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Civil War Cover (detail)

Civil War Cover (detail)


Civil War Cover detail, Treason.

Civil War Covers are envelopes printed during or subsequent to the Civil War, that depict various scenes and themes. Many are of a patriotic nature, and were used to send US Mail, or simply as souvenirs.

Publication of Civil War envelopes began as early as the mid-1850’s, when north-south divisions began to take shape, but ended prior to the war’s conclusion because most believed that it was too indulgent and expensive to continue production in a time of war.

This envelope, having been printed in Cincinnati, Ohio USA, was produced by the North, so is giving an anti-slavery message.

The caption underneath the picture reads:

We is de innocent root ob dis yere trubble, Mass Jeff, but its gwine to take all us poor niggas breff away to keep de wind in it.

The American Civil War began in 1861. It was fought mainly over the issue of whether the different states in the Union had the right to allow slavery in their own state. Most of the southern states supported slavery, most of the northern states were opposed to it. The war ended in 1865, and slavery was abolished throughout the United States.

The language used to describe people of African descent in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries is unacceptable in today’s terms. We cannot avoid using this language in its original context. To change the words would impose 20th century attitudes on history.

Contributed by John Judkyn Memorial.

Date: 1800s

Copyright: The American Museum in Britain, Bath

Object ID:65.205.5(detail)

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