U.S. History early 19th Century, 1809-1861. Naval War of 1812, Dolley Madison, Slavery, President Andrew Jackson, U.S. Mexican War, Missouri Compromise of 1820, Anti-slavery Movement, Compromise of 1850, Bleeding Kansas, John Brown, Battle of New Orleans, Underground Railroad.
U.S. History Book Pages on Century Past
About 60 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “United States – Politics & Government – 1783-1865”. Be patient as the page loads. Some books: How the Constitution was Created, The Founding of America, The Papers of John Marshall, Calendar of the Correspondence of Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, Fifty Years of Party Warfare 1789-1837, The Origins of American Presidential Politics, The Portable Thomas Jefferson, Selected Writings of James Madison, Tenche Coxe and the Early Republic, The Washington Community 1800-1828, many more books on U.S. Politics and Government.
‘Collections’ take longer to appear on your screen than single books. On a phone, only about 25 books in a collection may appear.
About 160 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “United States – War of 1812”. Some titles are: A military history of the War of 1812, 1812, the war nobody won, The invasion of Canada, The naval War of 1812, Union 1812 : the Americans who fought the Second War of Independence, The War of 1812 in the old Northwest, Sea power in its relations to the war of 1812. Be patient as the page loads.
About 75 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “United States – History – Politics & Government – 1815-1861”. Some titles are: Arguing About Slavery, What hath God wrought, The life of Andrew Jackson, John C. Calhoun and the price of union : a biography, Slavery and the coming of the Civil War, 1831-1861, The great triumvirate : Webster, Clay, and Calhoun, John Tyler, The transformation of American politics, 1840-1860, Henry Clay the lawyer, A nation torn : the story of how the Civil War began, Martin Van Buren and the American political system, Daniel Webster, “the completest man”.
About 50 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “United States – Economic Conditions – to 1865”. Some titles are: Development of the industrial U.S., America’s first Great Depression : economic crisis and political disorder after the Panic of 1837, The industrial revolution in America, The growth of the American economy to 1860, American economic development in historical perspective, The economy of colonial America, The economy of British America, 1607-1789, The elusive Republic : political economy in Jeffersonian America, Life during the industrial revolution, Adam Smith and the origins of American enterprise, The urban crucible : the northern seaports and the origins of the American Revolution, Work and labor in early America, Modernization : the transformation of American life, 1600-1865, John Jacob Astor : business and finance in the early republic.
See our selection of free history magazines
About 30 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “United States – Civilization – 1783-1865”. Some books: Ideology and Power in the Age of Jackson, Writing and Postcolonialism in the Early Republic, Notions of the Americans 1820-1860, The Life of the Mind in America from the Revolution to the Civil War, family Album for Americans, The Intellectual Construction of America, The Rising Glory of America, many more books on U.S. Civilization.
About 200 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Antislavery Movements”. Some books: New Perspectives on the Abolitionists, The Abolition of American Slavery, The Story of the Abolitionists, Business and Slavery: the New York merchants, The Antislavery Appeal, Anti-Abolition Mobs in Jacksonian America, Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, The Antislavery Vanguard, The Story of the Underground Railway, Slavery and the Struggle against It, many more books on Anti-Slavery Movements.
About 30 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “United States – Mexican War, 1845-1848”. Some titles are: Army of Manifest Destiny : the American soldier in the Mexican War, 1846-1848, Texas and the war with Mexico, The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Zachary Taylor : soldier, planter, statesman of the old Southwest, The Mexican War, 1846-1848, Chronicles of the gringos: the U.S. Army in the Mexican War, 1846-1848; accounts of eyewitnesses & combatants, War with Mexico, To the halls of the Montezumas : the Mexican War in the American imagination.
Message from the President of the United States Recommending an Immediate Declaration of War, Against Great Britain
Washington: 1812 Dewey Dec. 973.5
President James Madison’s 12-page letter to Congress, dated June 1, 1812, explaining the reasons he considered it necessary to declare war against Great Britain. Published in 1812.
