Storm over Texas

Storm over Texas : The Annexation Controversy and the Road to Civil War

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In the Spring of 1844, a fiery political conflict erupted over the admission of Texas into the Union, a hard-fought and bitter controversy that profoundly changed the course of American history. Indeed, as Joel Silbey argues in A Fierce Political Storm, the battle over Texas marked the crucial moment when partisan differences were transformed into a North-vs-South antagonism, and the momentum towards Civil War leaped into high gear. One of America's renowned political historians, Silbey offers a swiftly paced and compelling narrative of the Texas imbroglio, with an exceptional cast of characters, including John C. Calhoun, John Quincy Adams, James K. Polk, and Martin Van Buren. He shows in particular how the Van Buren bloc of the Democratic Party-the "Barnburners"-stood at the heart the annexation controversy. We see how a series of unexpected moves, some planned, some inadvertent, sparked a crisis that intensified and crystallized the North-South divide, which then became, for the first time, a driving force in national affairs. Sectionalism, Silbey shows, had often been intense, but rarely widespread and generally well contained by other forces on the political landscape. But after Texas statehood, the political landscape was transformed into one sculpted by implacable sectional differences. The bitter discord over annexation-with slavery the core issue-was the seed from which America's great crisis of union grew, leading ultimately to Southern secession and Civil War. The Texas controversy released demons that were never again pushed back into the bottle. With subtlety, great care, and much imagination, Joel Silbey shows that this brief political struggle became, in the words of an Alabama congressman, "the greatest question of the age"-indeed, a pivotal moment in American more

Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 144.8 x 218.4 x 20.3mm | 340.2g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • numerous halftones. 1 map.
  • 0195315928
  • 9780195315929

Review quote

"Thomas Jefferson may have heard a 'firebell in the night' when Missouri applied for statehood, but veteran political historian Silbey's cogent analysis suggests that Texas created an even greater crisis two decades later, one that fundamentally altered American party politics, spreading sectional passions more deeply and pervasively than ever before. His work clarifies and sharpens our understanding of how sectional forces played out in politics to bring about a civil war." -Phyllis F. Field, Associate Professor of History, Ohio University "Few, if any, living historians know as much about nineteenth-century American politics and public policy as Joel Silbey. Here he lavishes that mastery on what is arguably the most pivotal turning point on the road to Civil War-the annexation of Texas and the sectional controversy that annexation ignited. This conjunction of masterful historian with an all-important subject yields a book of unquestionable significance to anyone interested in what caused the American Civil War."-Michael F. Holt, author of The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party: Jacksonian Politics and the Onset of the Civil War "One of America's best political historians here demonstrates that Texas Annexation was one of the nation's prime turning points. Silbey's clear writing, impressive learning, and balanced judgments make this book a valuable addition to the excellent Pivotal Moments series."-William W. Freehling, author of The Road to Disunion: Secessionists at Bay, 1776-1854 "As a watershed episode in the collapse into ominous sectionalism, the politics of Texas's admission into the American Union have long demanded special attention. Fusing pacy narrative with shrewd analysis, this splendid book confirms Joel Silbey's reputation as one of the most discerning of American political historians."-Richard Carwardine, Rhodes Professor of American History, University of Oxford, author of Lincoln "Enlightening.... Silbey presents a lucid, fine-grained political history, complete with nuanced profiles of political leaders, that illuminates this watershed era of American history."-Publishers Weeklyshow more

About Joel H. Silbey

Joel H. Silbey is President White Professor of History at Cornell University. One of the leading historians of American politics in the decades before the Civil War, he is the author of Respectable Minority: The Democratic Party in the Civil War Era, The Partisan Imperative: The Dynamics of American Politics Before the Civil War, and Martin Van Buren and the Emergence of American Popular Politics. He is the Harmsworth Professor at Oxford University for more

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58 ratings
3.18 out of 5 stars
5 10% (6)
4 21% (12)
3 52% (30)
2 12% (7)
1 5% (3)
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