyed chivalry. Mounted attacks and steel armor were
not sufficient offence or defense against canons and gunfire.
Furthermore, Mordred'spolitical strategies also have anunderlyingmodernity.
In Le Morte d'Arthur, Mordred was acting as a Machiavellian Prince: instead of
relying on his heredity and aristocracy to win him support, as a monarch with
divine right would, he used the art of rhetoric "and much people drew unto him.
For then he was the common voice among them that King Arthur was never other
life but war and strife, and with Sir Mordred was great joy and bliss."34 For Malory,
Mordred was a manifestation of progressive politics, while King Arthur and the
court of Camelot remained conservative, archaic remnants of an antiquated ideal
of knights in shining armor doing good deeds, saving maidens and going on grail
quests. In a way, Malory may have been writing an early version of the modern
dystopian novel, showing how progress is destructive. The golden Age of Chivalry
and Camelot could not be sustained in the world, neither according to literature
nor shown in reality. Camelot fell to modernity, but modernity destroyed itself
with its lack of respect for history; yet eventually, even modernity will fall into the
past and be destroyed like its forefathers.
33. Erin Ogden-Korus, The Quest: An Arthurian Resource: SirMordred (Moscow, ID: University of
Idaho, 1999), accessed April 2009,http://www.uiweb.uidaho.edu/studentorgs/arthurian legend/
34. Malory, 707.

30 ] ALPATA: a journal ofhistory, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010

AN UNHAPPY KNIGHT | Emerson Storm Fillman Richards

While it is difficult to establish sweeping statements about any figure in
Arthurian legend due to the multiple versions and the differences between the
rendering of each individual within space and time, as the previous sections have
labored to demonstrate, to simplify Mordred as a merely malevolent villain is
uninformed. He is, in manyways, a tragic hero much asArthur.35 Mordred's tragedy
is that althoughuh Mordred starts life with a birth-story so often associated with
heroes, he is destined from birth (indeed, from conception) to be the villain."36
Yet in order to make a modern remark on the "redemption ofMordred," one must
move beyond the literature discussed above and consider material composed post-
Vulgate in which more ofMordred's story was formed and taken beyond chronicle
form. While authors made great strides in the composition of Arthurian legend,
especially in the twelfth century, and transfigured it from chronicle material into
the more "substantial" Romance, few of these Romances mentioned Mordred.
The complexities of Mordred in post-Vulgate literature, however, made him
more than a wicked antagonist. With the background that the Vulgate Cycle
provides, he is a product of his circumstances. From the time of his birth, due to
the nature of his conception, "Mordred is presented as an innocent victim, even
though he is destined to destroy the Arthurian world."37 Yet the representation of
Mordred continually changed throughout the texts: he was a villain, a hero, a son,
a nephew, an incestuous bastard, and an adulterer. Despite all these mutations of
his character, however, Mordred's final, devastating action did not change at all.
The French Vulgate Cycle, by allowing fault to be found in Arthur, unknowingly
began a process which author T. H. White would complete almost eight centuries
later-the redemption of Mordred.
Centuries later, from 1939 to 1958, T. H. White's The Once andFuture King
(which is based loosely on Malory) approached the character of Mordred from a
Freudian psychological perspective. White made the analogy that "Desdemona
robbed of life, or honor is nothing to a Mordred, robbed ofhimself- his soul stolen
... while the mother-character lives in triumph."38 In T.H. White's adaptation,
Morgause, Mordred's mother and Arthur's half-sister, was presented as more of
35. In classical literature, the tragic hero is one whose own actions bring about his downfall. Usually
the tragedy, and subsequent catharsis, is brought by an epiphany that the hero is in fact responsible
for his own "undoing." Arthur's epiphany of his sin and his son is more subtle than that of Oedipus,
as Arthur does not pluck his eyes and curse the day he saw his sister. He "indentifies Mordred as his
son, and swears to kill him." In this case, the tragedy does not come from the moment of epiphany
as in the classic myth, but rather it comes because of the moment of epiphany. Nevertheless, Arthur
is still allowed the luxury of ascension to the status of tragic hero: despite his transgression, Arthur
ri ri r I I .I .,r 1.111 k! 11 ofthe Britons, about whom r,. r .ll ... .andpoems still
composed, even in modern day. Mordred does not get this opportunity. The dual patricide and
filicide, coupled with the destruction of the kingdom and Order which he built, is Arthur's tragedy.
36. Archibald, 212.
37. Archibald, 212.
38. T. H. White, The Once and FutureKing (New York: Ace Books, 1987), 611.

ALPATA: journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 31

AN UNHAPPY KNIGHT | Emerson Storm Fillman Richards

a villain than Mordred. Mordred becomes merely "her grave. She existed in like
a vampire."39 Morgause had instilled in her sons, Mordred, Agravaine, Gareth,
Gaheris, and even Gawaine, a sense of necessary revenge against Arthur because of
the wrong their father did to his mother Igraine, the grandmother of these knights.
As with medieval Arthurian legend, the modern author White enhanced certain
aspects of Arthurian legend to mirror contemporary societal concerns. Mordred's
character extenuated the subtle difference between good and evil, a theme that many
twentieth-century authors and politicians tried to reconcile. White's Mordred was
very much conscious of his genesis and of Arthur's attempt to rid himself of the
potential embarrassment and bellicose dealings promised by Merlyn.
Like Malory's reiteration of a seemingly obsolete, "quaint" tale of knights and
quests in order to make a political statement, White used Arthur's Round Table,
an anachronism of many centuries, to remark on various political ideologies-
chiefly, fascism and communism, which were eminent concerns at the time. In
the fourteenth century, Fordun had written on behalf of the Scottish people, a
people who much like the Irish had become subjugated to British rule, and made
Mordred and the Orkney faction into Scottish heroes. In the twentieth century,
White reprised this role, equating the Orkney brothers to a "race, now represented
by the Irish Republican Army ... flayed defenders of a broken heritage. They were
the race whose barbarous, cunning, valiant defiance had been enslaved ... by the
foreign people whom Arthur represented."40 In this way, White continued the
tradition of reshaping Mordred and the Arthurian myth to exhibit contemporary
social anxieties into modernity. The tales ofArthur and Mordred are timeless, and
parables can be drawn from them timelessly.
Arthurian legend is more than an antiquated story of Good triumphing over
Evil. As in reality, there is no clear line between these two forces; even the Good
have committed sins such as adultery (Lancelot and Guinevere), incest (Arthur),
and murder (the Orkney brothers). Mordred's evil, the cause of the destruction
of Camelot and the end of King Arthur, is perpetrated by what would have been
the moral action had it been done by any other man. With his revelation of the
adulterous affair of the protagonists Guinevere and Lancelot, Mordred became
the villain. Moreover, in the consideration of what is Good and what is Evil in
Arthurian legend, if Arthur is Good and Mordred is Evil, then the fact that Arthur
is Mordred's progenitor throws both of these figures even more into an ambiguous
area. Mordred is symbolic of the "father's sins" coming home to roost. Through the
transition from annals to romance to modern novel, Arthur and Mordred become
"a discussion of the human condition."41
39. White, 612.
40. White, 519.
41. Morris, 107.

32 ] ALPATA: a journal ofhistory, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010

Lorn Hillaker

n late 1989, the massive popular support for change in Czechoslovakian life
forced the overthrow ofthe communist regime, known as the Velvet Revolution.
Raising a new popular awareness, numerous forms of unconventional media
stimulated public rallies against the communist government. This new domestic
media, defined simply as a means of communication that facilitates the spread
of information, did not exist within the government-censored print or broadcast
media, but rather found external routes of expression, such as discussion forums
at theaters, handbills, songs, and massive public demonstrations. The Velvet
Revolution serves as a clear example of the power and transmission of ideas and
their mobilizing effect on the public at large. As the noted historian Vladimir
Kusin states, "news cannot be stopped from spreading nowadays, and ideas
never could."' In other words, people will find a way to communicate regardless
of interference, government or otherwise. Consequently, through discussion
forums, unsanctioned writings, or other means, Czechoslovaks heard of the
alternate worldviews of the dissidents after the failed Prague Spring and many
became willing to demonstrate to effect change in their country. The outcome
was an unstoppable force for revolution brought about by the catalytic effect of
alternative means of communication, a new and revolutionary media.
After the Soviet Union liberated Czechoslovakia in 1945, few knew what
kind of government would assume power. President Edvard Benes had been in
exile in London for the war and had been working with agreements between the
1. Vladimir V. Kusin, From Dubcek to Charter 77: A Study of'normalization' in Czechoslovakia
1968-1978 (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1978), 321.

ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 33


Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia for the post-war era. The "Treaty of Friendship,
Mutual Assistance and Post-War Cooperation" of December 1943 was critical in
these relations as it established the precedence of friendship for future relations.
Benes looked eastward to the Soviet Union because of the betrayal of Munich
before the Second World War, and the failure of the Western powers to honor
their defensive agreements with Czechoslovakia against an aggressive Nazi
Germany. As a result of his overtures and the overall popularity of the Soviet
liberators in 1945, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (CPCz) began to
try to work together with Soviet power. In effect, Benes made agreements that
ensured the dominant position of the Communist Party in Czechoslovakia. This
culminated in the Government Programme of April 5, 1945 at Kosice, which
created the National Front.2
The National Front provided for the coordination of all political parties in
Czechoslovakia, and the CPCz dominated the organization. With this position
established, the CPCz moved to assert elective control and gained thirty-eight
percent of the votes in May 1946. In 1948, increasing pressure by the CPCz forced
the democratic members of the cabinet to make a desperate move and resign in
an attempt to cripple the government. The tactic failed. Benes accepted the
resignations as well as the candidates put forth by Klement Gottwald, a prominent
communist and the then prime minister of Czechoslovakia. This allowed the
communists to gain almost complete control over the government.3
Prime Minister Gottwald followed the hardline Soviet example put forth by
Josef Stalin and attacked dissidence by banning subversive literature in the form
of seven million books from libraries, putting approximately 130,000 dissenters
in prisons, camps, and uranium mines. Even after the deaths of Stalin and
Gottwald in 1953 and the ensuing de-Stalinization campaign conducted by Nikita
Khrushchev, First Secretary Antonin Novotny and President Antonin Zipotocky
continued the harsh policies of Gottwald. At this time, the intelligentsia, such as
writers Jaroslav Seifert and Frantisek Hrubin, wrote about abuses under Gottwald
and asked for additional freedom. Demonstratively, the Czechoslovak Union of
Writers, the Party controlled writers union, expelled them. Consequently, silence
continued concerning the violent repressions of the Gottwald regime throughout
the attempted liberalization of Khrushchev. Czechoslovakia adopted a new
Constitution in 1960 that renamed the nation the Czechoslovakia Socialist
Republic and introduced a new article that identified the CPCz as the "leading

2. Hans Renner, A History ofCzechoslovakia since 1945, trans. Evelien Hurst-Buist (London:
Routledge, 1989), 1-5.
3. Renner, 5-9.

34 ] ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010


force in society and the state," further emphasizing the CPCz's complete control
of politics in Czechoslovakia.4
By 1967 the policies of Novotny had grown significantly unpopular,
as evidenced by an increasing opposition from communist intellectuals and
students. This opposition reached a climax when students demonstrated in 1967
and suffered vicious repression. Following this episode, the press and the general
population grew more critical of the government's reaction. While the protests
failed, discontent led to opposition to Novotny within the party, and the CPCz
voted him out as First Secretary onJanuary 5, 1968, replacing him with Alexander
Dubcek on January 5, 1968.5
Due to his appearance as a moderate in the CPCz camp, the party selected
Alexander Dubcek as First Secretary. He inherited a confused party unaware
of the dealings and power struggles in its own higher circles. Consequently,
there was no unified position or direction within the CPCz. Strict communist
oversight declined and the nation began to get increasingly progressive. The
conflicting viewpoints from the reformer camp (Dubcek) and the anti-reform
camp (Novotnj) confused the populace, and the criticism of these groups towards
each other allowed the general public to express its opinion. Novotny had an
increasingly weak position, and the reformers were able to capitalize on this.6
In March 1968, events outpaced government control. Censorship was
essentially ended in March and readership in Prague went from 118,000
newspaper subscribers in January 1968 to 557,000 in March 1968 as the media
grew increasingly radicalized and democratic. In a poll conducted in July, seventy-
seven percent of the population wanted an opposition party. Though the people
of Czechoslovakia were outpacing the government in terms of reform, Dubcek
and others produced a document of reform known as the Action Programme of
the CPCz in April 1968. This document identified the problems of the actions
committed bythe party in past, called for greater autonomyfor social organizations
outside the party, and advocated free speech, economic reform, and free assembly.
The Action Programme was a tremendous break from the CPCz's previous
Stalinist policies and though many people did not approve of its concessions, it
was still largely well received.7 In the end, however, it reformed too little for the
people, and far too much for Moscow.
By 1968 the era of Nikita Khrushchev and his reforms had ended and the
Soviet Union was under the control of the more hardline Leonid Brezhnev.
Brezhnev strongly disliked the reformist tendencies of the Dubcek government
4. Renner, 33.
5. Renner, 37-49.
6. Renner, 49-52.
7. Renner, 55-63.

