The Slaveholding Republic by Don E. Fehrenbacher
An Account of the United States Government's Relations to Slavery

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Synopsis

William Lloyd Garrison argued--and many leading historians have since agreed--that the Constitution of the United States was a proslavery document. Garrison called it "a covenant with death, and an agreement with hell." But in The Slaveholding Republic, one of America's most eminent historians, Don E. Fehrenbacher, argues against this claim, in a wide-ranging, landmark history that stretches from the Continental Congress to the Presidency of Abraham Lincoln.
Fehrenbacher ranges from sharp-eyed analyses of the deal-making behind the "proslavery clauses" of the constitution, to colorful accounts of partisan debates in Congress and heated confrontations with Great Britain (for instance, over slaves taken off American ships and freed in British ports). He shows us that the Constitution itself was more or less neutral on the issue of slavery and that, in the antebellum period, the idea that the Constitution protected slavery was hotly debated (many Northerners would concede only that slavery was protected by state law, not by federal law). Nevertheless, he also reveals that US policy--whether in foreign courts, on the high seas, in federal territories, or even in the District of Columbia--was consistently proslavery. The book concludes with a brilliant portrait of Lincoln. Fehrenbacher makes clear why Lincoln's election was such a shock to the South and shows how Lincoln's approach to emancipation, which seems exceedingly cautious by modern standards, quickly evolved into a "Republican revolution" that ended the anomaly of the United States as a "slaveholding republic."
The last and perhaps most important book by a Pulitzer-Prize winning historian, The Slaveholding Republic illuminates one of the most enduring issues in our nation's history.
 

About Don E. Fehrenbacher

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\The late Don E. Fehrenbacher died in 1997. He was the William Robertson Coe Professor of History and American Studies at Stanford University. His book The Dred Scott Case won the Pulitzer Prize in 1979, and he edited and completed David M. Potter's The Impending Crisis, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1977. He was awarded the Lincoln Prize for lifetime achievement in 1997. Ward M. McAfee is Professor of History at California State University, San Bernardino. One of Fehrenbacher's former students, he has published in a variety of fields, including the Civil War and Reconstruction, world religions, and California history. He lives in Upland, California.
 
Published February 8, 2001 by Oxford University Press, USA. 480 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, War. Non-fiction

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