History

< Back to list

Christopher Phillips

Title: John and Dorothy Hermanies Professor of American History
Office: 360 McMicken Hall
Tel: 513-556-2146
Email: christopher.phillips@uc.edu

My research interests and teaching fields are in American history, especially the Nineteenth Century, American South, Borderlands, and the era of the Civil War and Reconstruction.

Raised in the Midwest, and educated there and in the South, I have a particular interest in regionalism, and I have published a number of books and essays on the Civil War era. My particular interest has been in the Border States, both free states that were deeply divided by the American Civil War and its coming and neighboring slave states that did not secede from the Union.

My published books have focused variously upon slavery and freedom, emancipation, war, race, politics, and memory during and after the Civil War era. They include Damned Yankee, a study of the military and political events in the border slave state of Missouri through the life of a controversial military commander there; Freedom's Port, a social history of the African American community of Baltimore, Maryland, in the early national and antebellum periods; Missouri's Confederate, the life and political career of a controversial Missouri Civil War governor as a lens into the development of southern identity in the Border West; The Union on Trial and The Making of a Southerner, the edited political journals and classroom-length companion biography of a northern-born Missouri supreme court justice in the mid-nineteenth century, which together assess the development of proslavery ideology in the American West; and more recently The Civil War in the Border South, a brief social and cultural history of the Civil War and its aftermath in the border slave states.

My most recent book, The Rivers Ran Backward: The Civil War and the Remaking of the American Middle Border (Oxford University Press, 2016), examines the fluid political cultures of the "Middle Border" states during the Civil War era. The there was one fought within the populations of the West, rather than between the sections, and permanently reshaped American regions. The book was named a Best Book of 2016 by Civil War Monitor, and received the 2017 Tom Watson Brown Prize for the best published book on the Civil War from the Society for Civil War Historians, the Watson Brown Foundation, and the George and Ann Richards Civil War Research Center at Penn State University.  It was also awarded the 2017 Jon Gjerde Book Prize, the Midwestern History Association's top award given for a book on midwestern regional history, the 2017 Distinguished Book Award by the Ohio Academy of History, and the 2017 Missouri History Book Award from the State Historical Society of Missouri. It was a finalist for the 2017 Ohioana Book Award for Non-fiction.   https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-rivers-ran-backward-9780195187236?cc=us&lang=en&

I have published dozens of peer reviewed and invited essays in such venues as Civil War History, Journal of the Civil War Era, and The New York Times. As a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians, my work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Antiquarian Society (in which I am an elected member), among others. In 2013 I was a Fulbright scholar in the Czech Republic.  I live in Glendale, Ohio, the nation's first planned community (1855) with my wife, Jill, a high school mathematics teacher and coach of the 2014 Ohio state girls basketball champions, and our sons Grayson and Maddox.

Education

  • Ph.D., The University of Georgia, 1992.

Research Information

Research Support

  • National Endowment for the Humanities. 1993 to 1994. Status: Completed.
  • Kate B. and Hall J. Peterson Research Fellowship. , American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts. 2004 to 2004. Status: Completed.
  • C. Ballard Breaux Visiting Fellowship. , Filson Historical Society, Louisville, Kentucky. . 2002 to 2003. Status: Completed.
  • Richard S. Brownlee Research Grant, State Historical Society of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri. 2000 to 2000. Status: Completed.
  • University Research Council Research Grant, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio. 2003 to 2003. Status: Completed.
  • Center Faculty Fellowship , Charles Phelps Taft Center, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio. 2009 to 2010. Status: Completed.
  • Filson Research Fellowship., Filson Club Historical Society, Louisville, Kentucky. 1998 to 1998. Status: Completed.
  • Research Grant., American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 1995 to 1995. Status: Completed.
  • Research Fellowship. , Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Library Company of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 1994 to 1994. Status: Completed.
  • Senior Research Fellowship, Kentucky Historical Society, Frankfort, Kentucky. 2005 to 2005. Status: Completed.