Holt 2006 Dewey Dec. 973.5
“An extraordinary American comes to life in this vivid, groundbreaking portrait of the early days of the republic – and the birth of modern politics. Within a few years [of her arrival in Washington in 1812], she had mastered both the social and political intricacies of the city, and by her death in 1849 was the most celebrated person in Washington… Catherine Allgor reveals that while Dolley’s gender prevented her from openly playing politics, those very constraints of womanhood allowed her to construct an American democratic ruling style, and to achieve her husband’s political goals. And the way that she did so – by emphasizing cooperation over coercion, building bridges instead of bunkers – has left us with not only an important story about our past but a model for a modern form of politics.” -Publisher
Contents: Prologue — 1. Mrs. Madison goes to Washington — 2. Meeting Madison — 3. Lady about town — 4. Social work — 5. The merry affair — 6. Portrait of a lady — 7. Sex, lies, and the election of 1808 — 8. Lady presidentess — 9. Presiding genius — 10. “The great centre of attraction” — 11. Family matters — 12. The Republican Queen — 13. Affairs to remember — 14. “Mr. Madison’s war” — 15. Potomac phoenix — 16. To home and history — 17. Legacies — Epilogue.
University of Virginia 2000 Dewey Dec. 973.5
When Thomas Jefferson moved his Republican administration into the new capital city in 1801, one of his first acts was to abolish any formal receptions, except on specific holidays. However, without the face-to-face relationships and networks created in society, the American experiment in government could not function. Into this conundrum stepped women like Dolley Madison and Louisa Catherine Adams, women of political families who used the unofficial, social sphere to cement the relationships that politics needed to work. Constrained by the cultural taboos on “petticoat politicking,” women rarely wrote forthrightly about their ambitions and plans, preferring to cast their political work as an extension of virtuous family roles. But by analyzing their correspondence, gossip events, “etiquette wars,” and the material culture that surrounded them, Allgor finds that these women acted with conscious political intent. In the days before organized political parties, the social machine built by these early federal women helped to ease the transition from a failed republican experiment to a burgeoning democracy.
Contents: President Thomas Jefferson in Washington City — Dolley Madison takes command — Washington women in public — Louisa Catherine Adams campaigns for the presidency — The fall of Andrew Jackson’s cabinet
Babcock, Kendric Charles
1906 Dewey Dec. 973.5
Deals mainly with the War of 1812 and its results. Includes a bibliography and maps.
“Accuracy and impartiality are its distinctive characteristics.” Outlook
Contents: 1. The Reign of Faction (1809-1811) 2. Problems of the Southwest and Northwest (1810-1812) 3. French Duplicity and English Stubbornness (1810-1812) 4. New Elements in Control (1811-1812) 5. The Declaration of War (1812) 6. On to Canada (1809-1812) (1812-1814) 7. The Naval War (1812-1814) 8. The Southwest and the Centre (1813-1815) 9. New England and the War (1811-1815) 10. Peace Negotiations (1813-1815) 11. The Results of the War (1815) 12. Party Divisions and Personalities (1815-1819) 13. War Finance and the Second Bank (1816) 14. The Tariff (1815-1818) 15. Westward Migration and Internal Improvements (1815-1819) 16. Negotiations with England (1815-1818) 17. Relations with Spain (1815-1821) 18. The Great Decisions of the Supreme Court (1816-1824) 19. Critical Essay on Authorities
Remembering Slavery: African Americans Talk about their Personal Experiences of Slavery and Emancipation
Berlin, Ira, Favreau, Marc, and Miller, Steven F.
New Press 1998 Dewey Dec. 973.6
“Using excerpts from the thousands of interviews conducted with ex-slaves in the 1930s by researchers working with the Federal Writers’ Project, the astonishing audiotapes made available the only known recordings of people who actually experienced enslavement–recordings that had gathered dust in the Library of Congress until they were rendered audible for the first time specifically for this set… Includes a comprehensive introductory essay by preeminent slavery historian Ira Berlin, chapters on aspects of slave life, including relationships with owners, work, family culture, the Civil War, and Emancipation; complete transcript of the live recordings [packaged with the book], extensive additional interviews with former slaves; little-known period photographs, including some of the former slaves interviewed on the companion tapes.” Publisher
Contents: Slavery as memory and history — The faces of power: slaves and owners — Work and slave life: “from can to can’t” — Family life in slavery: “our folks” — Slave culture: “honest and fair service to the Lord and all mankind everywhere” — Slaves no more: Civil War and the coming of freedom — Appendixes.
See our page of free books on the history of Canada
1916 Dewey Dec. 973.6
A popular narrative history of the causes and events of the war between the United States and Mexico, 1846-48.
