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“Popular understanding of treason, not legal definitions in civil courts, guided actions by Union functionaries, both high and low, throughout the Union and Confederacy,” argues William A. Blair. Popular conceptions of treason – widely shared definitions of loyalty and disloyalty – merged with governmental policy and the military to determine the punishment of traitors both during and after the Civil War. Blair adds a flavor of localism to the traditional narrative of treason in the mid-nineteenth century in his newest book With Malice Toward Some, demonstrating that treason did in fact pervade public discourse during the American Civil War. [excerpt]