This comprehensive ready-reference encyclopedia of the history, people, events, places, movements, and issues of the Antebellum South is ideal for student use. Nearly 300 entries, selected for curriculum relevance with the assistance of historians and secondary school library media specialists, are organized alphabetically and thoroughly cross-referenced. The entries cover all aspects of political, economic, military, social, and cultural history of what was an exceedingly complex period fraught with contradictions. Slave life and conditions, plantation society, political and reform movements, revolts, industrialization, profiles with statistics of each Southern state, and biographical profiles of 90 key personalities of the period contribute to the comprehensive coverage of the encyclopedia. Each entry concludes with a bibliography of further reading suitable for students. A chronology of events and more than 45 illustrations from the period complement the text.
The work is dedicated to the history of the South and the southern lifestyle as it was in the half-century before the Civil War and looks at certain events a decade or so outside of this period to provide continuity. The authors have carefully selected entries that reveal the southern perceptions of society, culture, and politics. The South's peculiar institution of slavery and the extension of slavery into the territories are examined not only as uniquely individual elements of antebellum southern society but as themes which permeated the attitudes, beliefs, and actions of the antebellum southerner. The many entries on slave life and conditions provide the reader with a great deal of pertinent information about the institution of slavery and the lives of those enslaved. Easy to use and comprehensive, this is an ideal reference work for schools and public libraries.
On the evening of April 15, 1848, nearly eighty enslaved Americans attempted one of history's most audacious escapes. Setting sail from Washington, D.C., on a schooner named the Pearl, the fugitives began a daring 225-mile journey to freedom in the North--and put in motion a furiously fought battle over slavery in America that would consume Congress, the streets of the capital, and the White House itself.
Mary Kay Ricks's unforgettable chronicle brings to life the Underground Railroad's largest escape attempt, the seemingly immutable politics of slavery, and the individuals who struggled to end it. Escape on the Pearl reveals the incredible odyssey of those who were onboard, including the remarkable lives of fugitives Mary and Emily Edmonson, the two sisters at the heart of this true story of courage and determination.
In Kentucky, the slavery debate raged for thirty years before the Civil War began. While whites in the lower South argued that slavery was good for master and slave, many white Kentuckians maintained that because of racial prejudice, public safety, and property rights, slavery was necessary but undeniably evil. Harold D. Tallant shows how this view bespoke a real ambivalence about the desirability of continuing slavery in Kentucky and permitted an active abolitionist movement in the state to exist alongside contented slaveholders. Though many Kentuckians were increasingly willing to defend slavery against northern opposition, they did not always see this defense as their first political priority. Tallant explores the way in which the disparity between Kentuckians' ideals and their actions helped make Kentucky a quintessential border state.
Matilda Joslyn Gage was a woman's rights' activist during the 19th century, committed to the woman suffrage movement and civil rights. This book brings needed attention to Gage's life and work and explores her impact on women's rights. Using an advanced and distinctive form of feminist thought that encompassed an incisive analysis of patriarchy, Gage even criticized the church as patriarchy's prime sponsor. In fact, Gage connected all of women's oppression, including prostitution, marriage customs, divorce, rape and cusotdy rights to patriarchy, It is perhaps for her radical theory that Gage's arguments remain salient and controversial today. An overdue addition to the scholarship on the role feminists like Matilda Joslyn Gage have played in history, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of United States history, women's history, and women's studies.
Popular media depict miners as a rough-and-tumble lot who diligently worked the placers along scenic rushing rivers while living in roaring mining camps in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Trafzer and Hyer destroy this mythic image by offering a collection of original newspaper articles that describe in detail the murder, rape, and enslavement perpetrated by those who participated in the infamous gold rush. "It is a mercy to the Red Devils," wrote an editor of the Chico Courier, "to exterminate them." Newspaper accounts of the era depict both the barbarity and the nobility in human nature, but while some protested the inhumane treatment of Native Americans, they were not able to end the violence. Native Americans fought back, resisting the invasion, but they could not stop the tide of white miners and settlers. They became "strangers in a stolen land."
The previously untold story of the violence in Congress that helped spark the Civil War
In The Field of Blood, Joanne B. Freeman recovers the long-lost story of physical violence on the floor of the U.S. Congress. Drawing on an extraordinary range of sources, she shows that the Capitol was rife with conflict in the decades before the Civil War. Legislative sessions were often punctuated by mortal threats, canings, flipped desks, and all-out slugfests. When debate broke down, congressmen drew pistols and waved Bowie knives. One representative even killed another in a duel. Many were beaten and bullied in an attempt to intimidate them into compliance, particularly on the issue of slavery.
These fights didn't happen in a vacuum. Freeman's dramatic accounts of brawls and thrashings tell a larger story of how fisticuffs and journalism, and the powerful emotions they elicited, raised tensions between North and South and led toward war. In the process, she brings the antebellum Congress to life, revealing its rough realities--the feel, sense, and sound of it--as well as its nation-shaping import. Funny, tragic, and rivetingly told, The Field of Blood offers a front-row view of congressional mayhem and sheds new light on the careers of John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, and other luminaries, as well as introducing a host of lesser-known but no less fascinating men. The result is a fresh understanding of the workings of American democracy and the bonds of Union on the eve of their greatest peril.
