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Yearning for Normalcy: Marriage and Gender in the Slaveholding Class During the Civil War

By Tyler Litke
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“Unfortunately there is no Past, available for distillation, capture, manipulation, observation and description. There have been, and there are, events in complex and innumerable combinations, and no magic formula will ever give us mastery over them…. There are, instead, some rather humdrum operations to be performed. We suspect or surmise that an event, a set of events has taken place: where can we find the traces they must have left behind them? Or we have come across some traces: what are they worth, as traces, and to what events do they point? Later on we shall find out which events we can, from our own knowledge of their traces, safely believe to have taken place. It remains a fact, nevertheless, that the whole historical world uses the word ‘sources,’ and will continue to do so. By refusing to follow its example we shall at any rate draw attention to the fact that history is not a deductive science, but an activity and a craft.”

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