Catalogue


1858 : Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, and the war they failed to see /
Bruce Chadwick.
imprint
Naperville, Ill. : Sourcebooks, Inc., 2008.
description
x, 355 p.
ISBN
140220941X (hardcover), 9781402209413 (hardcover)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Naperville, Ill. : Sourcebooks, Inc., 2008.
isbn
140220941X (hardcover)
9781402209413 (hardcover)
catalogue key
6385207
 
Includes bibliographical references.
A Look Inside
First Chapter
Excerpt from Chapter 1: The White House, New Year's Day, 1858<br><br>The year 1858 could not have started in a grander fashion than it did on January 1 in Washington, DC. The New Year arrived on a cold but sunny day. It was welcomed with parties and receptions all over the nation's capital. The Republicans and Democrats who had fought so bitterly throughout 1857 over the slavery issue put aside their differences and mingled with each other at the homes of the country's political leaders. One of the most well-attended receptions took place at the home of Vice President John Breckinridge, a thirty-seven-year-old former Kentucky slaveholder and rising political star. Another party was hosted by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, James Orr. Several cabinet members flung open the doors of their homes for guests invited to similar receptions. Senators and congressmen, such as Jefferson Davis of Mississippi, Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri, John Slidell of Louisiana, William Bigler of Pennsylvania, and George Pugh of Ohio, held lavish soirées. The most important public figures in public life attended these parties, wearing their best suits and hats. They were accompanied by their wives, dressed in fashionable gowns and adorned in expensive jewelry. <br><br>Continuing a tradition, President James Buchanan, in office just under a year, hosted a three-hour reception at the White House for members of the diplomatic corps, Democratic members of the Senate and House, and political friends on the morning of New Year's Day. Guests arrived at the White House just before eleven o'clock in the morning and remained until the middle of the afternoon. There were several hundred of them and they came in a continuous parade of elegant carriages. At noon, the front doors of the White House were opened to the public to meet the president. Thousands of ordinary people walked into the executive mansion, many for the very first time, all impressed with its size. After a lengthy wait in a receiving line, they met President Buchanan, who wished them all a Happy New Year. <br><br>The atmosphere at the president's New Year's reception was jovial and most of the conversation between the fifteenth president and his guests did not involve the issue of slavery that seemed about to overwhelm America. Everyone was grateful for that. The year 1857 had been difficult. A recession that sent financial markets reeling in the past year still crippled the dollar, weakened the banks, and hurt the import/export trade. Unemployment was up, factories shut their doors, the federal government ran a deficit, the public staged runs on banks, and financially pressed banks could not meet their specie payments.2 Hinton Helper's book, The Impending Crisis of the South, highly critical of Southerners and slavery that was published during the previous year, was still the central topic of many conversations. At the end of the year, politicians in the Kansas Territory, eager to bring it into the Union as a state, had sent Congress not one, but two state constitutions, one recognizing slavery and one not, for a decision. Three congressmen were forced to resign during the year following a corruption scandal connected to the 1856 campaign. <br><br>In addition, Buchanan sent an army of twenty-five hundred men on an ill-advised expedition to Utah to put down what he described as an uprising of Mormons; the result was a debacle that included an attack by Indians on the troopers, the burning of army supply wagon trains, destruction of crops and homes to deny the army food, and lengthy journeys through snow¬bound mountain passes by the army across what one trooper described as "the most desolate country I have ever beheld."3 The expedition was a humiliation of the army and the administration. <br><br>An illegal slave ship jammed with six hundred captives, possibly headed for America, was intercepted off the coast of Africa in a well-publicized seizure at the end of November, and its capture was followed by reports of other slave vessels that had secretly made it to the United States. <br><br>An American adventurer, William Walker, led a coup against the govern¬ment of Nicaragua and seized control of the country, only to be deposed by the forces of neighboring nations. <br><br>And all across the nation, controversy still raged over the Supreme Court's Dred Scott