Date of Award

Fall 9-13-2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

MA History

Department

History

Advisor

Larry A. Greene, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Thomas Rzeznik, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dermot Quinn, D.Phil.

Keywords

civil war, memory, Easton, reconciliationist, monument

Abstract

Thirty-five years after the Civil War came to an end the people of Easton, Pennsylvania erected a monument to honor the men of Easton and Northampton County that fought and died in the sectional conflict. With the nation recognizing the sesquicentennial of the Civil War the study of how the people of Easton have chosen to remember this conflict can help us better understand the war itself and its ever changing place in the collective national psychology. The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument that was built in Easton’s Centre Square is reflective of a Northern monument design, and a memory of the Civil War, that was dominant throughout the North in the late nineteenth century. While the design and early history of the monument are a reflection of a Unionist and reconciliationist memory of the war, in the post-World War II era the centrality of the Easton monument in the life of the city would undergo its own transformation as questions of race and racial equality became, once again, intimately tied to the one hundred year old conflict. Even by the year 2000, what is clear is that the Easton monument and other monuments built at the turn of the twentieth century have influenced the way contemporary America has chosen to honor, and remember, the men who fought and died in more recent wars, like the Second World War. By examining the monument’s history, design, and traditions what is offered is not only insight into a city’s commemoration of the war, but a deeper understanding of how America’s memory of the Civil War has changed since the 1865 peace at Appomattox.

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