The Slaveholding Republic

The Slaveholding Republic : An Account of the United States Government's Relations to Slavery

4.04 (47 ratings by Goodreads)
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Many leading historians have argued that the Constitution of the United States was a proslavery document. But in The Slaveholding Republic, one of America's most eminent historians refutes this claim in a landmark history that stretches from the Continental Congress to the Presidency of Abraham Lincoln. Fehrenbacher shows 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 U.S. policy abroad and in the territories was consistently proslavery. 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." "Advances our knowledge of the critical relationships of slavery to the American government, placing it in perspective and explaining its meaning...One could hardly ask for more." -Ira Berlin, The Washington Postshow more

Product details

  • Paperback | 480 pages
  • 154.94 x 226.06 x 27.94mm | 703.06g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 0195158059
  • 9780195158052
  • 1,095,062

Review quote

Engagingly written, thoughtfully conceived, and filled with flashes of insight. Here is a compelling contribution to the ongoing debate about the nation's ends and means, its better angels, and its fundamental law. * Phillip Shaw Paludan, author of "A People's Contest": The Union and the Civil War * A major historian addresses a major theme in the late Don Fehrenbacher's The Slaveholding Republic. Rigorously based on the original sources, this book accurately and soberly relates the shameful story of how the federal government treated human beings as property. * Daniel Walker Howe, Rhodes Professor of American History, Oxford University * The Slaveholding Republic not only advances our knowledge of the critical relationships of slavery to the American government, placing it in perspective and explaining its meaning, but it also helps frame contemporary debates over the perennial question about the relative power of the nation and the locality. One could hardly ask for more. * Ira Berlin, The Washington Post * Don E. Fehrenbacher's final book, ably completed and edited by his former student Ward M. McAfee, examines the U.S. government's relations with slavery from the founding of the republic through the Civil War ... because of its clear thesis, broad view, and lively narration, The Slaveholding Republic will surely make an influential contribution to the historiography of American politics and slavery. And, like all good books, it raises important questions that deserve further examination. * American Nineteenth Century History *show more

About Don E. Fehrenbacher

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, more

Table of contents

Preface ; I. Introduction ; II. Slavery and the Founding of the Republic ; III. Slavery in the National Capital ; IV. Slavery in American Foreign Relations ; V. The African Slave Trade, 1789-1842 ; VI. The African Slave Trade, 1842-1862 ; VII. The Fugitive Slave Problem to 1850 ; VIII. The Fugitive Slave Problem , 1850-1864 ; IX. Slavery in the Territories ; X. The Republican Revolution ; XI. Conclusionshow more

Rating details

47 ratings
4.04 out of 5 stars
5 38% (18)
4 34% (16)
3 21% (10)
2 6% (3)
1 0% (0)
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