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Deserters, Civil War Opposition Topic of Muncy Event
By Muncy Historical Society
August 29, 2011
MUNCY -- The Civil War Road Show continues with Muncy Historical Society's next event: a Civil War homefront talk by Robert Sandow at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 11, at First United Methodist Church, 602 S. Market St., Muncy.
The lecture resumes the historical society's slate of board meetings and refreshments will follow the presentation.
Sandow, of Bellefonte, is an associate professor of history at Lock Haven University and a Commonwealth Speaker for the Pennsylvania Humanities Council. He will present "Deserter County: Civil War Opposition in Pennsylvania."
His lecture explores the widespread and sometimes violent opposition to the Civil War by people in the Appalachian lumber country of northern Pennsylvania. Many people are unaware that this sparsely settled region was home to divided communities that provided a safe haven for opponents of the war and deserters from the army, prompting federal officials to lead a military expedition in 1864.
Sandow examines the social, political and economic factors that explain antiwar opposition, much of which stemmed from the difficulties of Appalachian life. Timely themes are highlighted including the meanings and traditions of dissent in wartime, the debate over loyalty to the nation, the impact of partisan politics and the difficulties faced by the state in enforcing unpopular laws.
Sandow grew up in the Laurel highlands of Southwestern Pennsylvania, where family trips to its famous battlefields sparked a lifelong passion for Civil War history.
Sandow completed his bachelor's degree at Gettysburg College in 1992 then earned his Ph.D. in 2003 from the Richards Civil War Era Center at Penn State. At Lock Haven, he teaches classes on American History, Military History, Japanese History and introductory courses on Public History and Museum Studies.
Sandow also is a writer, publishing among other works, "Deserter Country: Civil War Opposition in the Pennsylvania Appalachians" (Fordham University Press 2011).
One of the few studies of the northern Appalachians, his book draws revealing parallels to the War in the southern mountains, exploring the roots of rural protest in frontier development, the market economy, military policy, partisan debate, and everyday resistance. Sandow also sheds new light on the party politics of rural resistance, rejecting easy depictions of war-opponents as traitors and malcontents for a more nuanced and complicated study of the class, economic upheaval, and localism.