U.s. History - Antebellum Period 1840-1860
Counterrevolution of Slavery
Counterrevolution of Slavery
Paperback      ISBN: 0807848840

In this comprehensive analysis of politics and ideology in antebellum South Carolina, Manisha Sinha offers a provocative new look at the roots of southern separatism and the causes of the Civil War. Challenging works that portray secession as a fight for white liberty, she argues instead that it was a conservative, antidemocratic movement to protect and perpetuate racial slavery.

Sinha discusses some of the major sectional crises of the antebellum era--including nullification, the conflict over the expansion of slavery into western territories, and secession--and offers an important reevaluation of the movement to reopen the African slave trade in the 1850s. In the process she reveals the central role played by South Carolina planter politicians in developing proslavery ideology and the use of states' rights and constitutional theory for the defense of slavery.

Sinha's work underscores the necessity of integrating the history of slavery with the traditional narrative of southern politics. Only by taking into account the political importance of slavery, she insists, can we arrive at a complete understanding of southern politics and the enormity of the issues confronting both northerners and southerners on the eve of the Civil War.

Covered Wagon Women, Volume 3: Diaries and Letters from the Western Trails, 1851
Covered Wagon Women, Volume 3
Diaries and Letters from the Western Trails, 1851
Paperback      ISBN: 0803272871

The wagon trains to California greatly decreased in 1851 as reports of deadly cholera on the trail the year before and strikeouts in gold prospecting became known. Those who did go west-about 2,160 men and 1,440 women-tended toward Oregon's rich Willamette Valley because of a new federal land law that awarded a husband and wife a full section. Volume 3 of Covered Wagon Women contains the diaries and letters of six Oregon-bound women, as well as the journal of an English Mormon woman who described her experience all the way from Liverpool to Salt Lake City. The words of these pioneer women convey their exhilaration, courage, exhaustion, and terror in traveling so far into the unknown. Kenneth L. Holmes was a professor of history at Western Oregon State College. He edited and compiled Covered Wagon Women, drawing on archives and private sources. Susan Armitage is a professor of history at Washington State University and series editor for the University of Nebraska Press's Women in the West series.

Crisis of the House Divided: An Interpretation of the Issues in the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, 50th Anniversary Edition
Crisis of the House Divided
An Interpretation of the Issues in the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, 50th Anniversary Edition
Paperback      ISBN: 0226391183

Crisis of the House Divided is the standard historiography of the Lincoln-Douglas debates. Harry Jaffa provides the definitive analysis of the political principles that guided Lincoln from his reentry into politics in 1854 through his Senate campaign against Douglas in 1858. To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the original publication, Jaffa has provided a new introduction.

Crisis of the House Divided has shaped the thought of a generation of Abraham Lincoln and Civil War scholars.--Mark E. Needly, Jr., Civil War History

An important book about one of the great episodes in the history of the sectional controversy. It breaks new ground and opens a new view of Lincoln's significance as a political thinker.--T. Harry Williams, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences

A searching and provocative analysis of the issues confronted and the ideas expounded in the great debates. . . . A book which displays such learning and insight that it cannot fail to excite the admiration even of scholars who disagree with its major arguments and conclusions.--D. E. Fehrenbacher, American Historical Review

A Cultural Encyclopedia of the 1850s in America
A Cultural Encyclopedia of the 1850s in America
Hardcover      ISBN: 0313285241

The 1850s were a particularly fruitful and eventful period in American history, a time of unrest and preparation for change. This reference work provides a thorough record of the cultural happenings in America during that period. The volume is divided into several sections. It begins with a chronology that presents the events of the 1850s in capsule form year by year. A list of entries follows. The encyclopedia that comes after the list of entries contains brief, alphabetically arranged articles for performers, military personnel, theologians, composers, critics, educators, explorers, historians, industrialists, inventors, authors, artists, physicians, scientists, sculptors, and numerous events and creative works. A bibliography, divided into topical sections, directs the reader to the best sources of additional information. An appendix lists the biographical entries according to professional categories, and a detailed index adds to the usefulness of the volume.