ALPATA: a journal ofhistory, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 35


and attempted to put pressure on the Czechoslovaks throughout the Prague Spring.
After much posturing, five Warsaw Pact countries invaded Czechoslovakia on the
twentieth of August 1968.8 With that, the Prague Spring and its reform ended.
The failure of the Prague Spring and the invasion of the Warsaw Pact
countries "ended the optimum chance for a fundamental reform of a socialist
regime and started the long process of the decay of communism that was to
culminate in the Velvet Revolution."9 To bring Czechoslovakia back into the fold
of the communist bloc, a policy of "normalization" began. It controlled the spread
of ideas viciously, seriously restricted the activities of intellectuals, and expelled
approximately 70,000 members from the CPCz. The consequence of the isolation
ofthe intellectuals and normalization's harshness was the emergence ofdissidence.
Dissidents varied, but intellectuals who had been blacklisted, as well as some
nonconformists in the youth counterculture, typically made up the majority.10
Dissidents like writers, literary critics, and intellectuals refused to accept the
communist party system in their country. Individuals were able to get together
and form groups such as Charter 77 and the Committee to Defend the Unjustly
Prosecuted (VONS) as alternatives to conformity in the communist system.
Though they numbered only about one thousand members in a population of
fifteen million, these two groups remained important as a refuge for independent
thought and ideas." Dissidents worked "to create a community of people who live
in truth," and thereby prevented the total victory of the communist monolith.12
Written in January 1977, Charter 77 outlined the desires of its signatories,
including free expression, the right to education, and the preservation of human
and civil rights. The authors did not want a solely political document; rather they
desired to have a set of ideals that could transcend politics and thereby be more
acceptable to the government.'3 To that end, Charter 77 organizers delivered it
to the Government, the Federal Assembly, and the Czechoslovak Press Agency
to allow for its spread and consideration. Unfortunately for dissidents, police
confiscated it prior to delivery, and its 243 signees were subject to government
reprisal. Despite the government's attempt at suppression, Charter 77 gained
additional signees, over 800 by the end of 1977 alone.14 The reach of the charter
8. Renner,71-2.
9. Bernard Wheaton and Zdenek Kovan, The Velvet Revolution: Czechoslovakia, 1988-1991
(Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1992), 3.
10. Wheaton and Kovan, 6-11.
11. Robin H. E. Shepherd, Czechoslovakia: The Velvet Revolution andBeyond (New York: St.
Martin's Press, Inc., 2000), 31-33.
12. Aviezer Tucker, The Philosophy andPolitics ofCzech DissidenceFrom Patocka to Havel
,I ,.rr I ..... 1 Penn.: U niversityol .rr ...... I, ,. _)00), 116.
13. Kusin, 306-9.
14. Kusin, 305.

36 ] ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010


continued to expand throughout the communist era as activists added an
additional 340 documents to the original charter by 1987.'5
Clearly, dissident groups existed and had ideas contrary to the rigid mold of
the communist system, but what is less obvious is whether or not the activities of
groups such as Charter 77 had an appreciable impact on society. The first aspect
that one must consider is the government response to dissident publications such
as this one. The communist government reacted strongly against the Charter,
and reacted in the press and with the creation of an Anti-Charter that was
published in the government-controlled newspaper Rude Prdvo, stating, "Let us
say it loud and clear to friend and foe alike: our press is not a mouth piece of the
reactionaries." The party's attempt to marginalize the Charter through publicity
backfired. In fact, press campaigns actually increased public awareness of the
Charter and the subterfuge of the Anti-Charter, which produced far too many
signatures to be credible.16 In the words of one historian concerning Charter 77,
"just about everyone knew of its existence and had at least an idea of what it was
about."1 More importantly, the Charter provided an alternative world view to the
Marxist-Leninist views of the state, and existed as "a standing 'appeal' to citizens
to do something and had created a 'space' for developing independent culture,"
and a testament to the will of some Czechoslovaks to not compromise their beliefs
under communism.'8
The acts and writings of dissenters such as the signees of Charter 77, with
influential members that included playwright Vaclav Havel, were significant
to the Velvet Revolution. The Prague Spring had flared up and died, but from
1977 on, the members of Charter 77 and other dissident groups acted as a beacon
for the people, an example that they would later emulate en masse. These large
groups were not the only dissenters; there existed other, less formal, avenues for
disagreement with the communist government, and many other Czechoslovaks
took this path.
The majority of the populace remained uninvolved in Charter 77, VONS, or
any other widely known dissident group; however, communication and the spread
of media through more secretive paths existed, the most famous and prevalent
being Samizdat. Samizdat was "the distribution of uncensored writings on one's
own, without the medium of a publishing house and without the permission of
the authorities."19 This could take numerous forms, including books, poems,
15. H.Gordon 1.i11 . andan IndependentSociety in Central and Eastern Europe
(Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1989), 47.
16. Kusin, 315.
17. Kusin, 318.
-1 ., ... 54 .
1' 1. .. .

ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 37


advertisements, newspapers, and historical essays. Charter 77 even had its own
circulating Samizdat publication: the Informace o Charte or Infoch.20 Samizdat
was the most common media form of free expression and from 1972 to 1989
produced some 800 to 1,000 books.21
Some statistics are helpful in understanding the prevalence of Samizdat in
Czechoslovak society. These numbers come with a significant caveat; the results
are from mostly non-party members living in three cities, Prague, Brno, and
Bratislava. However, they remain interesting in that they represent the proportion
of society that disagreed with the communist government ideology. At the time
of the study, 1986, seventy-seven percent of those polled said they had seen and
read Samizdat, with thirty-one percent reporting themselves as regular readers.
Approximately sixty-four percent of the respondents stated they had participated
in some form of independent activity, varying from attending a private film
showing to participation in Charter 77.22 Obviously, this sample is biased, but
it speaks to the pervasiveness of dissident media and ideas among non-party
Forms of dissident activity and communication existed beyond Samizdat as
well. For instance, many students rejected from universities for dissident political
views learned from scholars like Julius Tomin independently in apartments
at gatherings for individuals who desired to learn despite their denial from
universities. Others could attend theater in the Living Room Theater of Vlasta
Chramostovi. And many young people in the counterculture gained exposure
to alternative ideas through mediums such as banned and foreign videos and
cassettes of music by artists such as the Plastic People of the Universe.23 Though
not in the mass media, independent activity manifested in various media forms
and communication was able to establish a state of mind free from the dogmatic
principles ofthe communist government in Czechoslovakia. This limited freedom
waited to burst from its restraints at the next opportunity, and in 1989 when
students demonstrated, the people were ready to respond.
Several different youth and student organizations were active in the time
directly preceding the Velvet Revolution, and their machinations have a clear link
to the later, more famous demonstration of November 17, 1989. Youth and student
organizations, such as the Independent Peace Association, Czech Children, and
the Independent Union of Students (STUHA), were all instrumental in bringing
youth demands before the public eye. Though not always widely known, the

20. Killing, 47.
21. Killing, 75.
_ I., 1,,,. 93-97.
23. Killing, 78-80.

38 ] ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010


youth formed several dissident groups and provided an open and direct criticism
of communist policies. When the Independent Peace Association and the Czech
Children demonstrated on August 21, 1988, they represented a move from smaller
dissident activity in to a much more serious and open act against the communist
regime.24 In STUHA, the desires of the student dissidents found an outlet in the
form of coordination for the future and more prominent actions via networking
between different students and faculties.2 As its founding document, STUHA:
The Origin of the Independent Union of Students, stated, STUHA sought "the
publication of our own magazine, the organization of demonstration ...and the
expression of students' attitudes on international and domestic affairs." Perhaps
the most important document that the student movement published prior to
November 17was Several Sentences. This document told the government that "the
time has come for real and substantial changes in the system," beginning "with a
new constitution and ending with economic reform."26 These episodes may have
been lost without the stunning events that followed soon after them, but theywere
important in their own right. They laid the groundwork for student organization
and communication, and consequently the beginning of the revolution.
On November 17, 1989, approximately 15,000 students started marching
towards Wenceslas Square in the heart of Prague to commemorate the death of
students who had protested against the Nazi regime duringits occupation. Though
only planned to include 2,000 to 4,000 students initially, the demonstration
grew en route to the square from the initial 15,000 to approximately 55,000
marchers. When the demonstrators learned that police were monitoring them in
preparation to end the protest, the crowd's animosity reached a fever pitch. Chants
such as "REAL dialogue" and "Free elections" echoed from the crowd. When
riot police confronted the crowd, it stopped and told the police of its non-violent
intentions. A standoff ensued until finally the police brutally dispersed the crowd
by isolating one group and beating many until they escaped through a narrow gap
in the police lines.2 When interviewed, Jifi Pec, a recent graduate from college
in Prague, confirmed that the government used the television to document the
demonstration, but only as a small incident that the police stopped. Only later,
Mr. Pe6 heard from actors and students of the size of the demonstration and of
its brutal repression.28 In fact, the official media response seen through the party

24. Owen V. Johnson, Mass Media and the Velvet Revolution, in Media and Revolution: comparative
perspectives, ed.Jeremy D. Popkin (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1995), 162-172.
25. Wheaton and Kovan, 39-41.
26. Wheaton and Kovan, 196-197.
27. Wheaton and Kovan, 41-44.
28. Jiri Pec, personal interview by author, Prague, March 10, 2009.

ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 39


paper Rude Pravo was that there was a "breach of public order," with no mention
of the police action.29
The fallout from this demonstration emerged as too powerful for the
government to stop. Though the government-controlled the mass media, word
of mouth carried news of the revolution. Then, "from the street, the revolution
spread to the theater."30 The students started setting up a general strike for
November 27 in an attempt to gain widespread attention and expand the scope
of their actions. Also, film and drama students started making declarations of
"Don't Wait, Act" and expanded their ideas to the theater.31 The theater became a
place to exchange ideas, issue proclamations, and hold meetings for such powerful
organizations as the Civic Forum, run by Vaclav Havel. In them, actors read items
written in protest against the government to encourage others to join the cause.
Many theaters joined in the revolution, including the National Theater, the Brno
Ha Theater, and, most famously, the Magic Lantern Theater.32
Though actors had joined the cause, the revolutionaries (by this point no
longer demonstrators, dissidents, or even only students) still had a very serious
problem: the mass media was government controlled. To combat this and to
spread their message they continued to hold mass demonstrations throughout
Prague. Some described the remarkable feeling of something happening that
they had dreamed about for so long, and how thousands of people would ring
their keys to signal the end of communism.3 Groups would shake their keys and
cry, "The Last Bell!" or "Wake up Prague!" in a mass effort to accomplish their
goals and motivate themselves.34 Beyond demonstrations, however, a massive
communications campaign was underway, with many of the revolutionaries
struggling to get others involved. Their efforts included protest posters, handbills,
but also specific recruiting missions of students to go to workers and inform them
about the revolution.35
As the revolution gained momentum, the revolutionaries gained access
to more and better resources. For instance, the socialist paper Mladdfronta on
November 19 crossed to join the revolution, and began informing the populace
on the revolutionaries' activities. The Communist student union, SUY, joined the
anti-communist student activists, and brought access to items such as large caches
29. Wheaton and Kovan, 51.
30.Johnson, 228.
31. Timothy Garton Ash, The Magic Lantern: the Revolution of'89 witnessed in Warsaw, Budapest,
Berlin, andPrague (New York: Vintage Books, 1999), 81.
32. Wheaton and Kovan, 51-3.
33. Jiri Pec, personal interview by author, Prague, March 10, 2009.
34. Vendula Vesela, "In the footsteps of November 17," Getting to know Czech Republic, http://
ww I .. .......r i .. .rr.... r I... -czech-republic/in-the-footsteps-of-november-17.
35. Wheaton and Kovan, 69-75.

