The history of the Civil War in Missouri is not just about states' rights, slavery and secession versus unity, but also one of xenophobia, immigrants and political maneuvering between city and outstate residents. Missouri, a slave state, voted against joining the Confederacy, but it also voted to not aid either side in the conflict. St. Louis' heavy German immigrant population was adamantly anti-slavery and willing to fight to back up those convictions, which led to an armed skirmish in the streets of downtown St. Louis in 1861. By 1864, Confederate general Sterling Price (a former Missouri governor) planned to retake St. Louis after establishing a stronghold on the west side of the state; the Battle of Westport in Kansas City ended that dream. Professor Louis S. Gerteis discusses both these events and everything in between in The Civil War in Missouri: An Illustrated Overview, a free lecture at 12:15 p.m. today in room 402 of the J.C. Penney Conference Center on the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus (1 University Boulevard at Natural Bridge Road; 314-516-5698).
Mon., Feb. 17, 2014