Summary Of The Arkansas Peace Society Of 1861: A Study In Mountain Unionism

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Thesis: Ted R. Worley’s article: “The Arkansas Peace Society of 1861: A Study in Mountain Unionism” argues that the secession vote did not accurately emulate the opinions of the people in the Arkansas upcountry. Worley asserts that birthplace and culture play an important role in the peace societies and insurrection against secession. Evaluation of the Argument: Worley’s argument is extensive and clear in that these Peace Societies faced tremendous retaliation from those loyal to the Confederacy. The activities and opinions of these societies were more proliferated throughout the upcountry regions than the Confederacy was originally aware of, and people in favor of the secession vote became very unsettled to find the extensive disapproval …show more content…

Society members were given the decision of standing trial for their collusion against, and hostility to, the Confederacy, or joining the Confederate army. The majority of these individuals choose to join the confederacy. While much of the upcountry owned much fewer to no slaves compared with the rest of Arkansas, the slaveholding elite saw unionists or union sympathizers as a threat. Worley also makes the claim that although the peace societies were viewed as unionist propaganda and those involved were thought of as having an aspiration to join the Federals, that wasn’t the general standpoint from those within the societies. No such loyalties were explicitly defined by the individuals involved in the Peace Societies and no government was indicated in their constitution. These Peace Societies simply reflect the opinion of upcountry Arkansans in their disaffection to the secession …show more content…

He asserts in his article; “Arkansas [was] only 91.7 per cent Southern born; members of the society were 93.0 per cent Southern born. On the premise that birthplace was a significant factor, one would have to conclude that the root of Arkansas subversion was in the upper South.” Worley has fulfilled his purpose in his article and makes his argument clear and concrete. However, had Worley delved into the concept of how the state reached the vote for secession despite such resistance within the state, it may have cleared up some ambiguity. He addresses the fact that Unionism terrified those in the deep South with slaves as their main source of wealth, but Worley only confronts that briefly and not definitively. Nevertheless, Worley’s article is intended for a specific audience such as; historians, scholars, research, etc. and this article is eloquent and valid in the argument it

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