This book explores the multiple dimensions of the antebellum Kansas tempest as a microcosm of the larger history of sectional conflict and reconciliation. It shows, through an examination of the antislavery ends and means of the American Missionary Association, the American Home Missionary Society, and the New England Emigrant Aid Company, that the northeastern free-state contingent in Kansas represented a wide spectrum of opinion on black bondage, ranging from racially egalitarian Christian abolitionist absolutism on the one hand to free labor pragmatism on the other. Nevertheless, Yankee confrontations with the allegedly parallel unprogressive forces of "slavery, rum, and Romanism" in the territory evoked compelling public images of civilization and savagery, freedom and dependence that broadened the appeal of antislavery politics in the free North on the eve of the Civil War.At the same time, the book analyzes the ideology and dynamics of proslavery activism in Kansas, demonstrating how clashing conceptions of republicanism and capitalism helped frame the terms of debate over slavery. It pays special attention to the discrepancy between the strident optimism of proslavery rhetoric on the one hand, and the actual operation of the "peculiar institution" in the territory on the other--a discussion that incorporates a detailed study of Kansas slavery not found elsewhere. Finally, the book argues that the sharp polarities of slavery discourse in Kansas obscured a more ambiguous reality. Southerners resorted to fraudulent voting, and appealed to anti-abolitionism, nativism, and racism to battle not only northern elements but to score points over their proslavery whiggish rivals as well. Schisms within a competitive, business-minded pro-southern elite contained the seeds of Mammon's triumph over political ideology in some proslavery circles, and facilitated a sectional truce at the African American's expense even before the slavery question had faded from the political horizon of the territory. This work is unique in antebellum Kansas literature in that it employs census data in an attempt to reconstruct the reality of the rank-and-file lives--both slave and free, northern and southern, native-born and foreign--that lay behind the stirring public images conjured by "Bleeding Kansas."
Since its publication twenty-five years ago, Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men has been recognized as a classic, an indispensable contribution to our understanding of the causes of the American Civil War. A key work in establishing political ideology as a major concern of modern American historians, it remains the only full-scale evaluation of the ideas of the early Republican party. Now with a new introduction, Eric Foner puts his argument into the context of contemporary scholarship, reassessing the concept of free labor in the light of the last twenty-five years of writing on such issues as work, gender, economic change, and political thought.
A significant reevaluation of the causes of the Civil War, Foner's study looks beyond the North's opposition to slavery and its emphasis upon preserving the Union to determine the broader grounds of its willingness to undertake a war against the South in 1861. Its search is for those social concepts the North accepted as vital to its way of life, finding these concepts most clearly expressed in the ideology of the growing Republican party in the decade before the war's start. Through a careful analysis of the attitudes of leading factions in the party's formation (northern Whigs, former Democrats, and political abolitionists) Foner is able to show what each contributed to Republican ideology. He also shows how northern ideas of human rights--in particular a man's right to work where and how he wanted, and to accumulate property in his own name--and the goals of American society were implicit in that ideology. This was the ideology that permeated the North in the period directly before the Civil War, led to the election of Abraham Lincoln, and led, almost immediately, to the Civil War itself. At the heart of the controversy over the extension of slavery, he argues, is the issue of whether the northern or southern form of society would take root in the West, whose development would determine the nation's destiny.
In his new introductory essay, Foner presents a greatly altered view of the subject. Only entrepreneurs and farmers were actually "free men" in the sense used in the ideology of the period. Actually, by the time the Civil War was initiated, half the workers in the North were wage-earners, not independent workers. And this did not account for women and blacks, who had little freedom in choosing what work they did. He goes onto show that even after the Civil War these guarantees for "free soil, free labor, free men" did not really apply for most Americans, and especially not for blacks.
Demonstrating the profoundly successful fusion of value and interest within Republican ideology prior to the Civil War, Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men remains a classic of modern American historical writing. Eloquent and influential, it shows how this ideology provided the moral consensus which allowed the North, for the first time in history, to mobilize an entire society in modern warfare.
The history of the modern United States Capitol, the iconic seat of the U.S. government, is also the history of America's most tumultuous years. As the majestic new building rose above Washington's skyline, battles over slavery and secession were ripping the country apart. Ground was broken just months after Congress adopted the compromise of 1850. Workers began to bolt the Capitol's 9-million-pound cast-iron dome into place in 1856. The statue Freedom was placed atop it in 1863, five months after the Battle of Gettysburg. Little known is the greater irony: the United States owes the building's scale and magnificence to Jefferson Davis, who remained the Capitol's staunchest advocate up until the week he left Washington to become president of the Confederacy. Davis's prot g and the engineer in charge was army captain Montgomery C. Meigs, who as Lincoln's quartermaster general of the Union Army would never forgive Davis's betrayal of the nation. The Capitol's brilliant architect, and Meigs's longtime rival, was Thomas U. Walter, a Southern sympathizer who would turn fiercely against the South and all who had betrayed the Union.
In Freedom's Cap, Guy Gugliotta, an award-winning journalist, science writer, and author, has captured with impeccable historical detail the clash of personalities behind the building of the Capitol and its extraordinary design and engineering.
This book posits that the American Revolution--waged to form a "more perfect union"--still raged long after the guns went silent. Eight major fugitive slave stories of the antebellum era are described and interpreted to demonstrate how fugitive slaves and their abolitionist allies embraced Patrick Henry's motto "Give me Liberty or Give me Death" and the principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence. African Americans and white abolitionists seized upon these dramatic events to exhort citizens to complete the Revolution by extending liberty to all Americans. Casting fugitive slaves and their slave revolt leaders as heroic American Revolutionaries seeking freedom for themselves and their enslaved brethren, this book provides a broader interpretation of the American Revolution.