At the Precipice: Americans North and South during the Secession Crisis

At the Precipice: Americans North and South during the Secession Crisis

by Shearer Davis Bowman
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Why did eleven slave states secede from the Union in 1860-61? Why did the eighteen free states loyal to the Union deny the legitimacy of secession, and take concrete steps after Fort Sumter to subdue what President Abraham Lincoln deemed treasonous rebellion?

At the Precipice seeks to answer these and related questions by focusing on the different ways in

…  See more details below

Overview

Why did eleven slave states secede from the Union in 1860-61? Why did the eighteen free states loyal to the Union deny the legitimacy of secession, and take concrete steps after Fort Sumter to subdue what President Abraham Lincoln deemed treasonous rebellion?

At the Precipice seeks to answer these and related questions by focusing on the different ways in which Americans, North and South, black and white, understood their interests, rights, and honor during the late antebellum years. Rather than give a narrative account of the crisis, Shearer Davis Bowman takes readers into the minds of the leading actors, examining the lives and thoughts of such key figures as Abraham Lincoln, James Buchanan, Jefferson Davis, John Tyler, and Martin Van Buren. Bowman also provides an especially vivid glimpse into what less famous men and women in both sections thought about themselves and the political, social, and cultural worlds in which they lived, and how their thoughts informed their actions in the secession period. Intriguingly, secessionists and Unionists alike glorified the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, yet they interpreted those sacred documents in markedly different ways and held very different notions of what constituted "American" values.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A valuable resource for those interested in the country's growing friction during the prewar years, especially students and general readers.--Southern Historian

Unconventional yet persuasive. . . . Readers . . . are likely to come away feeling both that the Civil War was largely inevitable and that the instinct of U.S. politics to find compromise solutions is so strong that only a conflict as stark as the one between slavery and human freedom could overcome it.--Foreign Affairs

This work would serve admirably as a textbook. . . . Both academics and general readers will benefit from this study.--The Alabama Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807833926
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
10/04/2010
Series:
Littlefield History of the Civil War Era Series
Edition description:
1
Pages:
392
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
There have been many books about the secession crisis--but nearly all of them have focused on the political brinksmanship and military chest-thumping that led to disunion and war. Bowman widens the lens and provides a thoroughly original, comprehensive, and gripping story of how a more complex tapestry of Americans North and South, male and female, black and white, famous and unknown, dealt with this unprecedented challenge to their national and local identities. The result adds much to the scholarship of the Great Secession winter--and sheds welcome new light on long-neglected themes.--Harold Holzer, author of Lincoln President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter 1860-1861

Meet the Author

Shearer Davis Bowman is an associate professor in history at the University of Kentucky. He is author of Masters and Lords: Mid-19th-Century U.S. Planters and Prussian Junkers.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >