Kinder Institute: The Laws of War and Civil War Missouri

Battle of Lexington, Missouri

Kinder Institute: “The Case of Civil War Missouri


The Kinder Institute at the University of Missouri, a JMC partner program,  will be hosting Aaron Sheehan-Dean to speak on the law’s treatment of civilians during wartime. In particular, he will examine General Order No. 11, the most far-reaching American military policy directed at civilians in U.S. history.

Missouri experienced the worst guerrilla violence in the American Civil War. In response, the Union Army initiated a counter-insurgency campaign that exerted pressure on the civilian communities from which guerrillas drew strength. Although these were non-lethal policies, they created great hardship for non-combatants across the state, culminating in General Order No. 11, the most far-reaching American military policy directed at civilians in US history. In everything they did, the Union Army claimed to be following the laws of war, which were designed to protect non-combatants. What protections did the law offer? What responsibilities did citizens bear for the actions taken by guerrillas in their midst? These questions remain with us in contemporary warfare—in Afghanistan, Israel, and Syria, among other places. The experience of Civil War Missouri offers answers that illuminate the past and provide some guide to the present.

Thursday, November 21, 2019 • 5:30 PM
Cook Hall, Center for Missouri Studies • University of Missouri

Free and open to the public

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Aaron Sheehan-Dean is the Fred C. Frey Professor of Southern Studies at Louisiana State University and the chairman of the History Department. He teaches courses on nineteenth-century U.S. history, the Civil War and Reconstruction, and Southern History. He is the author of The Calculus of Violence: How Americans Fought the Civil War (2018), which received the 2019 American Civil War Museum book prize, Why Confederates Fought: Family and Nation in Civil War Virginia (2007), and Concise Historical Atlas of the U.S. Civil War (2009). He is also the editor of several books.

Learn more about Aaron Sheehan-Dean >>



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