Slavery and the American West: The Eclipse of Manifest Destiny / Edition 1

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Overview

Tracing the sectionalization of American politics in the 1840s and 1850s, Michael Morrison offers a comprehensive study of how slavery and territorial expansion intersected as causes of the Civil War. Specifically, he argues that the common heritage of the American Revolution bound Americans together until disputes over the extension of slavery into the territories led northerners and southerners to increasingly divergent understandings of the Revolution's legacy. Manifest Destiny promised the literal enlargement of freedom through the extension of American institutions all the way to the Pacific. At each step--from John Tyler's attempt to annex Texas in 1844, to the Kansas-Nebraska Act, to the opening shots of the Civil War--the issue of slavery had to be confronted. Morrison shows that the Revolution was the common prism through which northerners and southerners viewed these events and that the factor that ultimately made consensus impossible was slavery itself. By 1861, no nationally accepted solution to the dilemma of slavery in the territories had emerged, no political party existed as a national entity, and politicians from both North and South had come to believe that those on the other side had subverted the American political tradition.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Elegant, witty, and learned, Slavery and the American West is the finest book written on the 1850s since David Potter's classic study.

Civil War History

Serious historians will find Morrison's book well worth reading.

Military Review

A welcome study, a well-written authoritative work that provokes new answers to old but scarcely exhausted questions.

Slavery and Abolition

A strong book that is thoroughly and copiously documented.

Kansas History

A thoroughly researched, carefully reasoned account of antebellum politics. . . . This book is an intellectual tour de force.

North Carolina Historical Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807823194
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/1997
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 416
  • Lexile: 1450L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.48 (w) x 9.68 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael A. Morrison, coeditor of the Journal of the Early Republic, is associate professor of history at Purdue University.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 John Tyler's Hobby: Territorial Expansion and Jacksonian Politics 13
2 Milton's Devil: Slavery Restriction and the Revolutionary Heritage, 1820-1846 39
3 Washington Redux: The Whig Party and the Politics of Slavery, 1846-1848 66
4 Tower of Babel: Social Ideology and the Crisis of Territorial Organization, 1849-1850 96
5 Of Pegasus and Bellerophon: Popular Sovereignty, Stephen A. Douglas, and the Origins of the Kansas-Nebraska Act 126
6 A House Dividing: The Conspiracy Thesis Joined and Defined 157
7 To the Egress: Humbug and the Disruption of the Democracy 188
8 The Eclipse of Manifest Destiny and the Disruption of the Second Party System 219
Conclusion: We Stand Where Our Fathers Stood 252
Notes 281
Select Bibliography 339
Index 389
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