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From the Publisher“It is a truism that the issue of slavery's expansion triggered secession and the Civil War. But as Robert May shows in this important study, it was the possible expansion of slavery southward more than the prospect of slavery in Kansas or other Western territories that provoked passionate controversy. This welcome book gives due weight to pro-Cuban annexationists and Central-American filibusters in the coming of war.”
James M. McPherson, Princeton University
"As viewed by most nineteenth-century Americans, slavery was a Southern 'problem'; to Abraham Lincoln, it was an American problem. Now Robert May has broken past traditional interpretations and literally expanded the borders of the slavery issue to reimagine it as hemispheric - much the way the proponents of slavery hoped, and its enemies feared. This is a strong, astute, and original study - one everyone interested in the great debate of the Civil War era should read."
Harold Holzer, Chairman, Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation
"A thoroughly researched and wonderfully fresh account of the politics of slavery expansion that carries the issue beyond the usual territorial disputes to the entire western hemisphere. May enlarges the stage on which the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates were conducted and indeed points a wide-angle lens at the entire sectional crisis and Civil War. Focusing on Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas, May demonstrates how discussion of slavery's future in the Americas and various colonization schemes were deeply interwoven in their political careers. A most valuable and original piece of work."
George C. Rable, University of Alabama
"In this engrossing book, Robert May offers a new perspective on the Lincoln-Douglas story. Underscoring their sharply different approaches to American expansion toward Latin America and the Caribbean, May makes a distinctive contribution to antebellum political history by adding a southern dimension to the territorial issue. He argues compellingly that divergent views about Latin America and the Caribbean were critical in the secession crisis. May also illuminates the intimate connection between Lincoln's wartime policy toward the region and his views on race. No one interested in the breakup of the Union and the resulting war can afford to miss this book."
William Cooper, Louisiana State University
"May has made a significant contribution to the study of slavery and expansion in the Civil War era. Using the rivalry between Stephen A. Douglas and Abraham Lincoln as his interpretive lens, May argues that the heated debates over the place of slavery in the future of the US during the 1850s involved not only the North American West but the Latin American tropics as well … Required reading for students of slavery, diplomacy and politics of the Civil War era. Summing up: essential. All academic collections."
K. M. Gannon, Choice