decision, handed down in March of 1857, in which the high court upheld the Fugitive Slave Act, reappealed the Missouri Compromise of 1850, decided that Congress could not declare any territory free, and ruled that slaves were not people, but property. And, on top of all that, the population of America continued to explode, increasing by nearly 25 percent over the last decade. <br><br>No one was happier to move forward and put 1857 behind him than President James Buchanan. The president was an odd-looking man. He was tall and heavy-set, with a mop of curly white hair. He had had throat and nasal growths surgically removed, but the operations, primitive in the era, left large and ugly scars on his neck. He also suffered from myopic vision that forced him to bend his head severely to the left and forward in order to read, further exposing the huge scars he tried to hide with very high shirt collars. His vision caused him to squint severely whenever he read something or tried to look out over a crowded room, further adding to his unusual appearance. One of his eyes was brown and the other hazel. His forward-leaning head also misled many into thinking he agreed with what they said. He was a big man, but oddly had tiny feet that he bragged about to everyone he met. <br><br>Buchanan had arrived in Washington as the victor in a close presidential race in 1856 in which he was the nominee of a disorganized and overly confident Democratic Party that found itself fighting for its life at the polls against the fiery new Republicans, who had replaced the defunct Whigs, and the zealots of the American Party, who mounted a strong third-party challenge. Buchanan had carried nineteen of the forty-one states and won the election with 59 percent of the electoral vote, but the Republicans surprised everyone. Their presidential nominee, explorer John C. Fremont, won eleven states. Fremont had earned the nickname "the Pathfinder" following his five well-publicized expeditions through the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains over the previous decade. A third-party candidate, former president Millard Fillmore, a sectional candidate running on the ticket of the American Party (an anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant group formerly called the "Know-Nothings"), captured one state. <br>Buchanan earned 45 percent of the popular vote, giving up 30 percent to Fremont and 25 percent to Fillmore. If Fillmore had carried several Southern states and denied Buchanan the election, or forced it into the House of Representatives, Fremont would have come close to winning the election outright. Buchanan won his home state, Pennsylvania, by just 577 votes out of nearly 500,000 cast, and Indiana by less than 2,000 out of 235,000. He only earned 105,528 votes in Illinois, 44.1 percent, against 130,306 cast against him, but was awarded the state's eleven electoral votes because his two opponents split that larger ballot. Even Buchanan was forced to admit that the loss of just two states would have given Fremont the White House.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2008-01-28:
Former journalist Chadwick (The General and Mrs. Washington) deals with much more than the previously underappreciated year of 1858 in this engagingly written book. By focusing on the men who drove crucial historical events, Chadwick provides plenty of pre-1858 background to make his case that the events of that year "changed the lives of dozens of important people" and "within a few short years, the history of the nation." Chadwick examines the lives of six who would become the biggest players in the Civil War: Lincoln, Davis, Sherman, Lee, Grant and William Seward, and two others-John Brown and Stephen Douglas-whose actions helped precipitate the conflict. He also offers an insightful look at the enigmatic, eccentric man who was in the White House in 1858, Democrat James Buchanan of Pennsylvania. Chadwick shows clearly how Buchanan dithered-on the slavery issue and in foolish foreign adventures in Paraguay, Mexico and Cuba, among other things-while Rome was about to burn. Buchanan, Chadwick correctly notes, "was certainly not the sole cause of the Civil War," just "one of many, but his ineffectiveness as chief executive dealt a crippling blow to the nation." (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Library Journal on 2007-12-01:
"The Civil War began in April 1861," begins Chadwick (The General and Martha Washington), who then goes on to say that "this book explores the events and personalities of that single year." Huh? His remark to the contrary, this work is about the year in the title. Chadwick has a penchant for anachronisms, e.g., referring to Douglas and Lincoln in 1858 as "The Prince and the Pauper" 23 years before Twain coined the title, referring to Buchanan's "White House" when it was still commonly called (on its own stationery no less) the "Executive Mansion," and calling Buchanan "paranoid." The book aims to bring the sectional turmoils of 1858 to light for general readers, but be forewarned. An optional purchase. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews,