Publications

Peer Reviewed Publications

  • “Judge Napton's Private War: Slavery, Personal Tragedy, and the Politics of Identity in Civil War-era Missouri,” Missouri Historical Review 99 (April 2005): 212-37. 
  • “The Crime Against Missouri: Slavery, Kansas, and the Cant of Southernness in the Border West,” Civil War History 48 (March 2002): 60-81. 
  • “Calculated Confederate: Claiborne Fox Jackson and the Strategy for Secession in Missouri,” Missouri Historical Review 94 (July 2000): 389-414. 
  • “‘The Dear Name of Home’: Resistance to Colonization in Antebellum Baltimore,” Maryland Historical Magazine 91 (Summer 1996): 181-202 
  • “The Court Martial of Lieutenant Nathaniel Lyon,” Missouri Historical Review 79 (March 1987): 202-14 
  • "Lincoln's Grasp of War: Hard War and the Politics of Neutrality and Slavery in the Western Border Slave States, 1861-1862," Journal of the Civil War Era 3 (June 2013), 184-210     

Books

  • The Making of a Southerner: William Barclay Napton's Private Civil War. Columbia and London: University of Missouri Press, 2008.
  • With Jason L. Pendleton. The Union on Trial: The Political Journals of William Barclay Napton, 1829-1883. Columbia and London: University of Missouri Press, 2005.
  • Missouri's Confederate: Claiborne Fox Jackson and the Creation of Southern Identity in the Border West. Columbia and London: University of Missouri Press, 2000.
  • Freedom's Port: The African American Community of Baltimore, 1790-1860. Urbana and London: University of Illinois Press, 1997.
  • Damned Yankee: The Life of Nathaniel Lyon. Baton Rouge and London: Louisiana State University Press, 1996.
  • Damned Yankee: The Life of Nathaniel Lyon. Columbia and London: University of Missouri Press, 1990.
  • The Civil War in the Border South.  Thirteenth volume, Reflections on the Civil War Era, John David Smith, series editor.   Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2013. 
  • The Rivers Ran Backward: The Civil War and the Remaking of the American Middle Border (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016).[Link]

Conference/Workshop Proceedings

  • “The Southernization of Missouri,” in Winfred B. Moore, Kyle S. Sinisi, and David H. White, eds., Warm Ashes: Essays in Southern History at the Dawn of the Twenty-first Century. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press. 

Encyclopedia Article

  • "The Upper South and Free Blacks," in Paul Finkelman, ed., Encyclopedia of the New American Nation.  New York: Charles Scribner's Sons
  • "Baltimore," in Paul Finkelman, ed., Encyclopedia of the United States in the Nineteenth Century. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 
  • "Blair, Francis Preston, Jr.," in John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography.  New York: Oxford University Press, v. 2, 911-13 
  • "Lyon, Nathaniel," in John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography.  New York: Oxford University Press, v. 14, 183-85 
  • "Van Dorn, Earl," in John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography.  New York: Oxford University Press, v. 22, 206 
  • "Frost, Daniel Marsh," in Lawrence O. Christensen, et al, eds., Dictionary of Missouri Biography.  Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 323-24. 
  • "Jackson, Claiborne Fox," in Lawrence O. Christensen, et al, eds., Dictionary of Missouri Biography.  Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 423-26 
  • "Lyon, Nathaniel," in Lawrence O. Christensen, et al, eds., Dictionary of Missouri Biography.  Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 509-10 
  • "Lyon, Nathaniel," in Lawrence O. Christensen, et al, eds., Dictionary of Missouri Biography.  Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 509-10 
  • "Blair, Francis Preston, Jr.," in John T. Hubbell & James W. Geary, eds., Biographical Dictionary of the Union: Northern Leaders of the Civil War.  Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 43.

