Hostile Forces: The Battle of Hampton Roads and Nineteenth Century America's Industrial Nightmare

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Hostile Forces: The Battle of Hampton Roads and Nineteenth Century America's Industrial Nightmare

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Title: Hostile Forces: The Battle of Hampton Roads and Nineteenth Century America's Industrial Nightmare
Author: Stein, Mariel
Advisor: Dorsey, Bruce; Friedman, Andrew
Department: Haverford College. Dept. of History
Type: Thesis (B.A.)
Issue Date: 2010
Abstract: Although primarily thought of as a land-based war, one of the most famous battles of the Civil War was fought on water: the Battle of Hampton Roads, which took place on March 8th and 9th, 1862, commonly understood as the first battle between ironclad warships: the USS Monitor and CSS Virginia. However, the true significance of the battle lies not in its tactical or military importance, but in the ways in which it encompassed many of the deeper fears and anxieties involved in the Civil War. These fears and anxieties were centered on the increasing industrialization of nineteenth-century America, and the ways in which new, modem technology linked American society to violence and death. This thesis explores presentations of the Battle of Hampton Roads and its major players (the Monitor and the Virginia) and draws out the ways in which Americans grappled with their nostalgia for the past, their fears and hopes for the future of the United States, and their feelings towards widespread violence and death. The media surveyed in this thesis include contemporary newspaper articles about the battle, mass-produced relief-block lithographic prints, traditional paintings, and the Battle-Pieces poetry of Herman Melville, who more than any other author acknowledged the ways in which Hampton Roads was a harbinger of frightening days to come. By analyzing popular media across genres and from across the United States, this thesis creates a full picture of the fears and hopes of nineteenth century America, including national reunification, Northern industrialism and its relationship to Southern industrialism, and the increasing efficiency and speed of violent death.
Subject: Industrialization -- United States -- Public opinion -- History -- 19th century
Subject: Industrialization -- United States -- History -- 19th century
Subject: Hampton Roads, Battle of, Va., 1862
Terms of Use: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/us/
Permanent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10066/7825

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Stein, Mariel. "Hostile Forces: The Battle of Hampton Roads and Nineteenth Century America's Industrial Nightmare". 2010. Available electronically from http://hdl.handle.net/10066/7825.

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