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 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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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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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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On Know Nothings and Secret Societies – 6

With the election of 1854, a stunning demonstration of the Know Nothings’ magnetic appeal, nativism became a new American rage. Know Nothing candy, Know Nothing tea, and Know Nothing toothpicks were marketed, buses and stagecoaches received the charmed name, the clipper ship Know Nothing was launched in New York. Books appeared with “KN” on the […]

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On Know Nothings and Secret Societies – 3

In the spring of 1850, another nativist fraternity, The Order of the Star Spangled Banner (OSSB) was founded in New York City by Charles B. Allen, a thirty-four-year-old commercial agent born and educated in Massachusetts. (1)  At first a simple “local fellowship numbering no more than three dozen men, there was little to distinguish their […]

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Political History Word of the Day – Jingoistic

I ran across the word “jingoistic” tonight in my reading of a fascinating book, The Party Of Fear: The American Far Right from Nativism to the Militia Movement by David H. Bennett. jingoistic adjective fanatically patriotic [syn: chauvinistic] jin·go·ism Extreme nationalism characterized especially by a belligerent foreign policy; chauvinistic patriotism. jin’go·ist n., jin’go·is’tic adj.,  jin’go·is’ti·cal·ly […]

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