40 ] ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010


of telephones and a copy machines. Attempts to draw in workers above proved
fruitful as workers provided materials that the revolutionaries needed to conduct
their media campaign, including paper, ink, and other items needed for things
like handbills and posters. Similar to the theaters around the city, revolutionaries
turned to Prague's cinemas to serve as forums for dialogue on the revolution.36
The communist government was in serious danger of losing all credibility,
and despite its control of the mass media, it was clearly losing the communication
battle in Prague. As a last ditch effort to maintain their positions, communist
leaders attempted a new strategy based on isolating Prague from the rest of
Czechoslovakia. They did this by stopping the postal service from leaving Prague
and the showing of two different propaganda news programs, one in the city and the
other in the country.3 The tremendous pressure by the demonstrations in Prague
had already forced the media there to show broadcasts of what was happening at
the demonstrations. For instance, the demonstrators chanted "Live broadcast!" in
an attempt to force their word out through strength of numbers.38 The powerful
message of the revolution was even enough to convince the employees of the
Central Committee of Czechoslovak Television to force their boss to show the
demonstrations and foreign news on their network.39 The government's attempt
to limit the spread of the revolution was an utter failure. On November 23, 1989,
television stations broadcast footage of the demonstrations and revolution in
Prague to the countryside.40 The publishing of the Civic Forum's "What We Want"
coincided with the spread of the coverage to the countryside, and it outlined the
people's desires for change in the law, the political system, the economy, and more.41
It was a document that marked the end of the haphazard, yet effective spread of the
revolution. Political struggles and empowerment of the people through freedom of
expression still remained, but the idea and knowledge of revolution had spread far
and wide by the end of November 23. The catalyzing and mobilizing effect of the
multifarious communication forms had been successful in galvanizing the populace
in favor of the revolution. The communist government, including Prime Minister
Adamec, tried to hold on for a while, and even tried to compromise, but ultimately,
on December 10, 1989, a new and non-communist government took control.
Fittingly, it was dissident playwright and organizer Vaclav Havel who led the new
government upon his election to the presidency on December 29, 1989.42

36. Wheaton and Kovan., 56-69.
37. Wheaton and Kovan, 65-7.
38.Johnson, 229.
39. Wheaton and Kovan, 67.
40. Wheaton and Kovan, 80.
41. Wheaton and Kovan, 206-8.
42. Ash, 114-126.

ALPATA: a journal ofhistory, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 41


Media in the Velvet Revolution varied tremendously from handbills to
demonstrations, and even "missions." Though clearly broad, this unconventional
media took in a much richer and varied view of the spread of ideas. Media in the
conventional sense was reactionary, censored, and under government control.
However, the power of the demonstrations, the massive efforts to print posters
and handbills, and the "missions" sent to workers all show how ingenuity and
need combined to form effective alternate means of communication.
There were many other factors involved in the causes and pervasiveness of
the Velvet Revolution beyond the spread of ideas. This paper does not intend to
diminish the role of other potent motivations for change, including the rampant
frustration concerning a growing gap in the standard of living between East and
West. However, it does advocate a certain primacy to the role of ideas and their
effects on change. Economic forces, though powerful, would not have caused a
revolution if an alternate world view, or knowledge that change was possible, had
not penetrated the minds of the people. The Velvet Revolution and the steady
dispersion of ideas through unconventional mediums made people aware that
others were living in free conditions under a different system, and this led to a
recognition that their current system was flawed. Furthermore, ideas promoted by
groups such as Charter 77 appealed to the conscience of Czechoslovaks through
human rights, and were more unifying than individual economic concerns. Many
other historians argue that the policies of Gorbachev led to the fall of communism
in satellite states such as Czechoslovakia. While one is unable to deny that the
loosening of restrictions was vital to the success of the revolution, the spread
of ideas had existed long before the Soviet Union discarded those chains. The
diffusion of ideas meant Czechoslovaks were ready to act as the Iron Curtain
receded. Underestimating the great trump card of repressive communism, a
Warsaw Pact invasion, would be a mistake. However, even this drastic action was
no longer possible in 1989 with Mikhail Gorbachev's new policies. Furthermore,
media, in all its forms, spread the revolution in such a way as to make repression
impossible. After all, oppressors lose power when the populace will no longer
allow themselves to be repressed. The demonstrators and activists of 1989 could
not all be thrown in jail like the dissidents from the Prague Spring, they were too
many, and the Soviets no longer had the will to utilize their militant responses.
Consequently, the communist regimes were doomed to fall when opinion and
activities within their nations spun out of their control.
Media was the facilitator, the hope, and the catalyst for change. It brought
groups such as dissident playwrights and the youth counterculture together.
Though divided by decades and lifestyle these groups and others could recognize

42 ] ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010


the universal ideals in documents like Several Sentences. Czechoslovaks rallied
together after reading, seeing, or hearing of their country's young people being
brutalized for daring to protest the character of the regime. Communication
lessened the fear, showed what unity could accomplish, and illustrated the power
of ideas when the people are behind them. As a later addition to Charter 77 stated
so eloquently, "A police truncheon can sustain real authority only speciously."43
The people needed the communication of hope, and this was accomplished. The
truth did not need to be broadcasted through the television or radio for the people
to understand. They could hear the chanting of hundreds of thousands and the
ringing of the last bell of communism in their ears, and they knew the time had
come for revolution.

43. Kusin, 324.

ALPATA: a journal ofhistory, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 43

Janel Fontaine

On May 14, 1918, several thousand troops of the Czechoslovak Legions took
the entire city of Cheliabinsk hostage. They controlled the train station
and policed the streets. The uprising came in response to the arrest of several
Czechoslovaks by the local Russian Soviet in punishment for a fight that broke
out amongst the troops and newly released Austro-Hungarian prisoners of war
at the Cheliabinsk train station. When the Soviet released the Czechoslovak
soldiers, the troops withdrew from the city and continued on their way.' This
was the first armed conflict between the Czechoslovak Legions and the Soviet
government during the troops' transport across Siberia, and it was not to be their
last. The Legions subsequently took over other cities with the intent of ensuring
continued train movement towards Vladivostok. Later, the Czechoslovaks became
embroiled in the Russian Civil War against the Bolshevik government.
In assessing the tensions that led to this initial conflict at Cheliabinsk,
one must take into consideration many factors, the most important of which is
Allied motives and intervention. While tensions between the Czechoslovaks
and the Soviets certainly contributed to this uprising, historians have overlooked
the crucial role of Allied policy on the Czechoslovak legions, which varied from
nation to nation; only after analyzing all of the influences on the Czechoslovak-
Soviet conflict can the importance and significance of the Czechoslovak legions

1. Military Commissar Sadlucky, "Report on the Cheliabinsk Incident as Telegraphed to
Trotsky's Assistant Sadvokin," (May 18 and 20, 1918), quoted in Victor Fic, TheBolsheviks and the
Czechoslovak Legion (New Delhi, India: Abhinav Publications, 1978), 393-395.

44 ] ALPATA: a journal ofhistory, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010


in Allied-Soviet relations and the formulation of Russian policy during the Civil
War be understood.
At the outbreak of World War I, Czechs and Slovaks were two of the many
culturally diverse groups within the Austro-Hungarian Empire. To gain national
sovereignty, the Czechoslovak National Council created the Czechoslovak
Legions from Czechs and Slovaks in Allied prisoner-of-war camps. These newly
created armies would enter the war on the side of the Allies and, in effect, fight
for the creation of Czechoslovakia as an independent nation. The Legions were
sent to both the Eastern and Western fronts, and those who were sent east became
trapped within Russia upon its withdrawal from the war in 1917, requiring a
complicated initiative to transport the Legions from Russia to the Western front
in France. Tensions between the Legions and the Bolsheviks mounted, and after
the armed uprising at Cheliabinsk, the Legions forced their way to Vladivostok
by taking control of the railroads and disarming the Red Guards in the cities
through which they traveled. Some portions of the Legions joined with the
Socialist Revolutionaries in Samara and overthrew the Bolsheviks to create the
Volga Republic.2 Indeed, Bolshevik fears that the Legions would side completely
with the tsarists in Russia and the proximity of the Legions to the imprisoned
royal family were important factors in the execution of the Romanovs. The
participation of the Czechoslovak Legions in World War I also factored heavily
in the creation of the Czechoslovak Republic.3 The examination of the presence
of these troops in Russia at such a politically crucial time allows insight into the
establishment of the Soviet government and the Russian Civil War, a time period
that came to dictate Western policy towards Russia for the remainder of the
twentieth century.
To adequately understand this study of the origins of the Czechoslovak
conflict with the Bolsheviks in 1918, scholars must acknowledge the views of the
historians who have attempted to analyze the causes that led to it. Early historians
of the topic largely ascribe to either a Soviet or a Czechoslovak Communist
viewpoint; the former is best expressed by Leon Trotsky who heartily blamed the

2. Orlando ... People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1891-1924 (New York: Penguin
Books, 1996), 577.
3. Masaryk declared the independence of Czechoslovakia in Philadelphia on October 28, 1918.
The efforts of the National Council for Czechoslovak independence and support of the Legions
was a powerful contribution in the development ofWoodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points, the tenth
of which allows for the self-determination of the groups under the rule of the Austro-Hungarian
Empire: "The peoples ofAustria-Hungary, whose place among the nations we wish to see
safeguarded and assured, should be accorded the freest opportunity to autonomous development."
Woodrow Wilson, "The Fourteen Points," Speech, joint session of Congress, Washington D.C.,
January 8, 1918, http://wwi.lib.byu.edu/index.php/PresidentWilson%27s Fourteen Points
(accessed December 1, 2009).

ALPATA: journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 45


Allied powers for the crisis that arose in Siberia.4 The latter presents a similar
viewpoint, but more to the extent that the West abused the Czechoslovak troops.
Western historians began writing on the subject in the second half ofthe twentieth
century during the Cold War in reaction to these earlier views. George F. Kennan
in 1957 and 1958 presented the idea that the origins of the issues regarding
the Czechoslovak Legions most likely stemmed from Trotsky's appointment
to Commissar for War and his reevaluation of the transport agreement made
between the provisional government and Tomas Masaryk.5 He believed that the
issues of disarmament, travel delays, and the increasing Czechoslovak belief of
German domination of the Soviets caused enough damage to the Czechoslovak-
Soviet relationship prior to any Allied involvement.6
Historians writing in the next three decades continued with this line of
thought and overlooked the extent ofAllied involvement. J. F. N Bradley in 1965
wrote that Allied involvement was directly responsible for the escalation of events
after Cheliabinsk, and that it played no part in the building dispute. He believed
the Czechoslovak uprising was a spontaneous reaction to the events at hand, and
in and of itself had little to do with the larger political issues between the Soviet
Government and the Allies.7 In the 1970s Victor Fic asserted that Trotsky invited
the Allies to provide extra support, which therefore left the Soviet government at
fault.8 More recently, in 1989 Betty Unterberger included the Allies in the blame
for the turn of events, but limited this involvement to the lack of communication
between the Allies, the Soviet government, and the Czechoslovak National
Council and troops.9
None of these perspectives, however, truly takes into account the extent of
the various forces and conflicting political schemes that led to the grand confusion
of directives that contributed greatly to the Czechoslovak Legions' takeover of
Cheliabinsk. The actions of the Czechoslovaks, given their commitment to
France and neutrality could hardly have been the result of flashing tempers, and
Cheliabinsk cannot be viewed as an insignificant and isolated event. The Allies
greatly affected Czechoslovak-Soviet relations both directly and indirectly.

4. Leon Trotsky, The SocialistFatherland in Danger, ed. David Walters, in the Trotsky Internet
Y. I.. Irr1- .... r .. i, e/trotsky/1918/military/ch32.htm (accessed December
5. George F. Kennan, "The Czechoslovak Legion," The Russian Review 16, no.4 (October 1957): 8.
6. Kennan, 11.
7.J. F. N. Bradley, "The Allies and the Czech Revolt against the Bolsheviks in 1918," The Slavonic
andEast European Review 43, no. 101 (June 1965): 292.
8. Victor Fic, The Bolsheviks and the Czechoslovak Legion, xvi.
9. Betty Miller Unterberger, The United States, Revolutionary Russia, and the Rise ofCzechoslovakia
(Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989), 172.