Contents: 1. Texas and the Kingdom of New Spain 2. The Mexican War of Independence 3. Migration of Americans to Texas 4. “Remember the Alamo!” 5. Mediation and Annexation 6. Causes of the War 7. Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma 8. The Conquest of California 9. Monterey and Buena Vista 10. New Mexico and Chihuahua 11. Vera Cruz and Cerro Gordo 12. From Puebla to Churubusco 13. The Fall of the City of Mexico 14. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo 15. The Results of the War
Bordewich, Fergus M
Amistad 2005 Dewey Dec. 973.6
Bound for Canaan tells the stories of men and women like David Ruggles, who invented the black underground in New York City; bold Quakers like Isaac Hopper and Levi Coffin, who risked their lives to build the Underground Railroad; and the inimitable Harriet Tubman. Interweaving thrilling personal stories with the politics of slavery and abolition, Bound for Canaan shows how the Underground Railroad gave birth to this country’s first racially integrated, religiously inspired movement for social change.
Contents: pt. 1. Beginnings: 1800 to 1830. — An evil without remedy — The fate of millions unborn — A gadfly in Philadelphia — The hand of God in North Carolina — The spreading stain — pt. 2. Connections: The 1830s. — Free as sure as the Devil — Fanatics, disorganizers, and disturbers of the peace — The grandest revolution the world has ever seen — A whole-souled man — pt. 3. Confrontation: The 1840s. — Across the Ohio — The car of freedom — Our watchword is ONWARD — The saltwater underground — pt. 4. Victory: The 1850s. — A disease of the body politic — Do we call this the land of the free? — General Tubman — Laboratories of freedom — The last train
Bowers, Claude G.
1922 Dewey Dec. 973.5
“Brilliant, impartial and fascinating record of a stormy time, with sharply etched pen portraits of its leaders and a vivid picture of Washington society in the ’30’s. Bibliography. NY State Library
“With keen-sighted scholarship and in facile style he has achieved a volume of admirable historical quality, worthy to rank with the finest modern presentations of men and events, and falling into the class of Charnwood’s Lincoln, Beveridge’s Marshall, and Whitlock’s Belgium because of its monumental study and progressive psychology.” W. G. McAdoo in International Book Review
Contents: 1. The Washington of the Thirties 2. The Rising of the Masses 3. The Red Terror and the White 4. Jackson Breaks with Calhoun 5. Mrs. Eaton Demolishes the Cabinet 6. Kitchen Cabinet Portraits 7. Clay Leads the Party Onslaught 8. Clay Fins his Issue 9. The Dramatic Battle of 1832 10. The Politics of Nullification 11. Jackson vs. Biddle 12. The Battle of the Gods 13. Political Hydrophobia 14. Whig Disloyalty in the French Crisis 15. The Battle of the Succession 16. Twilight Triumphs Books, Papers, and Manuscripts Cited and Consulted
Buchanan, James (President)
NY: Appleton 1866 Dewey Dec. 973.6
“The following historical narrative of the events preceding the late rebellion was prepared soon after its outbreak, substantially in its present form…. The narrative will prove that the original and conspiring causes of all our future troubles are to be found in the long, active, and persistent hostility of the Northern Abolitionists, both in and out of Congress, against Southern slavery, until the final triumph of their cause in the election of President Lincoln; and on the other hand, the corresponding antagonism and violence with which the advocates of slavery resisted these efforts, and vindicated its preservation and extension up till the period of secession… The authorities cited in the work will show that Mr. Buchanan never failed upon all suitable occasions, to warn his countrymen of the approaching danger, and to advise them of the proper means to avert it. Both before and after he became President he was an earnest advocate of compromise between the parties to save the Union, but Congress disregard his recommendations.” -Author’s Preface
Burgess, John W.
NY: Scribner’s Sons 1909 Dewey Dec. 973.5
Portrays the struggle between the national and states-rights theories, tracing their growth from the Missouri Compromise.
Contents: Nationalization of the old Republican party – Acquisition of Florida – Slavery in the U.S. before 1820 – Creation of the Commonwealth of Missouri – Beginning of the Particularistic Reaction – Presidential election of 1824 – Division of the Republican Party – Democratic opposition to internal improvements and protection – United States Bank and the presidential contest of 1832 – Nullification – Abolition – The Bank, the sub-Treasury and party development between 1832 and 1842 – Texas – Oregon – “Re-annexation of Texas and re-occupation of Oregon” – War with Mexico – Organization of Oregon Territory and the Compromise of 1850 – Execution of the Fugitive Slave Law, and the election of 1852 – Repeal of the Missouri Compromise – Struggle for Kansas – Dred Scott case – Struggle for Kansas concluded
Chadwick, French Ensor
1906 Dewey Dec. 973.6
“The author presents the full significance of the John Brown raid, pictures the attitude of Buchanan and his unsuccessful attempts at compromise, discusses the status of the federal forts, pays tribute to the high minded attitude of Lincoln and closes with the fall of Sumter.” Book Review Digest.