     
  • "Brown, Benjamin Gratz,' in John T. Hubbell & James W. Geary, eds., Biographical Dictionary of the Union: Northern Leaders of the Civil War.  Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 60 
  • "Carney, Thomas," in John T. Hubbell & James W. Geary, eds., Biographical Dictionary of the Union: Northern Leaders of the Civil War.  Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 85 
  • "Elliott, Washington Lafayette," in John T. Hubbell & James W. Geary, eds., Biographical Dictionary of the Union: Northern Leaders of the Civil War.  Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 164 
  • "Ewing, Thomas, Jr.," in John T. Hubbell & James W. Geary, eds., Biographical Dictionary of the Union: Northern Leaders of the Civil War.  Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 167-68 
  • "Frémont, John Charles," in John T. Hubbell & James W. Geary, eds., Biographical Dictionary of the Union: Northern Leaders of the Civil War.  Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 187. 
  • "Lane, James Henry," in John T. Hubbell & James W. Geary, eds., Biographical Dictionary of the Union: Northern Leaders of the Civil War.  Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 296. 
  • "Lyon, Nathaniel," in John T. Hubbell & James W. Geary, eds., Biographical Dictionary of the Union: Northern Leaders of the Civil War.  Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 319. 
  • "Pomeroy, Samuel Clarke," in John T. Hubbell & James W. Geary, eds., Biographical Dictionary of the Union: Northern Leaders of the Civil War.  Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 408. 
  • "Robinson, Charles," in John T. Hubbell & James W. Geary, eds., Biographical Dictionary of the Union: Northern Leaders of the Civil War.  Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 440-41. 
  • "Steele, Frederick," in John T. Hubbell & James W. Geary, eds., Biographical Dictionary of the Union: Northern Leaders of the Civil War.  Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 503-04. 
  • "Wilder, Abel Carter," in John T. Hubbell & James W. Geary, eds., Biographical Dictionary of the Union: Northern Leaders of the Civil War.  Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 588. 
  • "Gardner, Franklin," in Richard N. Current, ed., Encyclopedia of the Confederacy.  New York: Simon and Schuster, 657-58. 
  • "Jackson, John King," in Richard N. Current, ed., Encyclopedia of the Confederacy.  New York: Simon and Schuster, 830 
  • "McCown, John Porter," in Richard N. Current, ed., Encyclopedia of the Confederacy.  New York: Simon and Schuster, 969-70. 
  • "Marmaduke, John Sappington," in Richard N. Current, ed., Encyclopedia of the Confederacy.  New York: Simon and Schuster, 1008-09. 
  • "Miller, William," in Richard N. Current, ed., Encyclopedia of the Confederacy.  New York: Simon and Schuster, 1040-41. 
  • "Price, Sterling," in Richard N. Current, ed., Encyclopedia of the Confederacy.  New York: Simon and Schuster, 1251-52. 
  • "Price's Missouri Raid," in Richard N. Current, ed., Encyclopedia of the Confederacy.  New York: Simon and Schuster, 1252-55. 
  • "Shelby, Joseph Orville," in Richard N. Current, ed., Encyclopedia of the Confederacy.  New York: Simon and Schuster, 1409. 
  • "Tracy, Edward Dorr," in Richard N. Current, ed., Encyclopedia of the Confederacy.  New York: Simon and Schuster, 1605. 

Invited Publication

  • "Netherworld of War: The Dominion System and the Contours of Federal Occupation in Civil War Kentucky, 1861-1862," Register of the Kentucky Historical Society 109 (February 2013), 327-61 
  • “‘A Question of Power Not One of Law’: Federal Occupation and the Politics of Loyalty in the Western Border Slave States during the American Civil War,” in Bleeding Kansas, Bleeding Missouri: The Long Civil War on the Western Border, eds. Jonathan Earle and Diane Mutti Burke.  Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2013. 
  • The Battle of Wilson's Creek.  National Park Civil War Series.  Fort Washington, Penn.: Eastern National Press. 
  • “The Chrysalis State: Slavery, Confederate Identity, and the Creation of the Border South,” in John C. Inscoe and Lesley J. Gordon, eds., Inside the Confederate Nation: Essays in Honor of Emory M. Thomas.  Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press. 
  • “The Radical Crusade: Frank Blair, Nathaniel Lyon, and the Advent of Civil War in Missouri,” Gateway Heritage (Spring 1990): 22-43 
  • “Shadow War: Federal Military Authority and Loyalty Oaths in Civil War Missouri,” The Missouri-Kansas Conflict: The Civil War on the Western Border website, The Kansas City Public Library, http://www.civilwaronthewesternborder.org, in production.

