Half Slave and Half Free: The Roots of Civil War

Half Slave and Half Free: The Roots of Civil War

by Levine
     
 

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Half Slave and Half Free is a powerful treatment of the basic issues and social transformations that precipitated the Civil War. In a succinct, persuasive narrative, Bruce Levine succeeds in showing how a popular basis for the Civil War developed out of the far-reaching and divisive changes in American life after the incomplete Revolution of

Overview

Half Slave and Half Free is a powerful treatment of the basic issues and social transformations that precipitated the Civil War. In a succinct, persuasive narrative, Bruce Levine succeeds in showing how a popular basis for the Civil War developed out of the far-reaching and divisive changes in American life after the incomplete Revolution of 1776—changes that stemmed from the development of two very distinct social systems, one based on slavery, the other on free labor, which eventually made sectional differences within the framework of the Union irreconcilable.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A good, clear overview of the growing divergence between North and South that culminated in Civil War. In explaining the War's origins, Levine puts the focus where it belongs: on slavery and the struggle to preserve or abolish it."—Peter Kolchin, University of Maryland

"A skillful blending of social, cultural, and political history, Half Slave and Half Free clarifies the complex connections between socioeconomic changes in the first half century of American nationhood and the coming of the Civil War."—James M. McPherson, Princeton University

Library Journal
In this vigorously argued narrative tracking the causes of the Civil War, Levine tries to explain what drove so many working people to commit themselves to the cause of freedom--Southern slaves by their efforts to resist bondage and Northern farmers, mechanics, and factory laborers by their support for free soil and free labor principles. By Levine's reckoning, the slavery issue overrode ethnic and economic concerns and made sectional differences almost irreconciliable within the framework of the Union. Levine succeeds in giving fresh views of the social lives of immigrants, slaves, and working people generally, but his preoccupation with the politics of slavery overwhelms his social history and makes disunion seem more predestined than it really was. Still, this is an eminently readable, intelligent book recommended for use in college courses and for purchase by college/university libraries.-- Randall M. Miller, St. Joseph's Univ., Philadelphia

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780374523091
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
04/08/1992
Series:
American Century Series
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
312
Product dimensions:
5.08(w) x 8.84(h) x 0.79(d)

Meet the Author

Bruce Levine, professor of American history at the University of Cincinnati, is the author of The Spirit of 1848: German Immigrants, Labor Conflict, and the Coming of the Civil War.

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