46 ] ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010


The Czechoslovak troops were initially created to support the Allies, and
were attempting to cross Siberia so that they could be shipped to aid the French
army on the Western front. Therefore, the French, the British, and later the
Japanese all expressed an interest in the role of these Legions in Russia, in addition
to the desires of the Czechoslovak National Council and the new Bolshevik
government. These powers all sought to use the Legions for various purposes,
which consequently caused enormous amounts ofconfusion that slowed and halted
the trains and delayed the Czechoslovak evacuation from Russia by months. This
confusion reflected poorly on the Soviet government, which only helped build
the growing belief amongst the Czechoslovaks that the Bolsheviks had sold out to
the Germans, a belief partially initiated by the conciliatory measures of the Treaty
of Brest-Litovsk. The uprising at Cheliabinsk is therefore a direct consequence of
complications created by the involvement of the Allies.
The contention between the Legions and the Soviet government began
before events trapped the Czechoslovak troops in Russia. Indeed, it is more than
reasonable to say that the problem began with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, the
document that created the initial feelings of unease between the Czechoslovaks
and the Russians.10 While the treaty certainly engendered suspicion, this alone
did not cause the uprising at Cheliabinsk. The greatest stumbling block was the
Japanese, whose presence in Vladivostok indirectly dictated the additional actions
of Britain and France towards the Legions." Trotsky also remained leery about
sending the Czechoslovak army towards the Japanese should the Legions decide

10. The Bolsheviks, to be fair, had little choice when it came to the terms of a peace with Germany.
Lenin had led the Bolsheviks to victory under the slogan "Peace, Land, and Bread," and could
likely only maintain power if his promises were kept regarding a withdrawal from World War
I. Demobilization soon began, as did peace talks with Germany. However, Leon Trotsky, then
Commissaroj ...... ITi . 1.. i to sign on humiliating terms, and the Germans attempted
to force the Bolshevik's hand by continuing troop movements towards Petrograd. The Soviet
Government therefore signed the Treaty ofBrest- Litovsk on March 3, 1918. Russian Delegation
at the Brest-Litovsk Peace Conferecnce, "Declaration," http://www.soviethistory.org/index.
php?page=article& ArticleID=1917nopeacel&SubjectID=1917brest&Year=1917 (accessed
December 1, 2009); "Treaty of Brest-Litovsk," March 3, 1918, http://www.soviethistory.org/
index.php?page=article&ArticleID=1917treatyl &SubjectID=1917brest&Year=191717 moments.
(accessed December 1, 2009).
11. Leon Trotsky, The SocialistFatherland in Danger, and Kennan, 9. Trotsky places the date for
this event as April 4, but Kennan uses the date April 5. While the Allies required all the military
support they could get,Japanese desires for territorial claims in Russia were hardly secret. On April
4, 1918, Japanese troops landed at the Pacific port of Vladivostok, the final Russian destination
of the Czechoslovak Legions and the termination of the Trans-Siberian Railroad. The Japanese
motives are debatable, but certainly they would have no incentive to relinquish their hold on
arguably the most important railroad in Russia when World War I and the Russian Civil War
ended. Though the Japanese claimed it was in response to the murder ofJapanese nationals in
Vladivostok the previous day, the United States, Russia, and Britain all had doubts about this. In
response, fifty armed British sailors landed at Vladivostok the following day. Unterberger, 155.

ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 47


to turn against Russia.12 With the state of the Russian military at the time, little
could have been done to stop a combined Czechoslovak and Japanese force from
taking control of the railroads or even Siberia.
Given the ambiguity of the true Japanese intention and the unwillingness
of the Soviet government and the Allies to trust their presence in Vladivostok,
Trotsky deemed it would be best to reroute the Czechoslovak troops (who were
by this point halfway across Siberia) to the northern ports of Archangelsk and
Murmansk.1 However, either miscommunication or deliberate French and
British stalling created delays, and the trains carrying the Legions east were given
the order to halt completely on April 7.14 According to Trotsky, the Legions were
conspiring to seize the Trans-Siberian Railway to facilitate Japanese penetration
into Russia.15 In this respect, the Japanese became the wild card; no person or
government could be certain of their intentions or anticipate their actions.
The diplomatic confusion that resulted could only have fueled Czechoslovak
suspicions that the Russians had become agents ofthe Germans. Why prevent the
movement of trains towards a city occupied by Allied forces? While the order to
halt was soon rescinded, the addition of the Japanese to an already muddled mass
ofvarious political desires worsened an already tenuous situation.
The British largely exerted their presence in Russia during this period through
the unofficial representative of the British government, Robert Lockhart. The
government in London had not yet given the Bolshevik government dejure (or
even defacto) recognition and it therefore could not designate Lockhart as a fully
fledged ambassador, though his role in Russia was much the same.16 Lockhart
dealt intimately with Trotsky, and events forced him to play a part in the fate of
the Czechoslovak Legions. In fact, in many instances it seemed that Lockhart was
acting on his own due to the British government's seeming lack of commitment
to any policy in Russia. Lockhart's memoirs are full of instances in which the
British government refused to reply to his messages or deliberately left him out
of its plans. In one instance, a Bolshevik officer informed Lockhart that some
unknown British agent had that day demanded audience with Lenin as the
representative of David Lloyd George.17 This disparity demonstrates the extent to
which the British were operating as two separate entities: Lockhart and London.
This disparity only served to frustrate the Soviet Government.

13. Leon Trotsky, Answers to Questions put by the Representative ofthe Czechoslovak Corps Vaclav
Neubert, ed. David Walters.
14. Kennan, 9.
15. Trotsky, The Socialist Fatherland in Danger.
16. Lockhart, 199.
17. Lockhart, 273.

48 ] ALPATA: journal ofhistory, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010


With this communication difficultyin mind, it is no wonder that the situation
of the Czechoslovak troops degraded to chaos. London, like the Czechoslovaks,
required much convincing on the part of Lockhart that the Bolsheviks were not
operating as agents of the Germans."1 This suspicion had become a problem after
the signing ofBrest-Litovsk; the British government also believed that the Soviet
government would not make such concessions without ulterior motivation.1
London also mistrusted Lockhart to a certain degree as a result of the Bolsheviks'
acceptance of his presence. He maintained daily meetings with Trotsky, and was
even supplied a pass to the Party offices at the Smolny Institute, written and
signed by Trotsky himself.20
The British government in London believed it was important that the
Czechoslovak troops eventually traveled to France to fight on the Western front
for the allies, but it was also very interested in how the Czechoslovak Legions
could be used to the British advantage in Russia prior to departure. Some
historians have noted interest on the part of London in reopening the Eastern
front through the manipulation of Russia;21 many feared that with the Eastern
front completely closed, Germany and Austria-Hungary would be free to focus
their efforts on the West.22 With this added pressure, the French and British, who
were already straining against the Central Powers, would soon be overwhelmed.
To prevent this, London believed that it could send the Czechoslovak troops
back to the Eastern front, or keep them in Siberia to build a basis of anti-German
support with the help of the Japanese. London favored any plan involving the
Czechoslovak troops in Russia because of the ambiguous outcome should the
Japanese be allowed intervention in Russia.23 In this instance it should be noted
that London listened to Lockhart, who sent many telegrams insisting that at the
very least they delay any Japanese involvement.24 The Russia Committee, a group
created by the Allies to discuss the possibility of intervention in Russia, nearly
succeeded in launching a full-scale intervention in northern Siberia driven largely
by the British. The committee was only halted when Wilson withdrew American
support at the last minute, and the Japanese subsequently refused to participate.
18. Lockhart, 198.
19. Lockhart, 198.
20. Lockhart, 228-229.
21. David Woodward, "British Intervention in Russia During the First World War," Military
'I ..! 4 (December 1977): 171; Bradley 282. Woodward discusses the possibility of
inducing Russia to back out of Brest-Litovsk, while Bradley discusses the promotion of anti-
German sentiments in Siberia.
22. Woodward, 171. It was expected that Rumania would surrender or withdraw from the war soon
after Russia.
23. Victor Fic, Revolutionary War for Independence and the Russian Question: Czechoslovak Army in
Russia 1914-1918 (New Delhi, India: Abhinav Publications, 1977), 96.
24 1 . -

ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 49


It also became clear that, as Germany launched a new offensive on the Western
front, the Allies could not spare troops to intervene in Russia directly.25
The French held what was certainly a more direct sentiment, in that they
wanted the Czechoslovaks out of Russia and on their way to France as quickly as
possible. While internal political disputes and a strong imperialist interest in the
East occupied the British, the French bore the brunt of fighting on the Western
front and desperately needed fresh troops. On December 16, 1917, the French had
signed an agreement with the Czechoslovak National Council acknowledging the
Legions as an official part of the French army under the command of French and
White Russian commanders.26 In this respect, the French had a commitment to
the Czechoslovaks that the British lacked, and could only focus on bringing the
Legions to the Western front. While their lack of response to Trotsky's call for
support at Murmansk and Archangelsk seems counterintuitive, it can be explained
as a matter of responsibility. The French were willing enough to allow the Soviet
Government to supply and direct the Legions in Russia, so long as they arrived
in France as soon as possible. When it became apparent that in order to move
these forty thousand troops Allies might have to contribute supplies and ships,
the French reached a stumbling point regarding the extent of their commitment.
In the months after the armed uprising at Cheliabinsk, Trotsky convinced
himself that the Czechoslovak Legions had plotted with the Allies against the
Bolsheviks between the time ofthe Japanese landing and the events at Cheliabinsk.
Repeatedly using the term "diabolical," he pointed to the lack of Allied response
to calls for assistance at Murmansk and Archangelsk, where he wished to divert
the Czechoslovak Legions for their removal. He also announced that documents
seized from the Czechoslovak National Council offices in Russia, as well as the
testimony of the former Tsarist officers in command of the Czechoslovak armies
supported his accusations.2 Lenin himself had no doubts that the Allies had
purchased the Czechoslovak troops.28 AsJ. F. N Bradley points out, any payments
made to Masaryk or the Czechoslovak National Council were for negotiating the
Czechoslovak movement through Russia in order to get to France-the original
goal in the formation of the Czechoslovak armies.29 While certainly the Allies
did not support the Bolshevik government, the need for fresh troops in Western
Europe far outweighed the need to overthrow Communism in Eastern Europe.
In accordance with this belief, the British and the French maintained ambiguous
stances towards the new Bolshevik government. While they did not directly
25. Woodward, 172.
26. Bradley, 277.
27. Trotsky, The Socialist Fatherland in Danger.
2. 1. 76.
29. Bradley, 278.

50 ] ALPATA: journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010


support it, they did not directly conspire against it, either. In April, following the
landing of the Japanese at Vladivostok, the trains carrying Czechoslovak troops
were forced to stop. Trotsky sent messages to France and Britain with the aid
and support of the Czechoslovak National Council requesting that the Allies
take the troops aboard their ships at Archangelsk and Murmansk to prevent the
trains from coming to a complete standstill.30 The expected responses from the
governments never appeared.
As tension mounted over the limited progress of the trains, Trotsky offered
a place in Russian society for any Czechoslovak soldier who wished to leave
the war, particularly those who wanted to align themselves with the Soviet
government.31 Insisting he had no ulterior motives, Trotsky once again blamed
the counterrevolutionaries for convincing the Czechoslovaks that such offers were
representative of Soviet attempts to retain the troops. However, with the Civil
War building, the presence of forty thousand trained and armed troops within
Russian borders would certainly have aided in the construction of the Red Army.
While he only mentioned the possibility of the Czechoslovaks joining the Red
Army once in his response to the Czechoslovak Legions, he repeated his offer of
citizenship and a place in Russian society four times.32 Clearly he did not wish to
overtly recruit the troops to fight for the Soviets; this would only anger the Allies
and possibly incite reactionary Czechs to armed revolt against the Bolsheviks.
Nonetheless, it is reasonable to assume that Trotsky hoped the Legions would
remain in Russia and become a part of the Red Army.
Tomas Masaryk, the established leader of the Czechoslovak National
Council, conducted the original negotiations between the National Council and
the then provisional Russian government. He also holds some responsibility for
the escalation of events leading to the uprising at Cheliabinsk. Following the
creation of the Czechoslovak troops and securing permission for their movement
through Russia, Masaryk traveled to Britain and the United States attempting to
garner support for an independent Czechoslovakia and promoting the Legions
amongst the Allies. This meant that his continued calls for neutrality were heard
only from afar, which forced the Czechoslovak National Council to direct the
Legions without Masaryk's leadership. Indeed, the British representative in Russia
at the time, Robert Lockhart, described in his memoirs the effects of Masaryk's
travel away from Russia at a crucial time:
"How I wish today that President Mazaryk had remained in Russia during
this trying period...he would never have sanctioned the Siberian Revolt. The

30. Trotsky, Answer to Questions.
31. Trotsky, Answer to Questions.
32. Trotsky, Answer to Questions.

ALPATA: journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 51


Allies would have listened to him, and we would have been spared the crowning
folly of an adventure which sent thousands of Russians to their deaths."33
Masaryk left Russia in March 1917, five months before the Bolsheviks gained
power, which makes it difficult to say how he would have been able to ameliorate
the Soviet government had he stayed. In spite of this, Lockhart was convinced it
would have made all the difference.
While at the mercy of the various governments, the Czechoslovak soldiers
had their own loyalties and internal issues that must be taken into account. The
Czech and Slovak peoples had long wished for independence from the Austro-
Hungarian Empire and when Masaryk began to call for men to fight in a separate
army against the Hapsburgs, it seemed to be a dream come true.34 They greatly
respected the men of the National Council who had made the opportunity
possible, particularly Masaryk. Indeed, Tomas Masaryk had first proposed
the idea of the Czechoslovak Legions, and was singlehandedly responsible for
garnering the support ofthe Allies through his diplomatic missions in the United
States, Britain, and Russia.3
While the Czechoslovak troops remained in Russia, Masaryk held a policy of
strict neutrality:
"I issued orders to the effect that our troops were not to
intervene in internal Russian affairs (or we'd never get out of
Russia)...The reason for neutrality was obvious: the Bolsheviks
were providing us with food, or at least not holding us back
from foraging."36
However, the outbreak of the Russian Civil War made the delicate balance
between the Czechoslovaks and the Bolsheviks even more tenuous. Both the Reds
and the Whites wished to recruit the conveniently placed army of forty thousand
men for their own cause. It is important to note the lack of Czechoslovak
aggression towards the Soviet government, including the restraint they showed at
Cheliabinsk itself. At the railroad station in Cheliabinsk, a train of Czechoslovak
troops passed a train full of newly released Austro-Hungarian prisoners of war.
One of the Austro-Hungarians threw an object at the Czechoslovaks, and a
fight broke out that ended in the death of the instigator. An investigation led to
the arrest of several Czechoslovak troops. In response, the approximately eight

33. Robert Lockhart, BritishAgent (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1933), 270.
34. Jan Triska, The Great War's Forgotten Front: A Soldier's Diary and a Son's Reflections (New
York: Columbia University Press, 1998), 112-113.
35. Capek, 208-220. Capek discusses Masaryk in London and Russia. Charles Pergler, America in
the Struggle for Czechoslovak Independence (Philadelphia, Penn.: Dorrance and Company, 1926),
47-57. Pergler discusses Masaryk in the United States.
36. Capek, 229.