Contents: 1. Drift towards Southern Nationalization (1850-1860) 2. The Slave-Holding South (1850-1860) 3. Dominance of Calhoun’s Political Conceptions (1850-1860) 4. Expectations of the South (1850-1860) 5. The John Brown Raid (1858-1859) 6. Rising Spirit of Antagonism in Congress (1859-1860) 7. Preliminaries of the Presidential Election (1860) 8. The Tide of Separation (September-November, 1860) 9. Secession Accomplished (October, 1860 – February, 1861) 10. Buchanan’s Attitude towards Secession (November – December, 1860) 11. Schemes of Compromise (December, 1860 – January, 1861) 12. Status of the Forts (October 29, 1860 – December 20, 1860) 13. The Fort Sumter Crisis (December 2, 1860 – January 8, 1861) 14. Episode of the Star of the West (January, 1861) 15. Fort Pickens and the Confederacy (January, 1861 – February, 1861) 16. Border States and Second Effort at Compromise (January, 1861 – February, 1861) 17. Lincoln’s Attitude (December, 1860 – February, 1861) 18. The Last Negotiation (March 4, 1861 – April 12, 1861) 19. The Fall of Fort Sumter (April, 1861) 20. Critical Essay on Authorities
See our collected articles about U.S. History in the 19th Century
London: Chambers 1857 Dewey Dec. 973.5
William Chambers (1800-1883) was a Scottish publisher and politician who, with his brother Robert, published books in Edinburgh and London and also published the periodical “Chambers Edinburgh Journal”, which began in 1832. William Chambers travelled in American in 1854 and wrote in the Preface of this 1857 volume that, “The sight of a few slave sales has a wonderful effect in awakening the feelings on the subject of slavery. The thing is seen to be an undeniable reality – no mere invention of a novelist. … For three years, I have been haunted by recollections of that saddening scene, and taken a gradually deepening interest in American Slavery.”
Chambers wrote substantial articles on American slavery for each of several 1857 issues of “Chambers Edinburgh Journal”, educating his British readers on the heated propaganda war taking place there as well as related political events such as the 1850 Missouri Compromise. He then published a collection of those articles in this volume.
Connor, Seymour V. and Faulk, Odie B.
Oxford University 1971 Dewey Dec. 973.6
“… too many scholars who have written about this war did so from a position of preconceived bias, placing emphasis on such vaguely related issues as the slavery conflict, American “imperialism,” the so-called Nueces boundary dispute, and the alleged intrigues of the much-maligned James K. Polk (to the extent that they forgot other important considerations). For example, historians have worried so endlessly about when Polk framed his war message (before or after receiving notice from Taylor about the Mexican attack on Thornton’s dragoons) that they have failed to note that Mexico already had declared war on the United States; they have argued the abstract concept of Manifest Destiny to the extent that they have forgotten the British desire for California; nor have they considered the British involvements in Mexico stemming from the English argument with the United States over the Oregon Territory.” – Author’s Preface
Contents: Origins of the war — Taylor’s campaign — New Mexico and Chihuahua — The far west — The decisive campaign — Nations divided — End of war.
Corey, Albert B.
New Haven: Yale University 1941 Dewey Dec. 973.5
Published for the Carnegie Endowment of International Peace. The crisis in question brought the U.S. and Great Britain extremely close to war, which was only avoided, according to the author, by the efforts of a handful of British and American statesmen; most notably Lord Durham. Not only did they prevent war, they earned some of the credit for the fact that the border between America and Canada remains relatively unguarded to this day.
Contents: The setting: countries and peoples – Before the rebellions – The border in ferment – Curbing the patriots – Rise of the secret societies – Crosscurrents of opinion – Military and naval problems: policy and practice – The hunters try again – The McLeod Case – National defense – The Webster Ashburton Treaty – Conclusion
NY: Scribern’s Sons 1942 Dewey Dec. 973.6
The author has tried to study the causes of the war as a scientist and not as a partisan. Recent scholars had “lost respect for simple explanations of the growth of sectional consciousness and sectional hatreds. Economic and social forces as well as political ones have been considered and the effort to fix blame has yielded to a desire to know why Americans only two generations away from the formation of their Union should have held positions so uncompromisable that only a war could alter them.” -Author’s Preface.
