Governor Zebulon Baird Vance

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(May 13, 1830 – April 14, 1894)

VANCE, Zebulon Baird, (1830-1894)

Senate Years of Service: (1879-1894)
Party: Democrat

Governor Zebulon Baird Vance
Governor Zebulon Baird Vance.jpg
Library of Congress

VANCE, Zebulon Baird, (nephew of Robert Brank Vance [1793-1827] and brother of Robert Brank Vance [1828-1899]), a Representative and a Senator from North Carolina; born on Reems Creek, near Asheville, Buncombe County, N.C., May 13, 1830; attended the common schools of Buncombe County, and Washington (Tenn.) College; studied law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; admitted to the bar in 1852 and commenced practice in Asheville, N.C.; elected prosecuting attorney of Buncombe County in 1852; member, State house of commons 1854; elected as a Democrat to the Thirty-fifth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Thomas Lanier Clingman; reelected to the Thirty-sixth Congress and served from December 7, 1858, to March 3, 1861; during the Civil War entered the Confederate Army as a captain and was promoted to the rank of colonel (26th North Carolina Infantry Regiment); elected Governor of North Carolina in 1862, and reelected in 1864; removed from office in 1865 when he was arrested and imprisoned in Washington, D.C. for Confederate activities; elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in November 1870, but did not present his credentials; unsuccessful Democratic candidate for election to the United States Senate in 1872; Governor of North Carolina 1876-1878; elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in 1879; reelected in 1884 and 1890, and served from March 4, 1879, until his death; chairman, Committee on Enrolled Bills (Forty-sixth Congress), Committee on Privileges and Elections (Fifty-third Congress); died in Washington, D.C., April 14, 1894; funeral services were held in the Chamber of the United States Senate; interment in Riverside Cemetery, Asheville, N.C.

Bibliography: American National Biography; Dictionary of American Biography; McKinney, Gordon B. Zeb Vance: North Carolina’s Civil War Governor and Gilded Age Political Leader. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004; Mobley, Joe A. ”War Governor of the South”: North Carolina’s Zeb Vance in the Confederacy. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2005

Recommended Reading: Zeb Vance: North Carolina's Civil War Governor and Gilded Age Political Leader (Hardcover: 528 pages) (The University of North Carolina Press). Description: In this comprehensive biography of the man who led North Carolina through the Civil War and, as a U.S. senator from 1878 to 1894, served as the state's leading spokesman, Gordon McKinney presents Zebulon Baird Vance (1830-94) as a far more complex figure than has been previously recognized.

Vance campaigned to keep North Carolina in the Union, but after Southern troops fired on Fort Sumter, he joined the army and rose to the rank of colonel. He was viewed as a champion of individual rights and enjoyed great popularity among voters. But McKinney demonstrates that Vance was not as progressive as earlier biographers suggest. Vance was a tireless advocate for white North Carolinians in the Reconstruction Period, and his policies and positions often favored the rich and powerful. McKinney provides significant new information about Vance's third governorship, his senatorial career, and his role in the origins of the modern Democratic Party in North Carolina. This new biography offers the fullest, most complete understanding yet of a legendary North Carolina leader.

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Recommended Reading: War Governor of the South: North Carolina's Zeb Vance in the Confederacy (New Perspectives on the History of the South) (Hardcover: 288 pages) (University Press of Florida). Description: Zebulon B. Vance, governor of North Carolina during the devastating years of the Civil War, has long sparked controversy and spirited political comment among scholars. He has been portrayed as a loyal Confederate, viciously characterized as one of the principal causes of the Confederate defeat, and called “the Lincoln of the South.” Joe A. Mobley clarifies the nature of Vance’s leadership, focusing on the young governor’s commitment to Southern independence, military and administrative decisions, and personality clashes with President Jefferson Davis. Continued below.

As a confirmed Unionist before the outbreak of the war, Vance endorsed secession reluctantly. Elected governor in 1862, Vance managed to hold together the state, which was divided over support for the war and for a central government in Richmond. Mobley reveals him as a man conflicted by his prewar Unionist beliefs and the necessity to lead the North Carolina war effort while contending with widespread fears created by Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and such issues as the role of women in the war, lawlessness and desertion among the troops, the importance of the state’s blockade-runners, and the arrival of Sherman’s troops. While the governor’s temperament and sensitivity to any perceived slight to him - or his state - made negotiations between Raleigh and Richmond difficult; Mobley shows that in the end, Vance fully supported the attempt to achieve southern independence.

