Item Details

The U.S. Constitution & Secession: A Documentary Anthology of Slavery and White Supremacy

edited by Dwight T. Pitcaithley ; foreword by Sanford Levinson
Format
Book
Published
Lawrence, Kansas : University Press of Kansas, [2018]
Language
English
Variant Title
U.S. Constitution and secession
ISBN
9780700626250, 0700626255, 9780700626267, 0700626263, 9780700626274
Summary
"Five months after the election of Abraham Lincoln, which had revealed the fracturing state of the nation, Confederates fired on Fort Sumter and the fight for the Union began in earnest. This documentary reader offers a firsthand look at the constitutional debates that consumed the country in those fraught five months. Day by day, week by week, these documents chart the political path, and the insurmountable differences, that led directly--but not inevitably--to the American Civil War. At issue in these debates is the nature of the U.S. Constitution with regard to slavery. Editor Dwight Pitcaithley provides expert guidance through the speeches and discussions that took place over Secession Winter (1860-1861)--in Congress, eleven state conventions, legislatures in Tennessee and Kentucky, and the Washington Peace Conference of February, 1861. The anthology brings to light dozens of solutions to the secession crisis proposed in the form of constitutional amendments--90 percent of them carefully designed to protect the institution of slavery in different ways throughout the country. And yet, the book suggests, secession solved neither of the South's primary concerns: the expansion of slavery into the western territories and the return of fugitive slaves. What emerges clearly from these documents, and from Pitcaithley's incisive analysis, is the centrality of white supremacy and slavery--specifically the fear of abolition--to the South's decision to secede. Also evident in the words of these politicians and statesmen is how thoroughly passion and fear, rather than reason and reflection, drove the decision making process. "--
"The re-telling of the fateful five months between Lincoln's election and the firing on Fort Sumter that started the American Civil War is often compressed in order to get on with the dramatic story of the war itself. Designed as a documentary reader for college-level courses, Secession Revealed provides a treasure trove of primary sources that take readers day by day and week by week through the constitutional debates over slavery and slaveholders' rights that culminated in secession. Disagreements over the return of fugitive slaves, the protection of slavery in the western territories, and the carrying of slaves into free states and territories were the three major issues on the table. The inability of the country to resolve these different perceptions of constitutional authority and rights led to the secession of the South and the onset of war in the spring of 1861. Reader Tim Huebner said, "If there are any lessons the reader takes away from the editor's introduction, they are that slavery and white supremacy drove the South's decision to secede and that the decision making process involved a great deal more passion and fear than reason and reflection.""--
Contents
  • pt. 1. James Buchanan and John J. Crittenden
  • pt. 2. Declarations of Secession
  • pt. 3. U.S. House of Representatives, Journal of the Committee of Thirty-Three
  • pt. 4. Proposals to Amend the U.S. Constitution
  • pt. 5. Three Congressional Speeches.
Description
xx, 364 pages ; 24 cm
Notes
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Technical Details
  • Access in Virgo Classic

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