The mobilization of the Union’s resources for modern war brought into being a new American nation-state with greatly expanded powers and responsibilities. The United States remained a federal republic with sovereignty divided between the state and national governments. But the war forged a new national self-consciousness, reflected in the increasing use of the word “nation”—a unified political entity—in place of the older “Union” of separate states. In his inaugural address in 1861, Lincoln used the word “Union” twenty times, while making no mention of the “nation.” By 1863, “Union” does not appear at all in the 269-word Gettysburg Address, while Lincoln referred five times to the “nation.”

“Liberty,... true liberty,” the writer Francis Lieber proclaimed, “requires a country.” This was the moral of one of the era’s most popular works of fiction, Edward Everett Hale’s short story “The Man Without a Country,” published in 1863. Hale’s protagonist, Philip Nolan, in a fit of anger curses the land of his birth. As punishment, he is condemned to live on a ship, never to set foot on American soil or hear the name “the United States” spoken. He learns that to be deprived of national identity is to lose one’s sense of self.

The Eagle’s Nest, an 1861 antisecession cartoon promising “annihilation to traitors.” The eggs representing seceding states have become rotten and are hatching monsters.

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