 

Recommended Reading:  Bluecoats and Tar Heels: Soldiers and Civilians in Reconstruction North Carolina (New Directions in Southern History) (Hardcover). Description: In Bluecoats and Tar Heels: Soldiers and Civilians in Reconstruction North Carolina, Mark L. Bradley examines the complex relationship between U.S. Army soldiers and North Carolina civilians after the Civil War. Continued below...

Postwar violence and political instability led the federal government to deploy elements of the U.S. Army in the Tar Heel State, but their twelve-year occupation was marked by uneven success: it proved more adept at conciliating white ex-Confederates than at protecting the civil and political rights of black Carolinians. Bluecoats and Tar Heels is the first book to focus on the army’s role as post-bellum conciliator, providing readers the opportunity to discover a rich but neglected chapter in Reconstruction history.
 
Recommended Reading: The South Was Right! (Hardcover). Description: Kin Hubbard said "'Tain't what a man don't know that hurts him; it's what he does know that just ain't so." Much of what people "know" about the causes, conduct, and consequences of the Civil War "just ain't so." The Kennedy brothers make a strong case that the real reasons and results of the War Between the States have been buried under the myth of Father Abraham and his blue-clad saints marching south to save the Union and free the slaves. Sure, the tone is polemical. But the "enlightened" elements of American opinion have been engaging in a polemic against the South and its people for decades… This book adopts the "following the money approach" to analyzing who profited most from slavery – a convincing argument that reflects that much of the wealth went to the North. It also points out that slavery was not new to Africa, and was practiced by Africans against Africans without foreign intervention. A strong case is made that the North and Lincoln held strong racist views. Continued below.

Lincoln proposed shipping, or transporting, blacks back to Africa  The blacks residing in the Northern states were in a precarious predicament (e.g. draft riots and lynchings in NY City). The authors, however, do not make any argument supporting slavery - their consistent line is the practice is vile. The fact that many blacks served, assisted and provided material support to Union and Confederate Armies is beyond refute. Native Americans also served with distinction on both sides during the Civil War. “A controversial and thought-provoking book that challenges the status-quo of present teachings…”

 

Recommended Reading: The Tar Heel State: A History of North Carolina (Hardcover). Description: The Tar Heel State: A History of North Carolina constitutes the most comprehensive and inclusive single-volume chronicle of the state’s storied past to date, culminating with an attentive look at recent events that have transformed North Carolina into a southern megastate. Integrating tales of famous pioneers, statesmen, soldiers, farmers, captains of industry, activists, and community leaders with more marginalized voices, including those of Native Americans, African Americans, and women, Milton Ready gives readers a view of North Carolina that encompasses perspectives and personalities from the coast, "tobacco road," the Piedmont, and the mountains in this sweeping history of the Tar Heel State. The first such volume in more than two decades, Ready’s work offers a distinctive view of the state’s history built from myriad stories and episodes. The Tar Heel State is enhanced by one hundred and ninety illustrations and five maps. Continued below.

Ready begins with a study of the state’s geography and then invites readers to revisit dramatic struggles of the American Revolution and Civil War, the early history of Cherokees, the impact of slavery as an institution, the rise of industrial mills, and the changes wrought by modern information-based technologies since 1970. Mixing spirited anecdotes and illustrative statistics, Ready describes the rich Native American culture found by John White in 1585, the chartered chaos of North Carolina’s proprietary settlement, and the chronic distrust of government that grew out of settlement patterns and the colony’s early political economy. He challenges the perception of relaxed intellectualism attributed to the "Rip van Winkle" state, the notion that slavery was a relatively benign institution in North Carolina, and the commonly accepted interpretation of Reconstruction in the state. Ready also discusses how the woman suffrage movement pushed North Carolina into a hesitant twentieth-century progressivism. In perhaps his most significant contribution to North Carolina’s historical record, Ready continues his narrative past the benchmark of World War II and into the twenty-first century. From the civil rights struggle to the building of research triangles, triads, and parks, Ready recounts the events that have fueled North Carolina’s accelerated development in recent years and the many challenges that have accompanied such rapid growth, especially those of population change and environmental degradation.

Governor Zebulon Baird Vance North Carolina Civil War History Reconstruction Era Results Details NC, Zebulon B Vance, North Carolina Governor Zeb Vance Achievements, Accomplishments, Facts, Senator

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