Liberty and Union

Open Road Media
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The two-time Pulitzer Prize winner’s penetrating analysis of the crisis of democracy during the Civil War and Reconstruction eras.

In Liberty and Union, David Herbert Donald persuasively examines one of the most tumultuous periods in American history. With the same wit, eloquence, and willingness to question received wisdom that define his acclaimed biographies of Abraham Lincoln and Charles Sumner, Donald suggests that it was the commonalities between North and South—and not their differences—that led to the earth-shattering conflict that was the Civil War and defined the chaotic years that followed.

Exploring the political, social, and economic impact of the war, emancipation, Reconstruction, and westward expansion, Donald combines history and philosophy, offering a bold and thought-provoking analysis that goes far in explaining the nation we live in today. Riveting, illuminating, and provocative, Liberty and Union sheds a brilliant light on a half-century of US history and addresses a perennial problem of democratic societies all over the world: how to reconcile majority rule and minority rights.
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About the author

David Herbert Donald (1920–2009) was an American historian and the author of many books on the Civil War era, including Lincoln (1995), a New York Times bestseller widely regarded as the definitive biography of the US president. Donald twice won the Pulitzer Prize, for Charles Sumner and the Coming of the Civil War (1960) and Look Homeward: A Life of Thomas Wolfe (1987), and served as the Charles Warren Professor of American History at Harvard University. His other notable works include the influential essay collection Lincoln Reconsidered (1956); Charles Sumner and the Rights of Man (1970), the second volume in his acclaimed biography of the antislavery statesman; and Liberty and Union (1978), a comprehensive analysis of the American scene from 1845 to 1890.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Open Road Media
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Published on
Mar 22, 2016
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Pages
318
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ISBN
9781504034036
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Language
English
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Genres
History / United States / Civil War Period (1850-1877)
Law / Civil Rights
Political Science / American Government / National
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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This collection of eleven original essays interrogates the concept of freedom and recenters our understanding of the process of emancipation. Who defined freedom, and what did freedom mean to nineteenth-century African Americans, both during and after slavery? Did freedom just mean the absence of constraint and a widening of personal choice, or did it extend to the ballot box, to education, to equality of opportunity? In examining such questions, rather than defining every aspect of postemancipation life as a new form of freedom, these essays develop the work of scholars who are looking at how belonging to an empowered government or community defines the outcome of emancipation.

Some essays in this collection disrupt the traditional story and time-frame of emancipation. Others offer trenchant renderings of emancipation, with new interpretations of the language and politics of democracy. Still others sidestep academic conventions to speak personally about the politics of emancipation historiography, reconsidering how historians have used source material for understanding subjects such as violence and the suffering of refugee women and children. Together the essays show that the question of freedom—its contested meanings, its social relations, and its beneficiaries—remains central to understanding the complex historical process known as emancipation.

Contributors: Justin Behrend, Gregory P. Downs, Jim Downs, Carole Emberton, Eric Foner, Thavolia Glymph, Chandra Manning, Kate Masur, Richard Newman, James Oakes, Susan O’Donovan, Hannah Rosen, Brenda E. Stevenson.

In the early months of 1965, the killings of two civil rights activists inspired the Selma-to-Montgomery marches, which became the driving force behind the passage of the Voting Rights Act. This is their story.

“Bloody Sunday”—March 7, 1965—was a pivotal moment in the civil rights struggle. The national outrage generated by scenes of Alabama state troopers attacking peaceful demonstrators fueled the drive toward the passage of the Voting Rights Acts later that year. But why were hundreds of activists marching from Selma to Montgomery that afternoon?

Days earlier, during the crackdown on another protest in nearby Marion, a state trooper, claiming self-defense, shot Jimmie Lee Jackson, a 26-year-old unarmed deacon and civil rights protester. Jackson’s subsequent death spurred local civil rights leaders to make the march to Montgomery; when that day also ended in violence, the call went out to activists across the nation to join in the next attempt. One of the many who came down was a minister from Boston named James Reeb. Shortly after his arrival, he was attacked in the street by racist vigilantes, eventually dying of his injuries. Lyndon Johnson evoked Reeb’s memory when he brought his voting rights legislation to Congress, and the national outcry over the brutal killings ensured its passage.

