Causes of the Civil War – 8: The Influence of the Individual
Edmun Ruffin

This post continues a series on exploring Causes of the Civil War. ___________________ Civil War scholar Gabor Boritt posits a fascinating theory that the impact of an individual can, in fact, be more influential in the determination of history’s direction than the long confluence of time.[i] “…It may be declared with confidence that a giant […]

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Eric Foner Lectures on Lincoln and Slavery

Anyone studying 19th century American history will likely have read Eric Foner. WGBH Forum Network provides an audio video lecture Foner provided on Lincoln and slavery in November of 2008 at The Boston Athenaem. It provides some interesting insights on Lincoln’s views on slavery and the Civil War. You can access it here. Eric Foner […]

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Freeaudio.com Carries the Works of Douglass, Lincoln, and Others

In this world of hustle and bustle, having books read to me is a wonderful luxury. Today I found a terrific site, Freeaudio.org, that takes largely public domain works and provides them free to the public in audio form. This trumps my Kindle 2 text-to-speech feature in that real human readers are easier to listen […]

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The Sacking of Lawrence, May 21, 1856 – 7 The Deed

This post completes the series, “The Sacking of Lawrence May 21, 1856.” Read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here, Part 4 here, and Part 5 here, Part 6 here. Free-State men wounded Douglas County sheriff Samuel J. Jones when he returned to Lawrence to serve arrest warrants in the spring of 1856, […]

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The Sacking of Lawrence, May 21, 1856 – 6 The Wakarusa War

David Potter suggests that much of the discord between Kansans and Missourians was less about slavery and more about land claims.(i) The territory had not yet completed land surveys even six months after it opened for settlement so people squatted on land they wanted. Disputes over those claims, largely between Missourian and new Kansan settlers, […]

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The Sacking of Lawrence, May 21, 1856 – 5 Beecher's Bibles

The potential for violence after passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and indeed episodes of violence, increased on the border between Missouri and Kansas as both Free Soiler and pro-slavery factions began actively arming themselves. An agent of the New England Emigrant Aid Society in Kansas, Charles L. Robinson, requested with some urgency a shipment of […]

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The Sacking of Lawrence, May 21, 1856 – 4

The actual number of free-state settlers that made it to Kansas was far more modest than the expectations set in the press but the perception was in the public psyche. When the Kansas Territory’s first governor, Andrew Reeder, called for elections of the Kansas Territorial Legislature on March 30, 1855, pro-slavery Missourians crossed the border […]

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Yale's David W. Blight Lectures on the Civil War Era Online at Academic Earth

A friend tipped me off on Friday to a EXCEPTIONAL site, AcademicEarth.org, which provides free audio-visual lecture series of some of the world’s best scholars. David W. Blight’s entire Spring 2008 term course, The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877, is online for free viewing. Professor Blight is the Class of 1954 Professor of History […]

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The Sacking of Lawrence, May 21, 1856 – 2

The events leading up to 1856 raid on Lawrence began with the opening of the Kansas Territory to settlement with the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. David Potter in his book The Impending Crisis, 1848-1861 posits that William H. Seward, in a speech to the Senate on May 25, 1854, issued a challenge to pro-slavery supporters […]

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The Sacking of Lawrence, May 21, 1856 – 1

One of the most surprising things I learned from reading Michael F. Holt’s exceptional book, The Political Crisis of the 1850’s, was that the “Sacking of Lawrence” was not the murderous affair I had always thought it was. It led to further research on my part and the realization that I was guilty of combining […]

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The Compromise of 1850: Effective Political Action or Forecast of Disaster?

Thanks to everyone that has participated in the Compromise of 1850 Poll going on here. If you haven’t voted, please do! To expand the discussion, let me share my perspective on the question I raised, whether The Compromise of 1850 was an effective political action or a forecast of disaster. Michael F. Holt makes an […]

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The Invention of Party Politics Requires a Page of Its Own

Studying Antebellum America, as I’m doing this term, provides a fascinating look at the development of the notion of “political parties.” Keeping track of all of the political groups in Antebellum America has become a challenge. I need a list or a matrix. That said, I’ve decided to build a new page called “The Political […]

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New Acquisition – Fredrerick Douglass Autobiographies

My study of Antebellum America this term has revealed a significant gap in my library. That has been filled with the arrival this week of Frederick Douglass: Autobiographies. I purchased The Library of America edition. I like the look and feel. It includes three works: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave […]

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