52 ] ALPATA: journal ofhistory, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010


thousand four hundred Czechoslovak troops seized the government buildings and
the railway station, and patrolled the streets.3 While the Czechoslovak troops
held the town, they insisted that their intentions were not aggressive, but only an
immediate response to what they saw as an injustice on the part of government
officials. Indeed, there were five Czech casualties, but none amongst the Russians
because the Czechoslovak troops refused to fire a shot in respect to Masaryk's
urgent calls for neutrality.38 As they withdrew from the city, they left posted
signs explaining their lack of animosity towards the Soviet Government; their
only desire was to free their fellow soldiers.39 After this event, the Czechoslovak
military command issued procedures by which the soldiers were to confront the
Russians at each stopping point for the trains. These plans focused on courtesy
(one states that any demands to continue the train movement could not sound
like an ultimatum) and stressed the need to avoid any armed conflict.40 Soldiers
were to keep weapons ready only for defense in case the Russians should take an
aggressive stance towards the Czechoslovaks.41
Years later, Edvard Benes, a member of the National Council and later the
second president of Czechoslovakia, maintained that neutrality had been the
utmost concern in the face of Russia's internal political turmoil: "Our Army was
solely on the defensive... The only correct attitude of our Army in Russia was one of
noninterference in internal Russian affairs."42 Benes's declaration ofCzechoslovak
separation from Russian politics in 1918 was not easily earned; Russian politics
put forth a great effort to insinuate itself within the Czechoslovak Legions. With
the Civil War brewing, both the Bolshevik Reds and the counterrevolutionary, or
Tsarist, Whites wished to win the allegiance of the Czechoslovak soldiers making
their way through Siberia. Bolshevik agitators were by far the most active; some
were Russians, but a large number were Russian Czechoslovaks, highly organized
and maintained with the unifying purpose of Bolshevizing the Czechoslovaks.
Funded in part by the Czechoslovak Communist Party in Moscow, they
distributed propaganda and portrayed the Czechoslovak independence movement
as a class struggle. An editorial published in December of 1917 claimed that "the
revolutionary struggle against Austria-Hungary can be victorious only if... placed

37. Sadlucky in TheBolsheviks, 393.
38. Sadlucky in The Bolsheviks, 394.
39. Sadlucky in The Bolsheviks, 393.
40. R. Gajda. "Plan of Action" (May 3, 1918), quoted in Victor Fic, The Bolsheviks and the
Czechoslovak Legion, 387.
41. R. Gajda. "Order No. 38/1", quoted in Victor Fic, The Bolsheviks and the Czechoslovak Legion,
42. Edvard Bene, In His Own Words: Threescore Years ofa Statesman, Builder, and Philosopher, ed.
The Czech-American National Alliance (New York: George Grady Press, 1944), 94.

ALPATA: journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 53


upon a broad base of social revolution."43 These agitators even went so far as to
devise a plan to hold all trains at Penza until they could sufficiently propagandize
each one.44 This plan centered in part on the observation noted by Strombach,
a prominent Bolshevik Czech working in Russia: "Slow transportation and its
continuous interruptions have a disastrous effect upon enthusiasm for France."45
The Bolsheviks believed that if they frequently stopped the trains or only allowed
them to move sluggishly, the Legions would forget the Allies and remain in Russia
to fight for the Soviet Government. Their predictions were a failure, however,
given that the exact opposite occurred when the Legions turned towards the
Whites. For the most part the agitators irked the Czechoslovak troops rather
than instilled them with Communist fervor.46 This is not to say the Bolshevik
Czechoslovaks were entirely unsuccessful: they did cause the desertion of some
150 Czechoslovak soldiers, though this number is far from the amount they
hoped for.47
There can be no doubts that the Soviet government gave its blessing to these
instigators, or possibly even directly supported them. This exemplifies merely a
fraction of the extent to which the Soviet government wished to manipulate the
Czechoslovak Legions. Particularly important was the role of Leon Trotsky. As
Commissar for War, he directed the movements of the Czechoslovak Legions
within Russia, serving as an intermediary between the Allies and Legions.
Trotsky repeatedly expressed his feelings of friendship towards the Czechoslovaks,
especially the workers and peasants who he declared to be "the brothers of the
Russian workers and peasants."48 Interestingly enough, Trotsky blamed many
for the Czechoslovak uprising at Cheliabinsk, but none of those at fault were the
Czechoslovaks themselves. To Trotsky, those at the greatest fault were the anti-
Bolshevik officers, referred to as counter-revolutionary agitators who convinced
the Czechoslovaks that the Soviet government had sided with the Germans and
was determined to forestall the Czechoslovak evacuation of Russia at any cost.49
Given the terms of Brest-Litovsk and the constant change in policy towards the
43. Victor Fic, Revolutionary War for Independence and the Russian Question: Czechoslovak Army in
Russia 1914-1918, 96.
44. Strombach, "Letter to the Headquarters of the Czechoslovak Communist Party" (April 3,
1918), quoted in Victor Fic, TheBolsheviks and the Czechoslovak Legion, 380.
45. Strombach in TheBolsheviks, 380.
46. Fic,xvi.
47. Fic, xvi.
48. Trotsky, Leon. The Czechoslovak Mutiny: Communique ofthe People's Commisariat for Military
S ed. David Walters.
49. Trotsky, Czechoslovak Mutiny and Answers to Questions; The Czechoslovak Legions were led
and trained by former Russian Tsarist officers. The Red Army had yet to be effectively constructed,
meaning there were no officers to spare. Also, Allied officers could not be removed from the
Western front to direct the troops through Russia, Kennan, 9.

54 ] ALPATA: a journal ofhistory, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010


Legions as they moved towards Vladivostok, it is understandable that the troops
began to believe that the Soviet Government conspired against them.
The Czechoslovak troops viewed disarmament as a direct insult that
diminished their autonomy and left them increasingly at the hands of the
Russians. When Masaryk first negotiated transport through Russia, the leader
of the Czechoslovak National Council was able to ensure in writing that the
Legions would retain their arms as they moved through Siberia.5s Soon after his
departure from Russia, however, the Soviet government began exerting pressure
for the Czechoslovaks to disarm and eventually issued a proclamation to that
effect. The Czechoslovaks had little to no interest in Russian affairs, and were
even under the strict orders of the National Council to stay away from anything
involving Russian internal politics. The sole desires of the troops were to reach
the Western front where they could prove their worth as an army and fight for the
independence of Czechoslovakia.51 The orders to disarm, which the Soviets issued
and repealed several times, greatly angered the Legions, and only further served to
convince the soldiers that the Bolsheviks had sold out to the Germans.
In conclusion, while the involvement of the Allies only indirectly effected
the direction of events, their presence was imperative to the accruing of distrust
that fueled the uprising of the Czechoslovak Legions at Cheliabinsk in May of
1918. While Trotsky himself had divergent plans for the Legions from those
established by the provisional government and Masaryk, the addition of British,
French, American, and even Japanese desires created a massively confusing
situation in which plans were created, changed, and changed again. The attempts
of each power to attain its own goals slowed the movement of the Czechoslovak
troops to a standstill, which fostered only dissention and mistrust amongst the
soldiers, who had their own desires. The separation of the Legions from these
political debates which directly impacted the speed and direction of their travel
only compounded these problems. Previous historians of the subject overlook
these important factors, seeking to place the blame upon the Soviet government
rather than the Western powers. Cheliabinsk cannot be viewed as a sudden spark
that ignited a dispute between the Czechoslovaks and the Bolsheviks; instead
it is the culmination of months of power play between Russia, the Allies, and
50. Capek, 229.
51. Dorman and Kolomensky. "Resolution of Commanders of the First Hussite Division" (April
13, 1918), quoted in Victor Fic, TheBolsheviks and the Czechoslovak Legion, 381.The resolution of
the Czechoslovak officers directed towards the Soviet Government expresses concern only over the
possible violation of the transportation agreement made between the National Council and the
Soviet Government. It makes no mention of internal Russian affairs, or even the events that caused
the delays in travel; it only expresses the vehement desire of the Legions to continue the evacuation
of Russia as quickly as possible.

ALPATA: journal ofhistory, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 55


the Czechoslovak Legions. Furthermore, the Czechoslovak Legions in Siberia
not only helped shape the Russian Civil War, but they also greatly aided in the
establishment of Czechoslovakia as an independent country at the end of World
War I. Allied attempts to intervene centered on these troops in Russia, and
shaped the way in which the West interacted with the new Bolshevik government
in Russia. This initial relationship in turn influenced and dominated Western
foreign policy throughout the twentieth century.

56 ] ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010


ALPATA: journal ofhistory, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 57


New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2009.

Reviewed by Matthew White

In a world of celebrity doctors with their own television shows, it may seem odd
that there was a time when people did not think much about, or of, the medical
profession or medical breakthroughs. In Picturing Medical Progress from Pasteur
to Polio: A History ofMass Media Images and Popular Attitudes in America, Bert
Hansen traces the evolution of the image of the medical profession and the effect
that image has played in American politics and philanthropy. Hansen starts his
story in 1860, a time when medical advances were neither expected nor noticed
and doctors were portrayed as calm comforters of the sick or negligent quacks.
With the 1885 discovery of a vaccine for rabies by Pasteur and Roux, this changed
almost overnight, creating the images and descriptions of the lone genius staring
expectantly into a test tube or of a fearless hunter conquering diseases and
alleviating suffering. After the rabies vaccine and a months-long drama of four
Newark boys traveling to Paris for the cure, images of the medical genius staring
enigmatically into a syringe or test tube, on the cusp of alleviating the world's pain
or curing a dread disease, became common. Subsequent breakthroughs continued
and reinforced this image through the late nineteenth and early twentieth
centuries, creating an expectation of continued advancement and routine medical
According to Hansen, in the early twentieth century, new media outlets,
such as radio, motion pictures, weekly news and photography magazines, and even
comic books, reinforced this theme. They helped to create a sense of inevitability,
even entitlement, to new medical discoveries. This expectation of medical miracles

58 ] ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010


encouraged unprecedented growth in scientific institutions dedicated to eradicate
various diseases along with the philanthropic giving and governmental support
needed to keep them running. This trend reached its zenith on April 12, 1955,
when Jonas Salk announced that his killed-virus vaccine for polio was effective
and safe. As Hansen notes, the image of doctors and medical research suffered
mightily after 1955 due to medical disasters such as thalidomide and political
debates concerning medicine and science. However, this image is still largely in
place and can be seen in the vocabulary associated with various "wars" on diseases
and races for cures. Hansen also makes an excellent case that this evolution from
indifference to expectation of medical advance was not gradual, but sudden and
Picturing Medical Progress joins a modest body of literature analyzing the
popular images and narratives of scientists and doctors. In earlier works, authors
such as John Burnham, Spencer Weart, and Marcel LaFollette have explored more
broadly how science popularization, including health and medicine, evolved into
an entertaining narrative driven by images of conquering genius/heroes and a
product and fact-based advertising strategy to sell the latest breakthrough. This
image came at the expense of a more nuanced and realistic view of scientific work.
Previous authors have found this descent into a new superstition in the twentieth
century with the first and second World Wars, the Cold War, and the rise of
mass communication. By narrowing the scope to medicine and health, Hansen
pushes the birth of this new narrative, firmly in place by WWI, to the nineteenth
While many books deconstruct and dissect the popular and professional
portrayal of scientific and medical professionals, most never step beyond the
bounds of the medium under scrutiny to consider how the public consumes these
images and how that consumption influences the professions portrayed. Hansen
pulls together numerous evidentiary threads to support his contention that current
conceptions and expectations of medical advancement were shaped through
the construction of a medical drama surrounding the rabies vaccine in 1895. If
there is one overarching criticism of Picturing Medical Progress it is that Hansen
focuses too narrowly on the medical research narrative and rarely considers how
this evolving image fit with other media constructions and trends. For example,
the media-created sensation of the journey of the Newark boys for treatment is
regarded as the beginning of a public's expectation for breakthroughs; the event is
not examined as one ofmany artificial media sensations endemic to the nineteenth
century. When placed in a broader context, the rabies story is less a beginning and
more part of a transition from pseudo-scientific stories like the Cardiff Giant to

ALPATA: journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 59


stories based on actual empirical science and real discoveries. There are similar
problems with the post-WWII period. Hansen also gives little attention to the
Cold War and scientific and medical achievement as part of a patriotic narrative.
Adding this broader social and cultural context would have made this large book
unwieldy, but without these connections, PicturingMedical Progress from Pasteur
to Polio might miss the wider audience it otherwise deserves.

