Far from a monolithic block of diehard slave states, the South in the eight decades before the Civil War was, in William Freehling's words, "a world so lushly various as to be a storyteller's dream." It was a world where Deep South cotton planters clashed with South Carolina rice growers, where the egalitarian spirit sweeping the North seeped down through border states already uncertain about slavery, where even sections of the same state (for instance, coastal and mountain Virginia) divided bitterly on key issues. It was the world of Jefferson Davis, John C. Calhoun, Andrew Jackson, and Thomas Jefferson, and also of Gullah Jack, Nat Turner, and Frederick Douglass.
Now, in the first volume of his long awaited, monumental study of the South's road to disunion, historian William Freehling offers a sweeping political and social history of the antebellum South from 1776 to 1854. All the dramatic events leading to secession are here: the Missouri Compromise, the Nullification Controversy, the Gag Rule ("the Pearl Harbor of the slavery controversy"), the Annexation of Texas, the Compromise of 1850, and the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Freehling vividly recounts each crisis, illuminating complex issues and sketching colorful portraits of major figures. Along the way, he reveals the surprising extent to which slavery influenced national politics before 1850, and he provides important reinterpretations of American republicanism, Jeffersonian states' rights, Jacksonian democracy, and the causes of the American Civil War.
But for all Freehling's brilliant insight into American antebellum politics, Secessionists at Bay is at bottom the saga of the rich social tapestry of the pre-war South. He takes us to old Charleston, Natchez, and Nashville, to the big house of a typical plantation, and we feel anew the tensions between the slaveowner and his family, the poor whites and the planters, the established South and the newer South, and especially between the slave and his master, "Cuffee" and "Massa." Freehling brings the Old South back to life in all its color, cruelty, and diversity. It is a memorable portrait, certain to be a key analysis of this crucial era in American history.
Astounding eyewitness accounts of Indian captivity by people who lived to tell the tale. Fifteen true adventures recount suffering and torture, bloody massacres, relentless pursuits, miraculous escapes, and adoption into Indian tribes. Fascinating historical record and revealing picture of Indian culture and frontier life. Introduction. Notes.
American lore has slighted the cowgirl, although at least one can still be found in nearly every ranching community. Like her male counterpart, she rides and ropes, understands land and stock, and confronts the elements. The writer and photographer Teresa Jordan traveled sixty thousand miles in the American West, talking with more than a hundred authentic cowgirls running ranches and performing in rodeos. The result is a fascinating book that also situates the cowgirl in history and literature. A new preface and updated bibliography have been added to this Bison Book edition.
The religious revival that flourished in the early nineteenth century and changed American life found its most spectacular expression in Rochester, New York. The revival, in Rochester and elsewhere, made the United States the most militantly Protestant nation on earth and had an enormous influence on many Northern antebellum reform movements, including abolition and temperance. But although many historians have discussed its profound and wide-ranging effects, we know very little about its causes. "A Shopkeeper's Millennium" not only explores the interconnections between these vitally important economic, social, political, and religious changes but presents an evocative picture of a rapidly growing frontier city.
The modern woman who tries to juggle private and public roles with equilibrium will discover a spiritual ancestor in Alice Kirk Grierson. The colonel's lady spent most of her life at army outposts on the nineteenth-century western frontier, where she faced the problems of raising a large family while fulfilling the duties of a commanding officer's wife. Fortunately for history, she left a large and extraordinarily candid correspondence, which has now been edited by Shirley Anne Leckie.
Alice was the wife of Benjamin B. Grierson, a major general in the Civil War who won fame for a raid that contributed to the fall of Vicksburg. Her letters begin in 1866, when her husband reentered the army as colonel of the legendary buffalo soldiers of the Tenth Cavalry, and end with her death in 1888. During these years she chronicles the criticism experienced by her husband in commanding one of the army's two black mounted regiments and the frustration when he is repeatedly passed over for promotion, in part because he advocated a more humane Indian policy. All the while her position requires her to assume heavy responsibilities as a hostess. Her letters are just as unflinching in describing the daily hard-ships of raising a family at frontier posts like Forts Riley, Gibson, Sill, Concho, Davis, and Grant, where two of her seven children died young and two suffered from manic-depressive psychosis. They are extraordinary for their insight into nineteenth-century attitudes toward birth control, childbearing, marital roles, race relations, and mental illness.
In January 1917, the war in Europe was, at best, a tragic standoff. Britain knew that all was lost unless the United States joined the war, but President Wilson was unshakable in his neutrality. At just this moment, a crack team of British decoders in a quiet office known as Room 40 intercepted a document that would change history. The Zimmermann telegram was a top-secret message to the president of Mexico, inviting him to join Germany and Japan in an invasion of the United States. How Britain managed to inform the American government without revealing that the German codes had been broken makes for an incredible story of espionage and intrigue as only Barbara W. Tuchman could tell it. Praise for The Zimmermann Telegram "A true, lucid thriller . . . a tremendous tale of hushed and unhushed uproars in the linked fields of war and diplomacy . . . Tuchman makes the most of it with a creative writer's sense of drama and a scholar's obeisance to the evidence."--The New York Times
"The tale has most of the ingredients of an Eric Ambler spy thriller."--Saturday Review