Contents: The National setting – A way of life – The rural depression, 1800-1832 – By the sweat of their faces – The cotton kingdom rises – The northern attack on slavery – The southern defense of slavery – Slavery and expansion – The politicians and slavery – Political revolt – The first crisis – The union on trial – The northwest gets excited – Sectional reactions to events – Building the Republican Party – The last crisis – The breakup of the union
Campaigns of the War of 1812-15, against Great Britain, sketched and criticized; with brief biographies of the American engineers
Cullum, George W.
NY: Miller 1879 Dewey Dec. 973.5
“This work does not profess to give a minute history of the War of 1812-1815, by the U.S. against Great Britain; but the sketches of the campaigns are sufficiently detailed for an intelligent understanding of their military features, and to indicate their tactical and strategical errors. Each campaign is illustrated with a good skeleton map of its theatre of operations and with outline plans of its principal battles, sieges, etc.” – Author’s Preface
Contents: Military Education And Causes Of The War; With A Biographical Sketch Of Brigadier-General Williams, – Campaign Of 1812; With A Biographical Sketch Of Major-General Joseph G. Totten – Western Campaign Of 1813; With A Biographical Sketch Of Ld3ut.-Colonel Eleazer D. Wood – Eastern Campaign Of 1813; With A Biographical Sketch Of Brig.-General Joseph G. Swift – Campaign Of 1814; With A Biographical Sketch Of Colonel William Mcree – Siege And Defense Of Fort Erie, In 1814; With A Biographical Sketch Of Major David Bates Douglass – Chesapeake Campaign Of 1813-14 ; With A Biographical Sketch Of Brig. General Walker K. Armistead – Louisiana Campaign Of 1814-15; With A Biographical Sketch Of Major A. Lacarriere Latour – Biographical Sketches Of Engineers Engaged In The War Of 1812-15 – Brig.-General Charles Gratiot – Captain William Partridge – Brig.-General Sylvanus Thayer – Brig.-General Rene” E. De Russy – Lieut. George Trescot – Lieut. Horace C. Story – Journal Of The Northwestern Campaign Of 1812-13 – Under Major-General William H. Harrison By Bvt. Lieut.-Colonel Eleazer D. Wood, Capt. Corps Of Engineers, U. S. Army
Daughan, George C.
Basic 2011 Dewey Dec. 973.5
In 1812: The Navy’s War, award-winning naval historian George C. Daughan tells the astounding story of the War of 1812, when a tiny, battle-tested team of American commanders, seamen, and privateers took on the haughty skippers of the mighty Royal Navy, defeated them time and again, and played a key role in winning the conflict that cemented America’s newly won independence. When war broke out in 1812, America’s prospects looked dismal. With the young republic’s merchantmen facing increasing harassment from the British navy on the high seas, it was clear that the ocean would be the war’s primary battlefield — but America’s navy, only twenty ships strong, faced a practiced British fleet of more than a thousand men-of-war. Still, through a combination of nautical deftness and sheer bravado, a handful of heroic captains — men like Oliver Hazard Perry, Stephen Decatur, John Rodgers, and Isaac Hull — and their stalwart crews managed to take the fight to the British, turning the tide of the war: on the Great Lakes, in the Atlantic, and even in the eastern Pacific. Drawing on a wealth of archival research, Daughan thrillingly details the pitched naval battles that shaped the war, and shows how American naval efforts dovetailed with — and often salvaged — the U.S. Army’s troubled campaigns ashore. By the war’s end in 1815, no American could question the navy’s vital role in preserving the nation’s independence and safeguarding its interests, both at home and across the globe. A stunning contribution to military and national history, 1812: The Navy’s War is the first complete account in more than a century of how the U.S. Navy rescued the fledgling nation and secured America’s future.