Most histories of the civil rights movement note these two deaths briefly, before moving on to the more famous moments. Jimmie Lee and James is the first book to give readers a deeper understanding of the events that galvanized an already-strong civil rights movement to one of its greatest successes, along with the herculean efforts to bring the killers of these two men to justice—a quest that would last more than four decades.
WHY THE SOUTH LOST

What led to the downfall of the Confederacy? The distinguished professors of history represented in this volume examine the following crucial factors in the South’s defeat:

ECONOMIC—RICHARD N. CURRENT of the University of Wisconsin attributes the victory of the North to fundamental economic superiority so great that the civilian resources of the South were dissipated under the conditions of war.

MILITARY—T. HARRY WILLIAMS of Louisiana State University cites the deficiencies of Confederate strategy and military leadership, evaluating the influence on both sides of Baron Jomini, a 19th-century strategist who stressed position warfare and a rapid tactical offensive.

DIPLOMATIC—NORMAN A. GRAERNER of the University of Illinois holds that the basic reason England and France decided not to intervene on the side of the South was simply that to have done so would have violated the general principle of non-intervention to which they were committed.

SOCIAL—DAVID DONALD of Columbia University offers the intriguing thesis that an excess of Southern democracy killed the Confederacy. From the ordinary man in the ranks to Jefferson Davis himself, too much emphasis was placed on individual freedom and not enough on military discipline.

POLITICAL—DAVID M. POTTER of Stanford University suggests that the deficiencies of President Davis as a civil and military leader turner the balance, and that the South suffered from the lack of a second well-organized political party to force its leadership into competence.
Since its publication twenty-five years ago, Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men has been recognized as a classic, an indispensable contribution to our understanding of the causes of the American Civil War. A key work in establishing political ideology as a major concern of modern American historians, it remains the only full-scale evaluation of the ideas of the early Republican party. Now with a new introduction, Eric Foner puts his argument into the context of contemporary scholarship, reassessing the concept of free labor in the light of the last twenty-five years of writing on such issues as work, gender, economic change, and political thought. A significant reevaluation of the causes of the Civil War, Foner's study looks beyond the North's opposition to slavery and its emphasis upon preserving the Union to determine the broader grounds of its willingness to undertake a war against the South in 1861. Its search is for those social concepts the North accepted as vital to its way of life, finding these concepts most clearly expressed in the ideology of the growing Republican party in the decade before the war's start. Through a careful analysis of the attitudes of leading factions in the party's formation (northern Whigs, former Democrats, and political abolitionists) Foner is able to show what each contributed to Republican ideology. He also shows how northern ideas of human rights--in particular a man's right to work where and how he wanted, and to accumulate property in his own name--and the goals of American society were implicit in that ideology. This was the ideology that permeated the North in the period directly before the Civil War, led to the election of Abraham Lincoln, and led, almost immediately, to the Civil War itself. At the heart of the controversy over the extension of slavery, he argues, is the issue of whether the northern or southern form of society would take root in the West, whose development would determine the nation's destiny. In his new introductory essay, Foner presents a greatly altered view of the subject. Only entrepreneurs and farmers were actually "free men" in the sense used in the ideology of the period. Actually, by the time the Civil War was initiated, half the workers in the North were wage-earners, not independent workers. And this did not account for women and blacks, who had little freedom in choosing what work they did. He goes onto show that even after the Civil War these guarantees for "free soil, free labor, free men" did not really apply for most Americans, and especially not for blacks. Demonstrating the profoundly successful fusion of value and interest within Republican ideology prior to the Civil War, Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men remains a classic of modern American historical writing. Eloquent and influential, it shows how this ideology provided the moral consensus which allowed the North, for the first time in history, to mobilize an entire society in modern warfare.
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