Matthew White is a Ph.D. candidate in the History ofScience.

60 ] ALPATA: journal ofhistory, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010


Austin: University of Texas Press, 2008.

Reviewed by William Fischer

More than 130 years after his assassination in 1875, Gabriel Garcia Moreno
still remains one of the most controversial presidents in Ecuador's history.
Regarded by many historians and Ecuadorians as a conservative dictator, and
known for his strong beliefthat Catholicism should serve as the basis ofEcuadorian
national identity, Garcia Moreno has been the subject of dozens of biographies,
both hagiographic and condemnatory. Peter V. N. Henderson's recent book
intends to offer a more balanced view of the president who ruled Ecuador from
1861-1865 and from 1869-1875. Departing from the many previous biographies
of Garcia Moreno and making use of numerous primary sources, including the
correspondence of Garcia Moreno and others, newspapers, diplomatic papers,
and ministerial records, Henderson analyzes Garcia Moreno and his presidencies
within the framework of the "new political history" and state-formation. An
introductory chapter about Garcia Moreno's family and youth leads to a discussion
of his role in the 1859-1860 civil war that nearly tore Ecuador into four pieces.
Henderson then turns to Garcia Moreno's first administration, arguing that the
president was not strictly a conservative on economic matters, embracing the notion
of "progress" and free markets. Henderson also dispels the notion that Garcia
Moreno's state was a "theocracy," arguing that the president "wanted the Church
to serve the state, acting as a cultural ally, rather than be its master" (69). The
"foreign entanglements" of Garcia Moreno's first administration are Henderson's
next subject, which he uses to help illustrate aspects of Garcia Moreno's character
including his hot temper. Henderson argues that the first administration taught
Garcia Moreno to loathe federalism and municipal autonomy, which would be
reflected in the much more centralist Constitution of 1869.
Henderson describes Garcia Moreno's career between presidential terms,
arguing that he became the "indispensable man" in Ecuador along the lines of the

ALPATA: a journal ofhistory, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 61


oligarchic, rather than rural, "second generation of caudillos" in Latin America
between 1850 and 1930. Garcia Moreno's reconstruction efforts after the 1868
earthquake in Ibarra bolstered his national reputation and made him the logical
candidate for the presidency in 1869, which he assumed under a reformed
Constitution with greater presidential power. Henderson details Garcia Moreno's
efforts to institute universal primary education based on Catholic morality and
his expansion of secondary education. He also surveys Garcia Moreno's reform
of higher education and other cultural institutions. Garcia Moreno's decision to
dedicate Ecuador to the Sacred Heart of Jesus made clear his anti-liberal stance
and his belief that "only the Catholic Church could bind together people as
regionally, ethnically, and linguistically divided as Ecuadorians" (176).
Garcia Moreno's economic and public works projects, according to Henderson,
made him the first great nation-builder in Ecuador's history. His major undertaking
was certainly the road network that was built using mostly indigenous labor, but
Henderson also details Garcia Moreno's development of banks, his efforts to attract
European immigrants, and his flirtation with railroads. Unlike most conservatives
at that time, Garcia Moreno believed he could make Ecuador's Indians into national
citizens, despite the uprisings Henderson describes that were directed against Garcia
Moreno's tax and labor conscription policies.
Henderson's final chapter, on Garcia Moreno's assassination and legacy,
stands out for its lively and detailed description of the assassination plot and
aftermath. Henderson concludes that there probably was no military or Masonic
conspiracy involved, as some historians have alleged. Gabriel Garcia Moreno and
Conservative State Formation in the Andes provides an excellent overview of the
controversial president's two administrations and the challenges he faced. The
book is very well written and includes detail that attests to Henderson's careful
and thorough research. Henderson demonstrates that Garcia Moreno was unique
among nineteenth-century Latin American leaders for his commitment to a
program of Catholic nationhood. He also complicates the view ofGarcia Moreno
as a doctrinaire conservative, emphasizing that the president pursued some
liberal economic policies and generally embraced the notion of progress. As for
the framework of the "new political history," Henderson indicates the value of
the president's familial relations in his governing of Ecuador's disparate regions.
Henderson's contribution to the general subject of state-formation would have
been stronger if he had discussed Garcia Moreno's projects in the context of other
Andean or Latin American cases of state-formation. This would have highlighted
what made Garcia Moreno's efforts distinct from those of other nineteenth-
century caudillos or dictators.

William Fischer is a Ph.D. candidate in Latin American history.

62 ] ALPATA: journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010


A Comparativ History
New York: New York
University Press, 2009. WI, KLOOSTER

Reviewed by Joseph Beatty

T he Lisbon earthquake of 1755 seems an odd beginning for an examination
of the political revolutions that swept the Western hemisphere between 1774
and 1824. In Wim Klooster's view, however, the earthquake is a useful analogue
for the coming imperial crises-just as that event came without warning and
brought unforeseen consequences, so too the Atlantic World trembled under a
series of political fractures which were at once unexpected, unprecedented, and
unimaginable. While the revolutions in British North America, France, Saint-
Domingue, and Spanish America each arose out of unique circumstances, Klooster
argues that "they all created sovereign states that professed hostility to privilege" (1).
Despite examining dramatically different events in four separate regions, Revolutions
offers a straightforward, though multi-part, thesis. Very simply, Klooster disputes a
whiggish interpretation ofthe revolutions ofthe late seventeenth and earlyeighteenth
centuries that imagines a hastening cadence of democracy. In particular, Klooster
argues against the kind of Western European focus presented by R. R. Palmer in
his 1959-1964 series TheAge ofDemocratic Revolution-a focus that favors joining
the intellectual and political trajectories of Britain, France, and the United States
over those of Haiti and the Iberian Atlantic. As an alternative, Klooster argues that
the revolutions must be seen as highly contingent international and inter-imperial
political events that often turned into civil wars-none of which set out to create a
democratic society. To be sure, democratic reforms certainly numbered among the
changes that were ushered in during this revolutionary age. However, for manypost-
revolutionary societies, Klooster argues, those democratic innovations were either
limited, short-lived, or both.
Klooster proposes that "democracy is no appropriate prism through which
to see these uprisings," and offers declining privilege as an alternative (2). With

ALPATA: a journal ofhistory, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 63


its roots in medieval traditions of landownership and authority, privilege was the
long-established "organizing principle" of European states and their colonies. Prior
to the revolutionary era, kingdoms buttressed their own power by extending some
forms of privilege-such as limited self-rule-within their domestic and overseas
territories. Several decades of near-constant warfare in the mid-1700s, however,
drained the coffers of Europe's largest powers, leading those kingdoms to enact
fiscal reforms in hopes of recouping their losses. In attempts to draw wealth back
into their treasuries, the metropoles instituted new taxes, which bristled locals and
provincials, propelling the two sides down a path toward conflict. The ensuing
revolutions created a handful of independent states that "set about dismantling the
numerous manifestations of privilege, replacing them with a vast array of individual
rights" (170). While these Enlightenment ideals were only slowly and fitfully taking
hold in post-revolutionary states, Klooster argues that they successfully replaced the
privilege-based hierarchy of the old world.
Revolutions in the Atlantic World is divided into six chapters, consisting of a
brief introduction, one chapter for each of the four regional conflicts, and a final
comparative essay. Klooster's succinct prose concludes well short of two hundred
pages, yet an additional fifty pages of explanatory endnotes easily quell any doubts
about his documentary base. The chapters on the United States, France, and Haiti
present a clean and coherent narrative ofeach respective revolution, while the chapter
on Spanish America is slightly less so, because it tries to connect events in Argentina,
Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela within a single account. Still, Klooster succeeds in
covering all the revolutions in sufficient depth and detail, while maintaining sight
of both escalating tensions and paths not taken. Klooster's narrative is rich and
informative, but the highlight of Revolutions is the final chapter wherein he expands
his comparative framework.
Revolutions is concise and well argued, although some readers might not fully
agree with Klooster's emphasis on the financial origins of the Atlantic revolutions.
Economic and fiscal changes feature prominently in his argument and work to
connect a straight line between the Seven Years War and subsequent revolutions. By
focusing on imperial-level actions, Klooster is able to link the four events, but such a
view can divert attention from the individuals and non-political actors who actually
took up arms and toppled regimes. These criticisms are minor, indeed, and are not
intended to suggest that the book is somehow deficient. Revolutions in the Atlantic
World is well conceived and nicely executed and should prove to be an asset in the
classroom. Wim Klooster has presented valuable scholarship that is accessible to a
broad audience, yet is sufficiently detailed for Atlantic or revolutionary specialists.

Joseph Beatty is a doctoral student in American history.

64 ] ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010


Chapel Hill: University ofNorth
Carolina Press, 2009.

Reviewed by Scott Huffard

In a paradox that has long puzzled scholars, the supposedly pro-states' rights
Confederacy ended up with a highly centralized economy. In -I [ .1':. '. '
Confederate Economy, John Majewski explains the reason for this development.
Rather than explaining this historical irony as a result of wartime contingency,
Majewski persuasively argues that the antebellum visions about the economy
caused it to become centralized in wartime. Southerners, he contends, constantly
looked for ways to modernize and improve the antebellum slave economy, and the
state often became the vehicle through which such modernization could occur.
The wartime political economy of the Confederate state was the direct result of
a long-term effort to remake a Southern economy constrained by environmental
Before examining the ways Southerners tried to modernize their economy,
Majewski first looks at the question of why the Southern economy needed to be
modernized in the first place. Using statistical regression, Majewski examines
how different factors influenced the amount of cultivated land in a county. This
analysis adds a new twist to arguments about the exceptionalism of the Southern
economy.' Instead of simply blaming southern economic backwardness on slavery,
Majewski finds that environmental factors, specifically the presence of alfisoils,
1. Most of these debates center on the extent to which slavery warped the development of the South
or on the question of whether or not the antebellum South held capitalist values. Two important
examples of works that pin southern economic distinctiveness almost exclusively on the presence of
slavery are Eugene Genovese, The PoliticalEconomy ofSlavery: Studies in the Economy andSociety
ofthe Slave South (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1965) and David L. Carlton
and Peter A. Coclanis, The South, the Nation, andthe World: Perspectives on Southern Economic
Development (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2003).

ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 65


hamstrung the economy. Poor soils meant that Southern farmers had to practice
shifting cultivation, which in turn meant a high proportion of unimproved or
fallow land. Sparsely settled farms caused problems throughout the economy,
making it unprofitable to build railroads and providing the region with the
appearance ofbackwardness.
Majewski skillfully connects the numerical analysis to the actual words
of Southern economic policymakers. He utilizes the speeches, writings, and
arguments of men such as Edmund Ruffin, an ardent secessionist who also
worked to modernize the Southern economy. Some scholars may decry the narrow
focus on this small group of elites, but these influential men had visions that were
often translated directly into policy and practice. When these men looked around
and saw a landscape sparsely settled and underdeveloped, they looked for ways
to advance the region. Their solutions invariably involved the state. For example,
when it came to railroad construction, only the state could provide the sizeable
capital necessary to build railroads. Private investors would not put their funds
into railroad projects that went through large swaths of underdeveloped land, so
Southern states ended up funding a larger portion of the region's railroad projects
than states in the North did. Similarly, only the state could adopt regulations
opening trade and eliminating tariffs, two other supposed panaceas.
When war came, and the modernizers held positions of power, their
antebellum visions became a reality, and the state became heavily involved in
efforts to create a more modern Confederate economy. If there is any weakness to
this impressively argued book, it is that it devotes only a brief chapter to the war
itself. Historians interested in the intricacies of Confederate wartime policy will
have to look elsewhere, as Majewski is more concerned with economic ideology
than how that ideology played out in wartime. Leaders' ideology remained the
same throughout the war, but it is still somewhat unclear how the contingencies
of war shaped the political economy of the Confederate state. Future scholars will
certainly use Majewski's framework to probe deeper into the complex interaction
of ideology and contingency in the Confederate economy.
Modernizing the Confederate Economy may be brief, but it has a significant
argument. For one, the book should put to rest Lost Cause notions that the
Confederacy's leaders feared innovation and economic modernization. In doing
so, the book builds a bridge between the Old South and the New South and adds
to the findings of scholars interested in the construction of mythic Souths both
Old and New. These scholars have noted how the New South was constructed
on the back of a supposedly traditional and agrarian Old South.2 Majewski finds
2. Two works that explicitly link Lost Cause conceptions of the Confederacy to postwar economic
boosterism are Paul Gaston, The New South Creed: A Study in Southern Mythmaking (Baton

66 ] ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010


that Southern economic boosterism, a trait so often associated solely with the
New South, was not born out of war's devastation. Rather it formed a persistent
strain throughout Southern history. Instead of hewing to antiquated ideas about
the Old South, historians need to think more critically about how the pervasive
"Old South" label obscures significant developments in the antebellum period.
Historians have exposed how the fallacies and myths of the Old South were
fabricated to serve the New South elite, and it is about time more historians
follow Majewski's lead and uncover what else has been hidden by these romantic

ScottHuffard is a Ph.D. candidate in American history.

