The Republic of Suffering by Drew Gilpin Faust

Published: 2021-06-29 06:53:18
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Category: American History

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The Republic of Suffering by Drew Gilpin Faust
"This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War", is Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust's latest book. She wrote this book from a religious, social, and psychological point of view, as a result of the American Civil war. It is estimated that 620,000 soldiers and 50,000 civilians lost their lives during the civil war. The author describes how such an immense number of deaths affected not only the individual lives, but also the life of America as a nation. The book describes how the mass victims of the Civil War forced Americans to revisit and fundamentally review their approaches toward death. It also depicts how the death of family members affected the survivors thereafter. Furthermore, the book reveals how intensely religious values made a considerable effort to restore faith in a munificent God, within its nation (Drew .G. Faust, 2009).
The author's main argument is that American Soldiers undertook the "work of death" actively. They were referred to as agents of death be it the dying of the soldiers or execution of the enemy. She stated that the estimated 2 percent who died, or 620,000, would be equivalent to 6 million today. The author says that death caused children to be orphans, wives to widows, thus created a new family structure, resulting to a new identity of the society as a whole. The American Civil War generation's experience in "working with death" irrevocably transformed American society, culture, and politics in what Faust calls "a broader republic of shared suffering". The author states that a soldier is 5 times more likely to die as compared to civilians. Soldiers appeared to fear death by disease and other causes more than death in the midst of combat (Drew .G. Faust, 2009).
One of the sub-arguments in this book is that the colossal number of fatalities undergone by both North and South American during the civil war had a profound consequence on the nation. This unprecedented massacre which left hundreds of thousands dead was perceived by Lincoln as mass killings that transformed a provisional organization of states into a unified nation. However, despite the fact that it was a brutal process, there was the need for families to adopt new social customs so as to be able to deal with all the atrociousness. The high numbers of deaths experienced at Antietam, Gettysburg, Shiloh and the Bull Run front amongst other battle sites gave rise to new business enterprises, such as the undertaking business and embalming procedures.

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