From Publishers Weekly This major work of scholarship by the author of Prelude to the Civil War offers an intimate look at the Old South and describes how the slavery issue led to successive collisions between "private despotism and public democracy." The book also provides a detailed account of how slavery functioned. Freehling's sweeping narrative traces national crises that led to secession: the Missiouri Compromise, the annexation of Texas, the Compromise Act of 1850, the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Such figures as Andrew Jackson, John C. Calhoun, Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln stride vigorously through these pages. The study, which contributes importantly to our understanding of the causes of the Civil War, will interest readers with its brilliant evocation of the antebellum South. Illustrations. Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Despite dreadful prose and a clear anti-southern bias that at times borders on hyperbole, Freehling does provide a well researched social and political history of the pre-Civil War south. Freehling concentrates much of his effort on the social history of the south and shows how the United States was fractured not just north and south, but within the south as well. The social and political divisions between the upper and lower south and then further divisions within these sections are well detailed … more