Library Journal, December 2007
Publishers Weekly, January 2008
Booklist, March 2008
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Summaries
Long Description
1858 explores the events and personalities of the year that would send the America's North and South on a collision course culminating in the slaughter of 630,000 of the nation's young men, a greater number than died in any other American conflict. The record of that year is told in seven separate stories, each participant, though unaware, is linked to the oncoming tragedy by the central, though ineffective, figure of that time, the man in the White House, President James Buchanan. The seven figures who suddenly leap onto history's stage and shape the great moments to come are: Jefferson Davis, who lived a life out of a Romantic novel, and who almost died from herpes simplex of the eye; the disgruntled Col. Robert E. Lee, who had to decide whether he would stay in the military or return to Virginia to run his family's plantation; William Tecumseh Sherman, one of the great Union generals, who had been reduced to running a roadside food stand in Kansas; the uprising of eight abolitionists in Oberlin, Ohio, who freed a slave apprehended by slave catchers, and set off a fiery debate across America; a dramatic speech by New York Senator William Seward in Rochester, which foreshadowed the civil war and which seemed to solidify his hold on the 1860 Republican Presidential nomination; John Brown's raid on a plantation in Missouri, where he freed several slaves, and marched them eleven hundred miles to Canada, to be followed a year later by his catastrophic attack on Harper's Ferry; and finally, Illinois Senator Steven Douglas? seven historic debates with little-known Abraham Lincoln in the Illinois Senate race, that would help bring the ambitious and determined Lincoln to the Presidency ofthe United States. As these stories unfold, the reader learns how the country reluctantly stumbled towards that moment in April 1861 when the Southern army opened fire on Fort Sumter.
Main Description
"Highly recommended-a gripping narrative of the critical year of 1858 and the nation's slide toward disunion and war. Chadwick is especially adept at retelling the intense emotions of this critical time, particularly especially in recounting abolitionist opposition to the Fugitive Slave Act and Jefferson Davis's passionate defense of this institution. For readers seeking to understand how individuals are agents of historical change will find Chadwick's account of the failed leadership of President James Buchanan, especially compelling."-G. Kurt Piehler, author of "Remembering War the American Way" and Associate Professor of History, The University of Tennessee1858 explores the events and personalities of the year that would send the America's North and South on a collision course culminating in the slaughter of 630,000 of the nation's young men, a greater number than died in any other American conflict. The record of that year is told in seven separate stories, each participant, though unaware, is linked to the oncoming tragedy by the central, though ineffective, figure of that time, the man in the White House, President James Buchanan. The seven figures who suddenly leap onto history's stage and shape the great moments to come are: Jefferson Davis, who lived a life out of a Romantic novel, and who almost died from herpes simplex of the eye; the disgruntled Col. Robert E. Lee, who had to decide whether he would stay in the military or return to Virginia to run his family's plantation; William Tecumseh Sherman, one of the great Union generals, who had been reduced to running a roadside food stand in Kansas; the uprising of eight abolitionists in Oberlin, Ohio, who freed a slave apprehended by slave catchers, and set off a fiery debate across America; a dramatic speech by New York Senator William Seward in Rochester, which foreshadowed the civil war and which seemed to solidify his hold on the 1860 Republican Presidential nomination; John Brown's raid on a plantation in Missouri, where he freed several slaves, and marched them eleven hundred miles to Canada, to be followed a year later by his catastrophic attack on Harper's Ferry; and finally, Illinois Senator Steven Douglas' seven historic debates with little-known Abraham Lincoln in the Illinois Senate race, that would help bring the ambitious and determined Lincoln to the Presidency of the United States. As these stories unfold, the reader learns how the country reluctantly stumbled towards that moment in April 1861 when the Southern army opened fire on Fort Sumter.
