By William W. Freehling
Faraway from a monolithic block of diehard slave states, the antebellum South used to be, in William Freehling's phrases, "a international so lushly a variety of as to be a storyteller's dream." It was once an international the place Deep South cotton planters clashed with South Carolina rice growers, as Northern egalitarianism infiltrated border states already bitterly divided on key concerns. It used to be the realm of Jefferson Davis, John C. Calhoun, Andrew Jackson, and Thomas Jefferson, and likewise of Gullah Jack, Nat Turner, and Frederick Douglass.
Now, within the first quantity of his lengthy awaited, enormous learn of the South's highway to disunion, historian William Freehling deals a sweeping political and social background of the antebellum South from 1776 to 1854. all of the dramatic occasions resulting in secession are the following: the Missouri Compromise, the Nullification Controversy, the Gag Rule, the Annexation of Texas, the Compromise of 1850, and the Kansas-Nebraska Act. shiny debts of every situation demonstrate the dazzling volume to which slavery inspired nationwide politics earlier than 1850 and supply very important reinterpretations of yankee republicanism, Jeffersonian states' rights, Jacksonian democracy, and the factors of the yankee Civil War.
Freehling's amazing historic insights illustrate a piece of wealthy social remark. within the towns of the Antebellum South, within the sizeable residence of a standard plantation, we think anew the tensions among the slaveowner and his kinfolk, bad whites and planters, the outdated and New Souths, and so much powerfully among slave and grasp. Freehling has evoked the previous South in all its colour, cruelty, and variety. it's a memorable portrait, guaranteed to be a key research of this important period in American background.
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Additional resources for The Road to Disunion, Volume 1: Secessionists at Bay, 1776-1854
At japanese Virginia’s southern severe, in so-called Southside Virginia, black proportions handed 50%. West of the westerly Alleghenies, sloping north and west in the direction of the Ohio River, lies the Trans-Allegheny West. so much antebellum counties during this locale possessed less than 10% slaves. At its northern severe, within the so-called Panhandle, western Virginia counties contained just one to five% slaves. so much western Virginians have been Pennsylvania Germans or Scotch Irish or different opportunistic Northerners who had in recent years streamed south via Allegheny Mountain passes. they'd obvious themselves as going now not south yet west. they'd stopped in Trans-Allegheny Virginia simply because mountainous terrain invited a unfastened hard work instead of slave hard work tradition. through 1830, few broadly settled parts of the South have been so northern, so egalitarian, so loose exertions, so antithetical, in brief, to eighteenth-century elitist sensibilities. The Valley of Virginia, among the Blue Ridge and Alleghenies, drew settlers from either previous supporters and new rivals of fading notions that civic advantage needs to be imposed from above. Migrants from jap Virginia, principally of English ancestry, came upon strong customers for slaveholding in river valleys west of the Blue Ridge. Migrants from western Virginia, usually of Scotch or German ancestry, came upon strong stipulations for nonslaveholding farming in hilly terrain east of the Alleghenies. The Valley’s ensuing slave chances have been within the middling 25% region. not anything like so mammoth a impartial region divided colliding regimes in different places within the older South. The combined regime within the Valley possessed the stability of strength simply because jap Virginia, with an unbalanced plurality of constitutional energy, lacked the social purity to exert its authority unanimously. Seepage of western attitudes into japanese strongholds went furthest in towns. right here white nonslaveholding workers, referred to as salary slaves within the proslavery argument, loathed black slaves and resented scornful squires. A rural an identical existed northwards in jap Virginia. Northwestern Piedmont and northerly Tidewater parts close to mountains or close to Washington, D. C. , possessed fewer slaves and extra egalitarian attitudes. japanese Virginia attitudes additionally seeped west, making the most recent Virginia as impurely new as outdated Virginia used to be impurely historic. within the southern Trans-Allegheny, relatively alongside the Greenbrier River, 25% of population have been enslaved. those fairly blackish belts occasionally defended elitist attitudes, not like whiter, extra northern Trans-Allegheny counties. The Panhandle, the main northern region not just of western Virginia yet of the total South, spawned the main uncompromisingly egalitarian model of Virginia republicanism. Virginia, briefly, not just cut up east/west, with appeasers occupying the Valley among, but additionally north/south, with compromisers infiltrating uncompromising japanese and western parts. Or to specific reactionary vulnerability a extra telling approach, Virginia stonewallers faced greater than Virginia progressives mountains and a valley got rid of.