Shapers of the Great Debate on the Civil War: A Biographical Dictionary

Shapers of the Great Debate on the Civil War: A Biographical Dictionary

by Dan Monroe, Bruce Tap

Hardcover

$87.00
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Overview

With the conclusion of the Mexican War in 1848, the United States seemed poised to fulfill the manifest destiny that was on the lips of journalists and politicians. Yet, even before the war was over, tensions over the issue of slavery erupted. Slavery symbolized the social, cultural, constitutional, and economic differences that were dividing the North and South. Through four years of bloody civil war and the loss of over 600,000 lives, the American republic decided the fate of slavery, asserted the supremacy of the federal government over state authority, and began to grapple with the difficult issues of reconstruction. This work provides substantial biographical entries of 20 individuals who shaped and defined the debates during the Civil War period. Political and military figures, such as Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee, writers such as Harriet Beecher Stowe, and abolitionist reformers, such as Frederick Douglass and George Fitzhugh, are included.

With the conclusion of the Mexican War in 1848, the United States seemed poised to fulfill the manifest destiny that was on the lips of journalists and politicians. Yet, even before the war was over, tensions over the issue of slavery erupted. Slavery symbolized the social, cultural, constitutional, and economic differences that were dividing the North and South. Through four years of bloody civil war and the loss of over 600,000 lives, the American republic decided the fate of slavery, asserted the supremacy of the federal government over state authority, and began to grapple with the difficult issues of reconstruction. This work provides substantial biographical entries of 20 individuals who shaped and defined the debates during the Civil War period. Political and military figures, such as Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee, writers such as Harriet Beecher Stowe, and abolitionist reformers, such as Frederick Douglass and George Fitzhugh, are included.

Each biography provides a concise account of the subject's life, followed by an analysis of the figure's role and contribution to the central issues of the day, and concludes with a bibliography of secondary and primary sources available to students. An appendix of over 180 additional biographies highlights the lives of others who played a role in the debates of the Civil War.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780313317453
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date: 07/30/2005
Series: Shapers of the Great American Debates , #6
Pages: 436
Product dimensions: 6.22(w) x 9.52(h) x 1.39(d)

About the Author

Dan Monroe is the author of The Republican Vision of John Tyler and At Home with Illinois Governors: A Social History of the Illinois Executive Mansion.

Bruce Tap is an independent historian who is the author of Over Lincoln's Shoulder: The Committee on the Conduct of the War, which was selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Book. He has also published in Civil War History, Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association, Illinois Historical Journal, and American Nineteenth Century History.

Table of Contents

Introduction: What were the Great Debates?

The Bloody Career of John Brown

Too Late to the Prize: James Buchanan

Freedom National: The Life of Salmon Chase

The Stubborn Resolve of Jefferson Davis

"Let the Voice of the People Rule": Stephen A. Douglas

From Slavery to Freedom: Frederick Douglass and the Struggle for Equality

The Fear of Freedom: George Fitzhugh and the Pro-Slavery Argument

The Eccentric Genius of Horace Greeley

Andrew Johnson and the Challenge of Impeachment

Abraham Lincoln and the House Divided

Duty and Stoicism: Robert E. Lee

The Young Napoleon: George Brinton McClellan

The Triumphs and Contradictions of William H. Seward

Alexander Stephens: Diminutive Whig Statesman

Thaddeus Stevens: Radical of Radicals

Literary Soldier in a Noble Cause: Harriet Beecher Stowe

Charles Sumner and the Struggle for Equality

Clement Laird Vallandigham: Leader of a "Respectable Minority."

Submission or Secession: The Tragic Career of William Lowndes Yancey

Short Biographies

What People are Saying About This

Albert Castel

"Shapers of the Great Debate: A Biographical Dictionary of the Civil War Era is an unusual book. Indeed, it is more than that—it is unique. Unlike previous biographical dictionaries of the Civil War era (1846-1877), which provide short accounts of many people, it not only does that but also presents detailed descriptions of the careers of nineteen people who in various ways performed leading roles in causing, conducting, and concluding the great debates that ultimately took the form of a bloody conflict which kept the United States united and forever destroyed slavery. The result is a book which can serve as an informative reference about and a perceptive interpretation of its subject, thereby making it a valuable source for teachers, for students, and for those who write and read about the Civil War."

Robert W. Johannsen

"In this well-crafted collection of biographical essays, Monroe and Tap have offered an impressive contribution to an understanding of what they term the Great Debates that led to the outbreak of the Civil War. Following a provocative essay on the themes of conflict, they have singled out nineteen public individuals for detailed treatment. Some are obvious—Lincoln, Douglas, Seward; some are less obvious—George Fitzhugh, Harriet Beecher Stowe (the lone woman), Greeley, Vallandigham. Each is supported by the author's research, in footnotes, and bibliography. The result is a significant new perspective on a question Americans ahve debated since the war itself. Designed for the classroom as well as for general scholaraly interest, this collection will prove indispensable."

Mark A. Plummer

"This is no ordinary biographical dictionary of the Civil War; rather it contains well-crafted, in-depth biographies of the most important shapers of the debates and of the war itself. Most biographical dictionaries offer only a thumbnail sketch while Monroe and Tap present us with an armload of well-chosen, article-sized biographies representing the latest scholarship, and written with verve and clarity. An exceptional introductory essay probes the events of which the shapers acted."

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