Never before or since in American history have the needs and influence of the military weighed so heavily on society. Escott analyzes the militarization of life in the Confederacy and probes the relationships between military commanders, legislators, and Jefferson Davis and his administration. As the South struggled to wage an exhausting war against the North, military necessity increasingly determined policy and shaped all aspects of life. The military had an increasingly large impact not only on policy but also on events inside civil society. Military men played important roles in bringing about extensive social change, enforcing law and order, and placing significant restrictions on individual freedoms.
Ultimately the crisis of the Confederacy threatened both the constitutionalism that southern politicians long had cherished and a core principle of the tradition of civil control over the military. Key figures in the army also took the lead in urging the use of slaves as soldiers and promoting the idea of emancipation. With many portraits of high-ranking generals and civil officials and telling anecdotes that reveal the nature of their relationships, this book reveals the depth of the Confederacy's social, political, and military crisis and highlights what this crisis revealed about the foundations of Confederate society. [via]