Days of Gold: California Gold Rush & the American Nation
Days of Gold
California Gold Rush & the American Nation
Paperback      ISBN: 0520216598

On the morning of January 24, 1848, James W. Marshall discovered gold in California. The news spread across the continent, launching hundreds of ships and hitching a thousand prairie schooners filled with adventurers in search of heretofore unimagined wealth. Those who joined the procession--soon called 49ers--included the wealthy and the poor from every state and territory, including slaves brought by their owners. In numbers, they represented the greatest mass migration in the history of the Republic.

In this first comprehensive history of the Gold Rush, Malcolm J. Rohrbough demonstrates that in its far-reaching repercussions, it was the most significant event in the first half of the nineteenth century. No other series of events between the Louisiana Purchase and the Civil War produced such a vast movement of people; called into question basic values of marriage, family, work, wealth, and leisure; led to so many varied consequences; and left such vivid memories among its participants.

Through extensive research in diaries, letters, and other archival sources, Rohrbough uncovers the personal dilemmas and confusion that the Gold Rush brought. His engaging narrative depicts the complexity of human motivation behind the event and reveals the effects of the Gold Rush as it spread outward in ever-widening circles to touch the lives of families and communities everywhere in the United States. For those who joined the 49ers, the decision to go raised questions about marital obligations and family responsibilities. For those men--and women, whose experiences of being left behind have been largely ignored until now--who remained on the farm or in the shop, the absences of tens of thousands of men over a period of years had a profound impact, reshaping a thousand communities across the breadth of the American nation.

The Debate Over Slavery: Antislavery and Proslavery Liberalism in Antebellum America
The Debate Over Slavery
Antislavery and Proslavery Liberalism in Antebellum America
Hardcover      ISBN: 0814722121

Frederick Douglass and George Fitzhugh disagreed on virtually every major issue of the day. On slavery, women's rights, and the preservation of the Union their opinions were diametrically opposed. Where Douglass thundered against the evils of slavery, Fitzhugh counted its many alleged blessings in ways that would make modern readers cringe. What then could the leading abolitionist of the day and the most prominent southern proslavery intellectual possibly have in common? According to David F. Ericson, the answer is as surprising as it is simple; liberalism.

In The Debate Over Slavery David F. Ericson makes the controversial argument that despite their many ostensible differences, most Northern abolitionists and Southern defenders of slavery shared many common commitments: to liberal principles; to the nation; to the nation's special mission in history; and to secular progress. He analyzes, side-by-side, pro and antislavery thinkers such as Lydia Marie Child, Frederick Douglass, Wendell Phillips, Thomas R. Dew, and James Fitzhugh to demonstrate the links between their very different ideas and to show how, operating from liberal principles, they came to such radically different conclusions. His raises disturbing questions about liberalism that historians, philosophers, and political scientists cannot afford to ignore.

The Debate Over Slavery: Antislavery and Proslavery Liberalism in Antebellum America
The Debate Over Slavery
Antislavery and Proslavery Liberalism in Antebellum America
Paperback      ISBN: 081472213x

Frederick Douglass and George Fitzhugh disagreed on virtually every major issue of the day. On slavery, women's rights, and the preservation of the Union their opinions were diametrically opposed. Where Douglass thundered against the evils of slavery, Fitzhugh counted its many alleged blessings in ways that would make modern readers cringe. What then could the leading abolitionist of the day and the most prominent southern proslavery intellectual possibly have in common? According to David F. Ericson, the answer is as surprising as it is simple; liberalism.
In The Debate Over Slavery David F. Ericson makes the controversial argument that despite their many ostensible differences, most Northern abolitionists and Southern defenders of slavery shared many common commitments: to liberal principles; to the nation; to the nation's special mission in history; and to secular progress. He analyzes, side-by-side, pro and antislavery thinkers such as Lydia Marie Child, Frederick Douglass, Wendell Phillips, Thomas R. Dew, and James Fitzhugh to demonstrate the links between their very different ideas and to show how, operating from liberal principles, they came to such radically different conclusions. His raises disturbing questions about liberalism that historians, philosophers, and political scientists cannot afford to ignore.

