The Civil War and Kalamazoo: Community and Conflict
Baughman, Michael J., III (Trey)
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This examination of the Civil War and the county of Kalamazoo will attempt to show the interconnectivity of the two. Meaning that this history of the Civil War and Kalamazoo will attempt to explain both how Kalamazoo was affected by the war and how Kalamazoo influenced the war. In exploring these dual and interconnected phenomena, the growth and development of Kalamazoo leading up to the Civil War, the reaction of Kalamazoo to the war, the contributions of Kalamazoo to the war and war effort, how the people of Kalamazoo coped with the conflict, and the effect that the war and return of veterans had on Kalamazoo and its post-war development will be examined. Each area will highlight a different side of the back and forth nature of the relationship between the war and Kalamazoo and will tell the stories of varying citizens and soldiers. Telling the story of an entire community during a controversial historical event is inherently difficult because it requires analyzing and understanding how a majority of people acted and felt, without ignoring or downplaying the sentiment and actions of those who were not a part of that majority. In attempting to paint a picture of Kalamazoo and its Civil War story, this work will not encapsulate every person in Kalamazoo's experience, rather it will attempt to provide an accurate understanding of how most or many Kalamazooans came to comprehend and respond to the events transpiring around them. The people of Kalamazoo did continue with everyday life as the war was fought, but it was a vastly different everyday life because of the challenges that the war brought upon the community. Furthermore, the men and women of Kalamazoo were exceptionally eager and prompt in their reaction ~o the war's beginning and extremely in the Kalamazoo area, yet Kalamazoo's development from a town on paper that several men owned to an actual village, inhabited by settlers, was not certain.