Main Description
"Highly recommended –a gripping narrative of the critical year of 1858 and the nation's slide toward disunion and war. Chadwick is especially adept at retelling the intense emotions of this critical time, particularly especially in recounting abolitionist opposition to the Fugitive Slave Act and Jefferson Davis's passionate defense of this institution. For readers seeking to understand how individuals are agents of historical change will find Chadwick's account of the failed leadership of President James Buchanan, especially compelling." -G. Kurt Piehler, author of "Remembering War the American Way" and Associate Professor of History, The University of Tennessee 1858 explores the events and personalities of the year that would send the America's North and South on a collision course culminating in the slaughter of 630,000 of the nation's young men, a greater number than died in any other American conflict. The record of that year is told in seven separate stories, each participant, though unaware, is linked to the oncoming tragedy by the central, though ineffective, figure of that time, the man in the White House, President James Buchanan. The seven figures who suddenly leap onto history's stage and shape the great moments to come are: Jefferson Davis, who lived a life out of a Romantic novel, and who almost died from herpes simplex of the eye; the disgruntled Col. Robert E. Lee, who had to decide whether he would stay in the military or return to Virginia to run his family's plantation; William Tecumseh Sherman, one of the great Union generals, who had been reduced to running a roadside food stand in Kansas; the uprising of eight abolitionists in Oberlin, Ohio, who freed a slave apprehended by slave catchers, and set off a fiery debate across America; a dramatic speech by New York Senator William Seward in Rochester, which foreshadowed the civil war and which seemed to solidify his hold on the 1860 Republican Presidential nomination; John Brown's raid on a plantation in Missouri, where he freed several slaves, and marched them eleven hundred miles to Canada, to be followed a year later by his catastrophic attack on Harper's Ferry; and finally, Illinois Senator Steven Douglas'seven historic debates with little-known Abraham Lincoln in the Illinois Senate race, that would help bring the ambitious and determined Lincoln to the Presidency of the United States. As these stories unfold, the reader learns how the country reluctantly stumbled towards that moment in April 1861 when the Southern army opened fire on Fort Sumter.
Main Description
"Highly recommended-a gripping narrative of the critical year of 1858 and the nation's slide toward disunion and war. Chadwick is especially adept at retelling the intense emotions of this critical time, particularly especially in recounting abolitionist opposition to the Fugitive Slave Act and Jefferson Davis's passionate defense of this institution. For readers seeking to understand how individuals are agents of historical change will find Chadwick's account of the failed leadership of President James Buchanan, especially compelling." -G. Kurt Piehler, author of "Remembering War the American Way" and Associate Professor of History, The University of Tennessee 1858 explores the events and personalities of the year that would send the America’s North and South on a collision course culminating in the slaughter of 630,000 of the nation’s young men, a greater number than died in any other American conflict. The record of that year is told in seven separate stories, each participant, though unaware, is linked to the oncoming tragedy by the central, though ineffective, figure of that time, the man in the White House, President James Buchanan. The seven figures who suddenly leap onto history’s stage and shape the great moments to come are: Jefferson Davis, who lived a life out of a Romantic novel, and who almost died from herpes simplex of the eye; the disgruntled Col. Robert E. Lee, who had to decide whether he would stay in the military or return to Virginia to run his family’s plantation; William Tecumseh Sherman, one of the great Union generals, who had been reduced to running a roadside food stand in Kansas; the uprising of eight abolitionists in Oberlin, Ohio, who freed a slave apprehended by slave catchers, and set off a fiery debate across America; a dramatic speech by New York Senator William Seward in Rochester, which foreshadowed the civil war and which seemed to solidify his hold on the 1860 Republican Presidential nomination; John Brown’s raid on a plantation in Missouri, where he freed several slaves, and marched them eleven hundred miles to Canada, to be followed a year later by his catastrophic attack on Harper’s Ferry; and finally, Illinois Senator Steven Douglas’ seven historic debates with little-known Abraham Lincoln in the Illinois Senate race, that would help bring the ambitious and determined Lincoln to the Presidency of the United States. As these stories unfold, the reader learns how the country reluctantly stumbled towards that moment in April 1861 when the Southern army opened fire on Fort Sumter.
