The Road to Disunion

The Road to Disunion : Volume II Secessionists Triumphant, 1854-1861

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Description

The Road to Disunion, Vol. II completes William W. Freehlings monumental study of how the South came to begin the Civil War. Perhaps, as William Freehling surmises, the war was inevitable, because the issue of slavery sharply divided the South from the rest of the nation in the 1850s. Certainly the election of Abraham Lincoln as President in 1860 produced a political crisis that could have precipitated a war. Surprisingly, however, Freehling reveals that as a whole the South took a cautious approach after the election. Most Southerners were waiting to see what Lincoln would do and especially if he was going to take any antagonistic measures against the South. As it turned out, it was extremists in the South what Freehling terms the fire-eaters that took over the Southern response immediately after the 1860 election. Ever since the 1830s, but increasingly in the 1850s, these extremists had advocated secession from the Union. Freehling provides compelling profiles of the leaders of this protest many of them members of the elite in South Carolina, as well as figures such as William L. Yancey and Robert Bowell Rhett. Finally, after the 1860 election, their moment had arrived. Suddenly, what had once been essentially been a fringe movement came to dominate Southern politics. First in South Carolina and Mississippi, but then throughout the lower South, secessionist views took told, and so began the Civil War. Freehlings narrative brilliantly describes how this tiny minority grabbed hold of the secessionist issue and drove the South to war, showing how a group of fortuitous events worked in their favor. The book is a major contribution to a history of the American South in the 19th Century and to the coming of the Civil War. It is one of the first detailed accounts of how this small extreme faction led the South to begin the war.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 624 pages
  • 147.32 x 223.52 x 38.1mm | 816.46g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 019537018X
  • 9780195370188
  • 1,698,677

Review quote

This sure-to-be-lasting work-studded with pen portraits and consistently astute in its appraisal of the subtle cultural and geographic variations in the region-adds crucial layers to scholarship on the origins of America's bloodiest conflict. * The Atlantic Monthly * Splendid, painstaking account...and so a work of history reaches into the past to illuminate the present. It is light we need, and we owe Freehling a debt for shedding it. * Washington Post *show more

About William W. Freehling

William W. Freehling is one of the most distinguished American historians of the Civil War era. He is Singletary Professor of the Humanities Emeritus at the University of Kentucky and Senior Fellow at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. He is the author of Prelude to Civil War , which won a Bancroft Prize, The Road to Disunion, Volume I: Secessionists at Bay , and The South vs. the South: How Anti-Confederate Southerners Shaped the Course of the Civil War.show more

Table of contents

ILLUSTRATIONS; MAPS; PREFACE; PROLOGUE: YANCEYS RAGE; PART I BETTER ECONOMIC TIMES GENERATE WORSE DEMOCRATIC DILEMMAS; PART II THE CLIMACTIC IDEOLOGICAL FRUSTRATIONS; PART III THE CLIMACTIC POLITICAL FRUSTRATIONS; PART IV JOHN BROWN AND THREE OTHER MEN COINCIDENTALLY NAMED JOHN; PART V THE ELECTION OF 1860; CONVENTION; LINCOLNS ELECTION; PART VI SOUTH CAROLINA DARES; CODA: DID THE COINCIDENCE CHANGE HISTORY?; PART VII LOWER SOUTH LANDSLIDE, UPPER SOUTH STALEMATE; CODA: DID STEPHENSS AND HAMMONDS PERSONALITIES CHANGE HISTORY?; CODA: HOW DID SLAVERY CAUSE THE CIVIL WAR?; ABBREVIATIONS USED IN NOTES; NOTES; INDEXshow more

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102 ratings
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