Divided Loyalties; Kentucky’s Struggle for Armed Neutrality in the Civil War
by James W. Finck
Reviewed by Arley McCormick
It is always interesting to review a different perspective and James W. Finck clearly describes and provides an excellent analysis that could influence your opinion of Kentucky’s neutrality stance. Is it possible that the definition of armed neutrality is a euphemism for Northern sympathy? Is it possible that Kentucky’s flirt with armed neutrality was indeed a political realization that the citizens wanted to remain neutral or could it be possible that the course Kentucky’s leader’s chose and influenced was driven more by economics than any other factor that could save the commonwealth from a scorched earth experience similar to Georgia? Could a state with a life style built at the expense of a populace that held 17% of its population in bondage, seven hundred miles of border along the Ohio River fording excellent avenues of approach to the south’s heartland, and five states with either a hardliner northern, secessionist, or undecided sentiments; all great trading partners influence a decision? The author builds the case that self preservation was indeed the principle factor and that most research, explaining the Kentucky condition, in the past placed too much credibility on the outcome of voting rather than the meandering landscape of political leaders and parties seeking an advantage, a compromise, or focused clearly on an emotional responses to the events of the day. All influenced fear, apathy, and absenteeism from the poles. Divided Loyalties is easy to read and Dr. Finck’s analysis seems feasible, and provides another perspective of the view that Kentucky was really Northern at heart. Even as its population is clearly southern by location and disposition; but in fact, leaders gambled that to save the state it must remain neutral. If you enjoy evaluating the preamble to the fight to save the nation, Divided Loyalties is one piece to the puzzle you will enjoy.