Main Description
"Highly recommended--a gripping narrative of the critical year of 1858 and the nation's slide toward disunion and war. Chadwick is especially adept at retelling the intense emotions of this critical time, particularly especially in recounting abolitionist opposition to the Fugitive Slave Act and Jefferson Davis's passionate defense of this institution. For readers seeking to understand how individuals are agents of historical change will find Chadwick's account of the failed leadership of President James Buchanan, especially compelling." -G. Kurt Piehler, author of "Remembering War the American Way" and Associate Professor of History, The University of Tennessee 1858 explores the events and personalities of the year that would send the America's North and South on a collision course culminating in the slaughter of 630,000 of the nation's young men, a greater number than died in any other American conflict. The record of that year is told in seven separate stories, each participant, though unaware, is linked to the oncoming tragedy by the central, though ineffective, figure of that time, the man in the White House, President James Buchanan. The seven figures who suddenly leap onto history's stage and shape the great moments to come are: Jefferson Davis, who lived a life out of a Romantic novel, and who almost died from herpes simplex of the eye; the disgruntled Col. Robert E. Lee, who had to decide whether he would stay in the military or return to Virginia to run his family's plantation; William Tecumseh Sherman, one of the great Union generals, who had been reduced to running a roadside food stand in Kansas; the uprising of eight abolitionists in Oberlin, Ohio, who freed a slave apprehended by slave catchers, and set off a fiery debate across America; a dramatic speech by New York Senator William Seward in Rochester, which foreshadowed the civil war and which seemed to solidify his hold on the 1860 Republican Presidential nomination; John Brown's raid on a plantation in Missouri, where he freed several slaves, and marched them eleven hundred miles to Canada, to be followed a year later by his catastrophic attack on Harper's Ferry; and finally, Illinois Senator Steven Douglas'seven historic debates with little-known Abraham Lincoln in the Illinois Senate race, that would help bring the ambitious and determined Lincoln to the Presidency of the United States. As these stories unfold, the reader learns how the country reluctantly stumbled towards that moment in April 1861 when the Southern army opened fire on Fort Sumter.
Main Description
PRAISE FOR 1858"Highly recommended-a gripping narrative of the critical year of 1858 and the nation's slide toward disunion and war...Readers seeking to understand how individuals are agents of historical change will find Chadwick's account of the failed leadership of President James Buchanan especially compelling."-G. Kurt Piehler, author of Remembering War the American Way"Chadwick'sexcellent history shows how the issue of slavery came crashing into the professional, public, and private lives of many Americans...Chadwick offers a fascinating premise: that James Buchanan, far from being a passive spectator, played a major role in the drama of his time. 1858 is a welcome addition to scholarship of the most volatile period of American history."-Frank Cucurullo, Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee MemorialAs 1858 dawned, the men who would become theiconic figures of the Civil War had no idea it was about to occur: Jefferson Davis was dying, Robert E. Lee was on the verge of resigning from the military, and William Tecumseh Sherman had been reduced to running a roadside food stand. By the end of 1858, the lives of these men would be forever changed, and the North and South were set on a collision course that would end with the deaths of 630,000 young men.This is the story of seven men on the brink of a war that would transform them into American legends, and the events of the year that set our union on fire.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. VII
Author to Readerp. IX
The White House, New Year's Day, 1858p. 1
The Death of Jefferson Davisp. 15
The White House, Early 1858: One Year of Dred Scottp. 47
Colonel Robert E. Lee Leaves the Military Foreverp. 53
The White House, February 1858: Showdown with Stephen Douglasp. 81
Honest Abe and the Little Giant: The Lincoln-Douglas Debates, Part Onep. 97
The White House, July 1858p. 115
Honest Abe and the Little Giant: The Lincoln-Douglas Debates, Part Twop. 121
The White House, Autumn 1858: The Forney Feudp. 135
Oberlin, Ohio: The Rescuersp. 141
The White House, October 1858p. 173
William Seward: The "Irrepressible Conflict"p. 177
The White House, Election Dayp. 209
William Tecumseh Sherman: Dead-Endedp. 219
The White House, Winter 1858: Swashbuckling in the Americasp. 241
Terrible Swift Sword: John Brown's Christmas Raid into Missourip. 255
The White House, December 1858p. 287
Epiloguep. 291
Bibliographyp. 301
Endnotesp. 309
Indexp. 339
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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