Debating Slavery: Economy and Society in the Antebellum American South
Debating Slavery
Economy and Society in the Antebellum American South
Hardcover      ISBN: 0521571588

Even while slavery existed, Americans debated slavery. Was it a profitable and healthy institution? If so, for whom? The abolition of slavery in 1865 did not end this debate, and it still remains among the most hotly disputed topics in American history. Smith outlines the main contours of this debate, summarizes the contending viewpoints, and weighs the relative importance, strengths and weaknesses of the various interpretations. This book introduces an important topic in American history in a manner that is accessible to students.

The Dominion of Voice: Riot, Reason, and Romance in Antebellum Politics
The Dominion of Voice
Riot, Reason, and Romance in Antebellum Politics
Hardcover      ISBN: 0700609571

In this work of historically informed political theory, Kimberly Smith sets out to understand how nineteenth-century Americans answered the question of how the people should participate in politics. Did rational public debate, the ideal that most democratic theorists now venerate, transcend all other forms of political expression? How and why did passion disappear from the ideology (if not the practice) of American democracy? To answer these questions, she focuses on the political culture of the urban North during the turbulent Jacksonian Age, roughly 1830-50, when the shape and character of the democratic public were still fluid.

Smith's method is to interpret, in light of such popular discourse as newspapers and novels, several key texts in nineteenth-century American political thought: Frederick Douglass's Fourth of July speech and Narrative, Angelina Grimke's debate with Catharine Beecher, Frances Wright's lectures, and Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. Such texts, Smith finds, highlight many of the then-current ideas about the extremes of political expression. Her readings support the conclusions that the value of rational argument itself was contested, that the emergent Enlightenment rationalism may have helped to sterilize political debate, and that storytelling or testimony posed an important challenge to the norm of political rationality.

Smith explores facets of the political culture in ways that make sense of traditions from Whiggish resistance to Protestant narrative testimony. She helps us to understand such puzzles as the point of mob action and other ritualistic disruptions of the political process, our simultaneous attraction to and suspicion of political debates, and the appeal of stories by and about victims of injustice. Also found in her book are keen analyses of the antebellum press and the importance of oratory and public speaking.

Smith shows that alternatives to reasoned deliberation--like protest, resistance, and storytelling--have a place in politics. Such alternatives underscore the positive role that interest, passion, compassion, and even violence might play in the political life of America. Her book, therefore, is a cautionary analysis of how rationality came to dominate our thinking about politics and why its hegemony should concern us. Ultimately Smith reminds the reader that democracy and reasoned public debate are not synonymous and that the linkage is not necessarily a good thing.
Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, Crisis, and Compromise, 1848-1877
Ecstatic Nation
Confidence, Crisis, and Compromise, 1848-1877
Paperback      ISBN: 0061234583

A New York Times Notable Book of 2013

A Kirkus Best Book of 2013

A Bookpage Best Book of 2013

Dazzling in scope, Ecstatic Nation illuminates one of the most dramatic and momentous chapters in America's past, when the country dreamed big, craved new lands and new freedom, and was bitterly divided over its great moral wrong: slavery.
 
With a canvas of extraordinary characters, such as P. T. Barnum, Walt Whitman, Frederick Douglass, and L. C. Q. Lamar, Ecstatic Nation brilliantly balances cultural and political history: It's a riveting account of the sectional conflict that preceded the Civil War, and it astutely chronicles the complex aftermath of that war and Reconstruction, including the promise that women would share in a new definition of American citizenship. It takes us from photographic surveys of the Sierra Nevadas to the discovery of gold in the South Dakota hills, and it signals the painful, thrilling birth of modern America.

An epic tale by award-winning author Brenda Wineapple, Ecstatic Nation lyrically and with true originality captures the optimism, the failures, and the tragic exuberance of a renewed Republic.