Causes of the Civil War – 9: The Debate Over the War’s Inevitability
Slave Auction

This post concludes a series exploring Causes of the Civil War. A review of the literature reveals – not surprisingly – a lack of agreement over whether the American Civil War was inevitable. Given the fact that it did occur, the question under consideration might be better stated as “at what point in time” did […]

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Causes of the American Civil War – 3: The Antebellum South
Monticello

The Southern man aspired to a lifestyle that had, as utopian model of success, the English country farmer. Jeffersonian agrarianism was valued over Hamiltonian industrialization. To achieve success, cheap labor in the form of slavery was embraced. The capital of the south was invested in slaves even after modernized farming equipment became available. More land […]

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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 – 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 – 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 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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On Slavery, Sectionalism, and the First and Second Party Systems

The “First Party System,” according to Donald Grier Stephenson, pitted the Federalists (created by Alexander Hamilton and including John Adams, Fisher Ames, and John Marshall) against the Republicans or Antifederalists (created by Thomas Jefferson and including James Madison, Albert Gallatin, and Philip Freneau) and “took shape at the national level soon after government under the […]

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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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On Racism in the Antebellum North – 3 – Lincoln

Tonight I wrap up a short series of posts dealing with the topic of racism in the Antebellum North. In post 2, I discussed Stephen A. Douglas’ markedly white supremacist views in his debate against Abraham Lincoln in Ottawa, Illinois on August 21, 1858. Such open discussion of racial inequality is admittedly shocking to me, […]

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On Racism in the Antebellum North – 2 – Douglas

I recently had the opportunity to listen to a performance of the first four debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas. There is no better example of the Northern Antebellum perception of the black man than in the words of Douglas during the first of those debates held on August 21, 1858 in Ottawa, […]

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New Acquisition: Nativism and Slavery: The Northern Know Nothings & the Politics of the 1850's

My copy of Tyler Anbinder’s Nativism and Slavery: The Northern Know Nothings & the Politics of the 1850’s finally arrived yesterday. One of my readers recommended it as one of the best resources on the Know Nothings Party which I’ve just finished a series of posts on. Can’t wait to dig in. ISBN13: 9780195089226 ISBN10: […]

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Fugitive Slave Law Backfires

Interesting reading from Bruce Levine’s text, Half Slave and Half Free : The Roots of Civil War, this evening. He contends that the fugitive slave law that was a part of the Compromise of 1850 actually did more damage to slavery’s cause than good. So long as slavery seemed geographically contained and remote, free-state residents […]

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