Disunion!: The Coming of the American Civil War, 1789-1859

Disunion!: The Coming of the American Civil War, 1789-1859

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Americans debating the fate of slavery often invoked the specter of disunion to frighten their opponents. As Elizabeth R. Varon shows, "disunion" connoted the dissolution of the republic—the failure of the founders' effort to establish a stable and lasting representative government. For many Americans in both the North and the South, disunion was a nightmare, a cataclysm that would plunge the nation into the kind of fear and misery that seemed to pervade the rest of the world. For many others, however, disunion was seen as the main instrument by which they could achieve their partisan and sectional goals. Varon blends political history with intellectual, cultural, and gender history to examine the ongoing debates over disunion that long preceded the secession crisis of 1860-61.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781522671213
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication date: 06/21/2016
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 6.70(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Elizabeth R. Varon is professor of history at Temple University.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction 1

Prologue 17

Part I 1789-1836

1 The Language of Terrifying Prophecy: Disunion Debates in the Early Republic 31

2 We Claim Our Rights: The Advent of Abolitionism 55

3 Ruinous Tendencies: The Anti-Abolition Backlash 87

Part II 1837-1850

4 The Idea Will Become Familiar: Disunion in the Era of Mass Party Politics 127

5 Oh for a Man Who Is a Man: Debating Slavery's Expansion 165

6 That Is Revolution!: The Crisis of 1850 199

Part III 1851-1859

7 Beneath the Iron Heel: Fugitive Slaves and Bleeding Kansas 235

8 To Consummate Its Boldest Designs: The Slave Power Confronts the Republicans 273

9 War to the Knife: Images of the Coming Fight 305

Epilogue: The Rubicon Is Passed: The War and Beyond 337

Notes 349

Bibliography 401

Index 431

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From the Publisher

From the moment the American union was created in 1789, threats and fears of disunion pervaded the polity. At the root of these fears lay the paradox of a slaveholding nation founded on a charter of freedom. With great clarity, Elizabeth Varon shows how sixty years of disunion rhetoric centered on slavery set the stage for secession and war.--James M. McPherson, author of Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief

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