ALPATA: a journal ofhistory, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 67

Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1970) and Gaines M. Foster, Ghosts ofthe Confederacy:
Defeat, theLost Cause, and theEmergence oftheNew South 1865-1913 (NewYork: Oxford
University Press, 1987).


c. 1270-c.1500.
Maldon, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.

Reviewed by Reid Weber

WV hat identifies a geographic region in history? What commonalities connect
V the states,cultures, and societies ofmedieval Europe? David Nicholas answers
these questions by examining the numerous cultural and economic similarities
found in one such area stretching from London to Riga, which he entitles Northern
Europe or Germanic Europe. According to Nicholas, Northern Europe developed
its culture, law, politics, and trade locally rather than through Italian and French
inspiration, which he views as the focus of previous scholars (ix). He argues that
the Northern Lands developed a distinct regional association through the common
origins of its shared institutions and culture. Nicholas defines this area as Germanic
Europe in opposition to the Roman law and culture of Southern Europe. Rather
than trying to define shared Germanic qualities and race, a substantial part of
regional studies by historians such as Peter Moraw (1985) or Robert Bartlett (1993),
he focuses on specific traits such as law, language, government, and the economy
of the late medieval period that evolved on similar and sometimes intersecting
paths (x). As he pushes the boundaries of the theoretical region to the east and west,
Nicholas examines the complex relationships shared between peoples and states.
Nicholas organizes this study by examining the region through four distinct
themes. Part one presents the typical dynastic and political narrative ofthe numerous
states within his region. In the second part, Nicholas begins to engage with the
intricate details of the "bonds of community," in particular sovereignty, law, and
language (103). He emphasizes the individual components of the region with the
goal of highlighting the local intricacies of the region's identities, often to the level
of duchy and city. Part three analyzes the role of the family among the nobility
and aristocracy of the Northern Lands (270). The crux and strength of Nicholas's
argument comes in the fourth part as he breaks down the forces of urbanization and
the critical role of trade in uniting Northern Europe (271). His conclusion restates

68 ] ALPATA: a journal ofhistory, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010


the sophistication of the elements that integrated the various states and peoples of
the region (351).
This book is useful, interesting, and manageable. Nicholas provides an analysis
of the various regional cultures within the Northern Lands and treads a careful
path by limiting the number of examples from the available sources. The evidence
he reflects on is convincing, although hardly exhaustive. This theme could be
covered much more extensively for example by delving into the complexity of the
numerous legal codes, but by not addressing the entire body of evidence he makes
the work accessible to non-specialists. This work provides an excellent overview of
the late medieval North Atlantic and Baltic World and provides a useful link of
communication between the numerous historical fields mingled in the book.
Two major omissions, however, are readily apparent. First, despite his denial of
racial factors, he omits the Polish state from his Northern Lands. This is surprising
considering its own integration on numerous levels with the Germanic Empire and
Baltic region. Poland also contained a considerable number of German settlers who,
with their laws and culture, tookroot in towns while contributing to the Polish state.
In fact, it is surprising that Nicholas does not trace "Germanic Europe" throughout
Central Europe. German settlement and colonization often spread Germanic culture
to the East and South. To ignore the influence of German speakers places an artificial
boundary line against the cultural and political integration he suggests defines a
"Germanic Europe." Second, the lack of any analysis of religious links stands out as
a glaring omission, especially when one considers how religion would have linked
the Northern Lands to a much broader Europe. To ignore such a prominent facet of
late medieval life is a significant absence, which cannot be justified by the desire to
avoid covering well-worn paths to the South (ix). Religious ideas spread throughout
the Northern Lands, especially when addressing the employment of cults of saints
and religious debates moving between universities. Addressing these two omissions
in a future edition could at least provide the reader with a clearer understanding of
Nicholas's criteria for the exclusion of geographic regions and the role of religion.
Nicholas's scholarly range in this work is impressive. The majority of his past
work has been centered on the Low Countries, and not surprisingly so too is this
work. Based on a reading of the title, one might suspect this to be a book centered
on the German Empire or focused on broad questions of ethnicity. From the first
chapter titled "Late Medieval England," one recognizes quickly that Nicholas is
attempting to rethink the labels applied to this region. The book, even with its
omissions, serves as an intriguing model of how the historian may expand his or her
geographic focus and think in new ways about medieval Europe.

Reid Weber is a Ph.D. candidate in Early Modern European history.

ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 69


University Press ofFlorida, 2009.

Reviewed by Leslie Kemp Poole

Since the first Europeans stepped foot in Florida there has been an impulse to
change this land, to "improve" it to fit a vision of human imposition rather
than adapting to its natural balance. Nowhere is this determination more evident
than in the story of the Cross Florida Barge Canal, a boondoggle two centuries in
the making that would have spanned the northern part of the peninsula, causing
irreparable environmental damage.
Presidential edict halted the partially built project in 1971, but not before
sections of the beautiful Ocklawaha River were destroyed in the name of"progress."
In their masterful and very readable account, Ditch ofDreams: The Cross Florida
Barge Canal and the S .. .. '.'. Florida's Future, historians Steven Noll and David
Tegeder examine the roots of the canal scheme and the mid-twentieth century battle
it ignited between commercial, political and environmental interests. Through
meticulous archival research and interviews with participants, they show how local,
state, and national forces shaped the undertaking and ultimately led to its demise.
Indeed, the barge canal story, as the authors note, tells "the story of modern Florida"
while providing a "cautionary tale over present-day public policy discussions
concerning transportation and water use" (7).
The project's inception dates to early Spanish explorers who "imagined a
watery shortcut" connecting the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean, avoiding
the Florida Straits that were rife with navigational hazards, storms, pirates, and
local wreck scavengers (11). This dream-first for a ship canal and then modified
to accommodate commercial barge traffic-persisted into early statehood. It was

70 ] ALPATA: a journal ofhistory, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010

BOOK REVIEW: DITCH OF DREAMS I Steven Noll and David Tegeder

boosted through a national infrastructure fever in the nineteenth century that
featured the successful Erie Canal and the belief that manufacturing and commerce
would follow such projects. This rationale, along with the later promotion that the
canal would enhance national defense and offer employment during hard economic
times, propelled the Florida project through coming decades. That it also would
damage the Ocklawaha River, a waterway long heralded for its wild beauty, was not
a consideration in the face of anticipated financial benefits.
The project was started and then abandoned in the 1930s, but came roaring
to life again three decades later, secured by $1 million in federal funds toward the
estimated final price tag of $165 million. President Lyndon B. Johnson attended a
1964 groundbreaking, proclaiming that God had given the country many natural
resources and waterways but left it to humans to "carve out the channels to make
them usable" (143). Boosters hailed the realization of their dreams, and politicians
congratulated themselves for creating jobs. Little did they suspect that their hopes
would be dashed by a group of savvy and determined environmentalists who used
scientific and economic research-and finally the courts and media-to combat the
project and sway popular opinion during an era of heightened ecological awareness.
Marjorie Harris Carr, an experienced biologist who was dismissed by bureaucrats
as a "Micanopy housewife," was the tireless face of opposition for the project, but as
Noll and Tegeder show, the project's demise was achieved through years of work by
a number of experts, river lovers, and conservationists, making the canal battle the
first major grassroots environmental uprising in Florida (202).
Although the barge canal conflict has been highlighted in a few histories,
this long-overdue book is the first to focus specifically on the issue, navigating the
fields of environmental history and, particularly, political history. The depiction
of President Richard M. Nixon's decision to halt the project and the swirl of
bureaucratic and political maneuvering that surrounded it makes for fascinating
reading while overturning the idea that Nixon made the decision on environmental
grounds-it was purely political. At times the book's intricate details of the political
maneuverings overwhelm the stories ofthe many local individuals whose passion for
the river-and the canal-would carry them through decades ofconflict. Their stories
would add more richness to the saga that continues today as environmentalists carry
on a contentious campaign to remove a remaining dam on the Ocklawaha River.
In addition to providing a fine history, Ditch ofDreams serves as a timely
warning that large public works projects created in the name of "progress" and
"jobs" need careful examination by a vigilant public mindful that such promises can
often result in unforeseen environmental damage.

Leslie Kemp Poole is a Ph.D. candidate in American history.

ALPATA: journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 71


Athens: Ohio University Press, 2009.

Reviewed by Jessica Morey

Focused on Northern Nigeria during the Depression decade (1929-1939), Moses
Ochonu's Colonial Meltdown puts another chink in the imperial armor of
colonialism in African history. The Depression disabled the British colonial regime's
ability to eke out profits from Northern Nigeria as it had in preceding years through
export crops such as groundnuts; the mining of tin; and regular taxation. Ochonu
documents that during the Depression years in Northern Nigeria, the colonial regime's
attempts to generate revenue and maintain law and orderwere met byAfrican resistance.
The means used by the colonial regime to maintain order revealed the weakness of the
colonial state, belying "the notion of the colonial state as an omnipotent, all conquering
genius of exploitation," an assumption held by a number of earlier colonial studies (2).
Ochonu's first chapter "From Empire to Colony" outlines how Britain's economic
recovery plan during the Depression emphasized using the empire as a "safety cushion"
for the metropole (27). As part of the cushioning effort, trade was limited to within the
empire, even if this meant uncompetitive prices. Declining prices for export crops hurt
Northern Nigerian consumers already affected by the global economic downturn. In
response, many Northern Nigerian farmers abandoned the export economy during the
Depression in favor of growing food crops. The Britons praised these self-sustaining
efforts because it shifted the burden of support away from the colonial regime. Limiting
outside trade was part of a larger economic recovery package that also included
retrenching colonial staff, deferring public works projects, and increasing revenue
through taxation.
These economic recovery efforts were particularly painful to Northern Nigerians
in the early 1930s because of contemporaneous events affecting their economy. As
Ochonu describes in the first half of the book, declining prices and limited trade in the
global economy was felt more acutely in Nigeria because of the accompanying closure
of the local tin mines and an infestation of locusts. The latter led to food shortages in a
period where means were already stretched.

72 ] ALPATA: journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010


These harsh conditions were met with a variety of African responses, which
may be viewed as resisting the colonial state. Former railway and tin mine workers
stole food from local farms and removed valuable copper keys from railway tracks to
sustain themselves. Other Northern Nigerians profited from creating counterfeit
alloy coins that were used to pay taxes. The British withdrawal of most silver currency
from Northern Nigeria between 1931 and 1933 spurred a counterfeit trade in these
alloy coins, leaving the colony with a headache that followed for many years. Western-
educated Northern Nigerians found an outlet in print. In the 1930s, Sierra Leone-
born Samuel Cole-Edwards, a former secretary to Lord Lugard, began the Ai .. .
Protectorate Ram. The Ram had a brief life in Northern Nigeria, but it worried the
colonial regime because it reminded them of the anti-colonial newspapers of Southern
Ochonu's closing chapters shift from the broader to the more local effects of the
Depression in Northern Nigeria to look intimately at what happened within Idoma
Division. Ochonu describes Idoma as on the periphery of the Northern Nigerian
colony; it was largely neglected by the colonial regime during profitable times and
labeled an economic backwater. Even so, during the economic recovery, the regime
clamped down on Idoma and demanded tax revenue from the district heads. At the
same time, the regime withdrew financial support for missionary education in Idoma.
When taxes were not forthcoming, the district colonial leaders swarmed upon the
delinquent taxpayers to take chickens, goats, and anything of value they could get
their hands on. This led villagers in the area to hide in the woods during tax raids. For
Ochonu, the actions taken in Idoma epitomize the moment ofweakness for the colonial
state. Unable to meet either the economic or colonial uplift goals ofthe Dual Mandate
rhetoric, district leaders also went against the notion of indirect rule in Idoma, pushing
aside local leaders to directly demand revenue from impoverished farmers.
ColonialMeltdown effectively lifts the veil on the years of the Depression to show
that colonial regimes were not stagnant, but struggled to uphold the ambitions of
colonial rule. While previous African historians such as Frederick Cooper have revealed
the integral efforts of African workers' resistance during the interwar period as part
and parcel of the decline of the colonial era, Ochonu shifts the timeline to argue that
scholars may need to look earlier to the Depression years to seek the catalysts of later
anti-colonial struggles. If the book possesses a shortcoming, it is that Ochonu often
speaks in terms of the general weakness of the colonial state during the Depression
but does not give any insight into how other colonies besides Nigeria weathered these
same years. This may be remedied by future research on the Depression years in other
colonial contexts.

