In searching for, editing, and annotating these documents, the CWGK staff has learned a great deal about how Kentucky state and local government functioned in the 1860s. That is, the staff has learned how government should have functioned as well as how it actually functioned. Part of understanding this is from a general understanding of the 19th century Upper South, an understanding gained from the latest historical scholarship. Part of this understanding has come from identifying key political players who have access to levers of power and connections to the problems of everyday people.

This reference section has materials to help users navigate both contexts. Also be sure to see the Exhibits section for deeper explorations of document styles, important themes in CWGK content, and compelling individual stories drawn from CWGK documents.