Contents: Roots of war — Free trade and sailors’ rights — Jefferson’s embargo and the slide toward war — Madison’s strategy — The United States declares war — Blue-water victories — The Constitution and the Guerriere — Ripe apples and bitter fruit: the Canadian invasion — Canadian disasters accumulate — More blue-water victories — The Constitution and the Java — A sea change — Napoleon and Alexander — The Canadian invasion resumes — The Chesapeake and the Shannon — Raids in Chesapeake Bay — Oliver Hazard Perry and Lake Erie — Attack on Montreal — The war at sea in 1813 — The allies and Napoleon — British and American war plans — The British blockade — The Essex — Burning Washington — The war at sea continues in 1814 — Negotiations begin at Ghent — Baltimore — Plattsburg — A peace treaty — The Hartford Convention — New Orleans — An amazing change — A new era — From temporary armistice to lasting peace: the importance of the war.
The Half Century, or, A History of the Changes that have taken place and events that have transpired, chiefly in the United States, between 1800 and 1850
Davis, Emerson, D.D.
Boston: Tappan & Whittemore 1851 Dewey Dec. 973.5
“It seemed to me that I should perform a good service to my countrymen if I should post up the books and present a condensed view of those events which, at the time, excited the most general interest, and of those changes which have taken place in our social condition…. few men have time enough to spare from their daily occupation to keep themselves fully informed of all that is doing in all the departments of literature and science, of arts and manufactures, and of politics and religion …” -Author’s Preface
Contents: Political changes and events – Educational changes – Charitable educational institutions – Moral reformation – Improvements in the means of intercommunication – Progress of science – Inventions, arts, and manufactures – Christian benevolence – Religious controversies – New religious sects – Miscellanies
De Voto, Bernard Augustine
Boston: Houghton Mifflin 1950 Dewey Dec. 973.5
“‘Year of Decision 1846’ tells many fascinating stories of the U.S. explorers who began the western march from the Mississippi to the Pacific, from Canada to the annexation of Texas, California, and the southwest lands from Mexico. It is the penultimate book of a trilogy which includes ‘Across the Wide Missouri’ (for which DeVoto won both the Pulitzer and Bancroft prizes) and ‘The Course of Empire’. DeVoto’s narrative covers the expanding Western frontier, the Mormons, the Donner party, Fremont’s exploration, the Army of the West, and takes readers into Native American tribal life.” -Publisher
A true history of the Missouri Compromise and its repeal, and of African slavery as a factor in American politics
Dixon, Mrs. Archibald (Susan B. Dixon)
Cincinnati: Clarke 1903 Dewey Dec. 973.6
“The truth of history, and justice to the author of the Repeal of the Missouri Compromise, Hon. Archibald Dixon of Kentucky, alike demand from one who was in a position to know the facts, a clear statement of the origin, the motives and the circumstances of that Repeal. The history of the Repeal necessitates that of the Compromise itself. … The events, motives and purposes leading up to these Acts have been mostly ignored by our historians, or else much misrepresented … ” Author’s Preface
Dumond, Dwight L.
University of Michigan 1961 Dewey Dec. 973.6
“This work of dedicated scholarship and immense learning reveals with extraordinary force the truth behind the Civil War. Year by year slavery in the U.S. became more sinister. It contaminated the body politic, it tainted all institutional life, it became a colossus of arbitrary power and greed.” – Publisher
“Here, in one volume, is contained enough evidence, enough information to wipe segregation from our land. It is fascinating, though at times cruel reading. But it is factual. It has the force of a sledge hammer. I defy anyone to read this book without cringing with shame and embarrassment. It is a must reading for all Americans, North and South.” – Historian Benjamin Fine
Oxford Univ. 2003 Dewey Dec. 973.6
James K. Polk held the office of President from 1845 to 1849, a period when the expansion of slavery into the territories emerged as a pressing question in American politics. During his presidency, the slave period of Texas was annexed and the future of slavery in the Mexican Cession was debated. Polk also owned a substantial cotton plantation in northern Mississippi and 54 slaves. He was an absentee master who had a string of overseers or agents manage his plantation and did not visit his estate while he was in the White House. In this book, William Dusinberre reconstructs the world of Polk’s estate and the lives of his slaves, and analyzes how Polk’s experience as a slavemaster conditioned his stance towards slavery-related issues. Dusinberre argues that Polk’s policies helped precipitate the civil war he had sought to avert.
Contents: A market for labor power — Flight (I) Tennessee — Flight (II) the Mississippi planation — Profit — The nature of the regime — The spirit of governance — Births and deaths — Family and community — Privileges — Polk’s early response to the antislavery movement — Texas and the Mexican War — Slavery and Union — Alternatives.