Jessica Morey is a Ph.D. candidate in African history.

ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 73


Knoxville: The University of
Tennessee Press, 2009.

Reviewed by Benjamin L. Miller

The religious history of the American Civil War has only recently garnered
increased attention from Civil War scholars. While Gardiner Shattuck
published his seminal A Shield and HI 7. Place: The R, '. ... Life of the Civil
War Armies in 1987, little significant work had been done on the field until the
collection R. '. and the American Civil War, edited by Randall Miller, Harry
Stout, and Charles Wilson came out in 1998. Three years later Steven Woodworth
published While God is Marching On: The R,. .. World ofCivil War Soldiers, the
first exposition of the common soldiers' religious experience during the war. In his
newly published monograph No Peace for the Wicked: Northern Protestant Soldiers
and the American Civil War, David Rolfs makes an important contribution to this
burgeoning field by exploring the religious worldview of Northern soldiers, mainly
those identified as white Reformed Protestants, and situating this worldview within
the larger antebellum context from which it emerged.
Rolfs utilizes a part-thematic, part-chronological structure to uncover the
wartime motivations and experiences of Northern religious soldiers. He discusses
how these men mobilized for war, their sense of duty to country and family, how
they came to embrace emancipation, and their belief that they were engaged in
a just war for Union and liberty. Depicting the war as a holy crusade against the
Confederacy, Rolfs demonstrates how soldiers conceived of God's will and of the
war as divine judgment. Some of this terrain is new, but all of these chapters show
grounding in antebellum religion, unmatched in previous scholarship.
His most interesting and original chapter (and the most important contribution
of the work as a whole) looks at the compromises and conflicts some religious soldiers

74 ] ALPATA: journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010


experienced during the war. Although the vast majority of Northern religious
soldiers reconciled military duties with their religious values, many struggled to find
a balance. Some individuals easily compromised certain pre-war spiritual practices,
such as observing the Sabbath. Others experienced a degree of cognitive dissonance,
as they faced a moral dilemma, having to compromise either their faith or their
military duties. As Rolfs demonstrates, "most concluded that one's duty to country
came first and adapted their faith accordingly" (195).
Rolfs's monograph is grounded in a substantial body of archival material
and published primary sources. He seems, however, to rely too heavily on sources
from the Midwest, especially those available at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential
Library in Springfield, Illinois; the Indiana Historical Society in Indianapolis; and
the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison. To his credit, he did consult Emory
University's archives. It is surprising (and a bit disappointing) that Rolfs did not
consult the United States army's archival collection at Carlisle Barracks, an enormous
repository of Northern soldiers' letters and diaries, from which Woodworth heavily
drew for his earlier book. Whether examining letters at more geographically diverse
archives would lead to different conclusions is uncertain, but nonetheless, it would
lead to a more balanced work.
This study raises a couple other questions. First, methodologically, one wonders
why Rolfs classified a soldier as religious based merely on him using "significant
religious language, ideas, or symbols to define, justify, or interpret some wartime
experience on at least two or more occasions" (xviii). Why two? Why not three or
five? This methodological framework appears too arbitrary. Second, while Rolfs
should be commended for thinking about the Civil War through the lens ofjust-war
theory, he should have more actively engaged with the substantial historiography
concerning the Civil War as a total, hard, or limited conflict. Harry Stout's A Moral
History ofthe Civil War (which Rolfs references) enters this discussion at the very
tail end of the extant historiography and needs to be contextualized further.
Despite these minor quibbles, Rolfs has written an engaging work that moves
beyond Woodworth's earlier study and begins to uncover the religious worldview
of Northern Reformed Protestant soldiers during the Civil War. At the same time,
it places their perspective within the antebellum world from which it emerged. It
requires a skilled historian to wade through the complexities of writing American
religious history and Rolfs should be commended for his acumen. Still even with the
publication of Rolfs's book, much work remains to be completed in this burgeoning
field, and future scholars need to examine such topics as the Catholic soldiers'
experience and the experience of chaplains and missionaries during the war years.

Benjamin L. 31. . .: a Ph.D. candidate in American history.

ALPATA: journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 75


Gainesville: University
Press ofFlorida, 2010.

Reviewed by Maria Angela Diaz

W hen Florida seceded from the Union in the winter of 1861, church bells
throughout the state rang joyously with the news. Daniel L. Schafer's
Thunder on the River: The Civil War in Northeast Florida tells the story of
secession and civil war in Jacksonville and the surrounding communities along
the St. Johns River. Steeped in primary sources and secondary literature, Schafer's
book balances Union and Confederate voices to reveal the region's tortuous
experience during the four-year conflict. Schafer crafts a well researched and
crisply written narrative that captures the struggles between Northerners and
Southerners, unionists and secessionists, slaves, and free black and white residents.
Due to Jacksonville's status as the commercial center of northeast Florida,
Northern merchants flocked to the city, and these Unionists and their Southern
counterparts become one of the major focuses of Schafer's story.
Positioned along a bend in the St. Johns River, the city became the key to
the interior of Florida. Thus, Jacksonville was occupied four separate times by
Federal soldiers, and abandoned three times from 1862 to 1864. During the first
occupation, retreating Rebels torched much of the city. It was again set ablaze
in the aftermath of the third Federal occupation, which was largely blamed on
the black troops serving there. After the Federal defeat at the battle of Olustee,
the Union occupied Jacksonville for the fourth time until the end of the war.
Residents shifted loyalties according to the current occupying force. Many of the
Northern merchants became exiles, living in the North. Native Southerners fared
little better, forced to endure constant evacuations as power shifted back and
forth between Confederate and Union forces. Thus, this is largely a story about
displaced and refugee populations swarming in and out ofJacksonville and the St.
Johns region. The last batch of refugees arrived at the end of the war when Union-

76 ] ALPATA: a journal ofhistory, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010


held Jacksonville became a major destination for destitute Southerners and Union
prisoners from Andersonville, Georgia.
Schafer aims to capture popular audiences through gripping storytelling,
and scholarly readers with his extensive archival research and use of the secondary
literature. While he presents many excellent points, Schafer never manages
to string them together into a strong argument. He succeeds admirably in
reminding the reader of the larger national context, particularly in the second
chapter concerning Florida's secession. Of Florida's secession he argues that white
residents of Jacksonville became convinced that "Northerners intended to limit
the right granted by the U.S. Constitution to carry human property into the
western territories, and eventually to abolish the institution of slavery altogether"
(x). Scholars such as David Potter, James McPherson, Michael Holt (whom he
quotes), Michael Morrison, and many others present similar theses. With the
large Northern population living in the area, the reader is left wondering exactly
how their presence affected secessionist Southerners, and what such a divided
area reveals about the overall nature of loyalty in the Confederacy. Unfortunately,
within the following ten chapters, Schafer's initial argument largely disappears,
emerging briefly in discussions of the self-emancipation of slaves, treatment of
black troops, and the reclamation of white supremacy during Reconstruction.
While Schafer succeeds in his aim to tell the story of this forgotten part of
the Civil War South, he does not fully engage the growing body of scholarship on
Civil War-era Florida. Northeast Florida presents a far different story than that
of Edward Baptist's Creating an Old South: Middle Florida's Plantation Frontier
Before the Civil War (2002), but Schafer does not discuss or even reference this
important work. Studying Leon and Jackson counties, Baptist argues that creating
Southern society in frontier regions was a fiercely contested process. The number
of Northerners in northeast Florida could possibly reveal additional complexities
in the creation of the "Old South."
These issues aside, Daniel Schafer's Thunder on the River presents a
remarkable story including a myriad of voices and experiences that he deftly
weaves together into a fascinating whole. Schafer calls attention to this region's
complex story, proving that more work is still needed to understand fully the Old
South's frontiers and the experiences of those living there. The book provides an
excellent starting point for those interested in learning more about Florida's Civil
War past and its part in the Old South's final fight.

Maria Angela Diaz is a Ph.D. candidate in American history.

ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 77

BOOK REVIEW EmancipaUon's
Diaspora rau
Chapel Hill: The University of Iiltl
North Carolina Press, 2009.

Reviewed by JamesJ. Broomall

Scholars have long recognized the transformative effects of emancipation on
the American South's social and cultural landscapes, and its redefinition
of the body politic. Only in recent years, however, have historians considered
emancipation's wider reach. In Emancipation's Diaspora, Leslie Schwalm
persuasively argues that emancipation's repercussions extended well beyond the
South. Emancipation effectively forced a renegotiation of African Americans'
"place" in the North, and, indeed, the nation. The book's title-"emancipation's
diaspora"-refers to the Civil War-era migration of freed people outside of the
South and the public and private debates that this diaspora engendered. Focusing
on Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, Schwalm follows the experiences of
African Americans from slavery through freedom to citizenship, while tracing
the construction and deconstruction of racial hierarchies, the shifting meaning
of whiteness, the gendered dimensions of blacks' struggles, and the contestation
of public and private spheres. The resulting study not only presents fresh new
materials on a neglected region of the United States and the peoples therein, but
complements the scholarship of Leon Litwack, Nancy Bercaw, Steven Hahn, Nell
Irvin Painter, and David Blight.
This handsome volume is presented in seven chronological and thematic
chapters. An introduction and epilogue nicely contextualize African Americans'
transition into citizenship and the book's overarching themes of race and
Reconstruction. Emancipation's Diaspora begins with an extended discussion
of slavery in the Midwest, which, as Schwalm explains, was an extremely fluid
institution. Readers well versed in the antebellum era will find much of this

78 ] ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010


narrative familiar, albeit with regional distinctiveness. The book seamlessly
moves into the Civil War era recounting slavery's collapse, which led to African
American's northward migration. This movement into the upper Midwest
presented unprecedented challenges to the practices that sustained white
supremacy and "revealed how deeply white privilege saturated daily life" in the
region (105). Blacks' removal to distant locations particularly affected women
and children, whose stories add considerable depth to a wartime narrative that
typically focuses only on the military life of black soldiers. Indeed, as Schwalm
carefully reveals, civil war was a gendered and gendering experience.
The book's final chapters, containing the richest and most revealing
research, concentrate on Midwestern black life, the creation of African American
communities and public culture, and memory. Although historians Eric Foner
and Heather Cox Richardson have made great strides in revealing the politics of
Northern Reconstruction, this story remains incomplete. Schwalm's emphasis on
Reconstruction in the Midwest adds considerable depth to our understanding
of northern political culture. Her portrait illuminates the stories of African
American men and women who "shaped and contributed to Reconstruction,"
which "constitutes part of the poorly chronicled northern account of how
black freedom and citizenship were understood, defined, and defended in the
postemancipation, postwar United States" (175).
Drawing from an extensive and extremely rich range of source materials-
including manuscripts, pension records, public performances, census data,
newspapers, and published memoirs, diaries, and letters-Schwalm successfully
captures the voices and experiences of black and white Midwesterners. While
constructing a broad portrait of black life, Schwalm successfully personalizes this
story by injecting the book with individual stories. From the harrowing escape
from slavery of Kate Thompson and her family to the midwestern countryside, to
Moses Mosely's postbellum published account of African American's transition
from slavery to citizenship, Schwalm offers readers an intimate portrayal of blacks'
lives contextualized by the broader forces of race and war.
Ultimately, this meticulous study nationalizes the histories of slavery,
emancipation, and Reconstruction, and joins a generation of scholarship that
has redirected attention to include the lives and experiences of men, women, and
children. Nonetheless, despite the book's breadth and depth, questions remain.
How did class, for instance, operate and affect postbellum black communities in
the Midwest? While Schwalm's portrait of late nineteenth-century black life is
rich, the communities she examines are largely devoid of conflict and conflated
into a homogenous whole. Furthermore, in discussing the creation of black

ALPATA: a journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010 [ 79


memories about slavery and emancipation, how did these broader public discourses
operate on the ground-level and to what ends? Perhaps, though, the questions that
this book raises signify its overarching importance and great success. Schwalm
has written a careful study of a neglected region and offered readers a book that
greatly advances our understandings of race and Reconstruction.

JamesJ. Broomall is a Ph.D. candidate in American history.

80 ] ALPATA: journal of history, VOLUME VII, SPRING 2010


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