Catalogue


Race and revolution /
Gary B. Nash.
edition
1st ed. --
imprint
Madison : Madison House, 1990.
description
xi, 212 p. : ill. ; 24 cm. --
ISBN
0945612117 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
author
imprint
Madison : Madison House, 1990.
isbn
0945612117 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
2329877
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 203-206) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1991-06:
Generations of historians have blamed the failure of abolitionism at the end of the 18th century on the intransigence of the South, but this revisionist account determines that northern racism and hypocrisy played just as important a role. Nash finds that economic and cultural forces in the North discouraged the incorporation of African Americans into society and, tragically, northern leaders failed to take advantage of the great opportunity to end slavery at the onset of the new nation. Nash, author of Forging Freedom: The Black Urban Experience in Philadelphia. 1720-1820 (CH, Nov'88) and Freedom by Degrees: Emancipation in Pennsylvania and Its Aftermath (1991), is well qualified to offer this bold perspective. His coverage of the free black community's vigorous efforts to achieve justice in white supremacist society in the northern states is particularly illuminating. The book is written clearly. A valuable feature is its 110 pages of documents--letters, speeches, sermons, and pamphlets--that support the relatively brief text. Extensive notes and an essay on further reading enhance the book for students and scholars alike. Highly recommended for college, university, and public libraries. -R. Detweiler, California State University, Dominguez Hills
Appeared in Library Journal on 1990-10-01:
Social historian Nash ( Forging Freedom , LJ 5/1/88) presents three essays and supporting annotated documents dealing with the neglected topic of slavery during the Revolutionary era. He argues convincingly that most Revolutionary leaders understood the incompatibility of slavery with their equalitarian ideology. Unlike past historians, Nash especially blames Northern leaders, who were unwilling to compensate Southern slaveholders or to accept a biracial America, for the persistence of slavery at a time when it most easily could have been abolished. He contends that free blacks adapted to Northern discrimination by creating alternative organizations, especially black churches, which safeguarded an African-American identity and maintained abolitionist fervor. Relying upon recent scholarship, the author provides an insightful, well-written investigation which will appeal to scholars and the general public.-- David Szatmary, Univ. of Washington, Seattle (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
Review Quotes
Race and Revolution should become standard reading in graduate and undergraduate seminars. It is broadly conceived and engages the major historiographical issues in such a way as to suggest new avenues of investigation.
The best history makes a difference in how we think about and feel the past. Race and Revolution is an important, tough-minded, provocative group of essays that contributes to our understanding of the most debilitating virus in the American system. Not only has Gary Nash illuminated the critical challenge of race and slavery in the revolutionary era and 'the most tragic failure' of American leaders, but he has brought to the forefront the long ignored role of black revolutionists in the early struggles for freedom.
A powerful book . . . a tightly argued and vigorous reassessment of the revolutionary generation's failure to eliminate slavery.
A powerful, forthright, and revisionist interpretation . . . thoroughly convincing.
Clearly written . . . [Nash]'s coverage of the free black community's vigorous efforts to achieve justice in white supremacist society in the northern states is particularly illuminating.
Gary Nash has written a powerful, forthright, and revisionist interpretation of the founding generation and slavery which challenges much received wisdom. I find it thoroughly convincing.
Race and Revolution is a bold and stirring documentation of the collapse of the devotion for liberty in America in the immediate wake of the American Revolution. While his interpretations will startle some, Gary Nash correctly finds that the demise of efforts to abolish slavery and incorporate blacks in American society proceeded directly from an increasingly conservative, white supremacist North, not a self-serving South. Finally, historians may be taking off the blinders that have perpetually obscured our ability to understand slavery and race as national, not regional problems.
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, October 1990
Choice, June 1991
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
Race and Revolution is a trenchant study of the revolutionary generation's early efforts to right the apparent contradiction of slavery and of their ultimate compromises that not only left the institution intact, but provided it with the protection of a vastly strengthened government after 1788. Race and Revolution describes the free black community's response to this failure of the revolution's promise, its vigorous and articulate pleas for justice, and the community's successes in building its own African-American institutions within the hostile environment of early nineteenth-century America.
Long Description
The most profound crisis of conscience for white Americans at the end of the eighteenth century became their most tragic failure. Race and Revolution is a trenchant study of the revolutionary generation's early efforts to right the apparent contradiction of slavery and of their ultimate compromises that not only left the institution intact but provided it with the protection of a vastly strengthened government after 1788. Reversing the conventional view that blames slavery on the South's social and economic structures, Nash stresses the role of the northern states in the failure to abolish slavery. It was northern racism and hypocrisy as much as southern intransigence that buttressed 'the peculiar institution.' Nash also shows how economic and cultural factors intertwined to result not in an apparently judicious decision of the new American nation but rather its most significant lost opportunity. Race and Revolution describes the free black community's response to this failure of the revolution's promise, its vigorous and articulate pleas for justice, and the community's successes in building its own African-American institutions within the hostile environment of early nineteenth-century America. Included with the text of Race and Revolution are nineteen rare and crucial documents--letters, pamphlets, sermons, and speeches--which provide evidence for Nash's controversial and persuasive claims. From the words of Anthony Benezet and Luther Martin to those of Absalom Jones and Caesar Sarter, readers may judge the historical record for themselves. 'In reality,' argues Nash, 'the American Revolution represents the largest slave uprising in our history.' Race and Revolution is the compelling story of that failed quest for the promise of freedom.

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