Review

  • Border War: Fighting over Slavery before the Civil War.  By Stanley Harrold.  Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.  Published in Journal of Southern History. 
  • Creating a Confederate Kentucky: The Lost Cause and Civil War Memory in a Border State.  By Anne E. Marshall.  Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.  Published in Civil War History. 
  • Lincoln and Citizens’ Rights in Civil War Missouri: Balancing Freedom and Security.  By Dennis K. Boman.  Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2011.  Published in Journal of American History.
  • Slavery in Black and White: Class and Race in the Southern Slaveholders' New World Order. By Eugene D. Genovese.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.  Published in Journal of American History. 
  • Bleeding Kansas: Contested Loyalties in the Civil War Era.  By Nicole Etcheson.  Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2001.  Published in Civil War History.
  • Civil War St.Louis.  By Louis S. Gerteis.  Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2001.  The Half Not Told: The Civil War in a Frontier Town.  By Preston Filbert.  Mechanicsburg, Penn.: Stackpole Books, 2001.  Dual review published in The Journal of Southern History.
  • Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory.  By David W. Blight.  Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2000.  Published in Ohio History. 
  • The Old South Frontier: Cotton Plantations and the Formation of Arkansas Society, 1819‑1861.  By Donald P. McNeilly.  Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press.  Published in Journal of American History.
  • This Astounding Close: The Road to Bennett Place.  By Mark L. Bradley.  Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000.  Published in Georgia Historical Quarterly
  • "Rearing Wolves to Our Own Destruction": Slavery in Richmond, Virginia, 1782-1865.  By Midori Takagi.  Charlottesville and London: University Press of Virginia, 1999.  Published in Journal of American History. 
  • Wilson's Creek: The Second Battle of the Civil War and the Men Who Fought It.  By William Garrett Piston and Richard W. Hatcher.  Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000.  Published in Civil War History. 
  • The Battle of Carthage: Border War in Southwest Missouri, July 5, 1861.  By David C. Hinze and Karen Farnham.  Campbell, Calif.: Savas Publishing Co., 1997.  Published in Arkansas Historical Quarterly. 
  • Union & Emancipation: Essays on Politics and Race in the Civil War Era.  Edited by David W. Blight and Brooks D. Simpson.  Kent, Ohio : Kent State University Press, 1997.  Published in Journal of American History. 
  • The Evangelical War against Slavery and Caste: The Life and Times of John G. Fee.  By Victor B. Howard.  Cranbury, NJ: Susquehanna University Press of Associated University Presses, 1996.  Published in North Carolina Historical Review.
  • The Confederate War.  By Gary W. Gallagher.  Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press, 1997.     Published in Civil War History.
  • Biographical Dictionary of the Union: Northern Leaders of the Civil War.  By John T. Hubbell and James W. Geary.  Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1995.  Published in Kansas History. 
  • Black Confederates and Afro-Yankees in Civil War Virginia.  By Ervin L. Jordan, Jr.  Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1995.  Published in Journal of Southern History, May 1997 
  • One Dies, Get Another: Convict Leasing in the American South, 1866-1928.  By Matthew J. Mancini.  Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1996.  Published in Society of Civil War Historians Newsletter. 
  • The Louisiana Native Guards: The Black Military Experience During the Civil War.  By James G. Hollandsworth, Jr.  Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1995.  Published in Journal of Southwest Georgia History. 
  • Yankee Dutchman: The Life of Franz Sigel.  By Stephen D. Engle.  Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1993.  Published in Arkansas Historical Quarterly. 
  • A History of African Americans in North Carolina.  By Jeffrey J. Crow, Paul D. Escott, and Flora J. Hatley.  Raleigh: Division of Archives and History, North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, 1992.  Published in Journal of Southern History.
  • Sweet Chariot: Slave Family and Household Structure in Nineteenth-Century Louisiana.  By Ann Patton Malone.  Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press, 1992.  Published in Civil War History
     
  • Pea Ridge: Civil War Campaign in the West.  By William L. Shea and Earl J. Hess.  Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1992.  Published in Kansas History.

Presentations & Lectures

Invited Presentations

  • "River of Destiny" Bicentennial Riverboat Bicentennial Symposium, sponsored by Rivers Institute, Hanover College, Keynote Lecture, Indianapolis, Indiana. .
  • "Lincoln's Grasp of War" Missouri Conference on History, Keynote Lecture, Jefferson City, Missouri.

Honors & Awards

  • Fulbright Lectureship Award, US State Department/Fulbright Commission, 02/01/2014 to 05/31/2014.

Experience & Service

Work Experience

  • 1991 to 1992, Temporary Assistant Professor of History, The University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia.
  • 1992 to 1998, Assistant Professor of History, Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas.
  • 1998 to 1999, Associate Professor of History, Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas.
  • 1996 to 1997, Visiting Assistant Professor of History, John Carroll University, Cleveland Heights, Ohio.
  • 1999 to 2001, Assistant Professor of History, The University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio .
  • 2001 to 2007, Associate Professor of History, The University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • 2007 to 2016, Professor of History, The University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • 2014 to 2016, Department Head, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Courses Taught

  • -HIST-2020 COMING OF CIVIL WAR
    Level: Undergraduate
    Term: 12FS

  • The Civil War and Reconstruction
    The Civil War and Reconstruction
    Level: Undergraduate
    Term: 13SS

  • The American South Since 1865

  • Race Relations in American History

  • Literature Seminar of Early America
    Literature Seminar of Early America
    Level: Graduate
    Term: 12FS

  • -HIST-4044 US SOUTH TO 1865
    Level: Undergraduate
    Term: 13SS

  • -HIST-3039 LINCOLN
    Lincoln and His World
    Level: Undergraduate