Catalogue


At the precipice : Americans north and south during the secession crisis /
Shearer Davis Bowman.
imprint
Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, c2010.
description
379 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0807833924 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780807833926 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, c2010.
isbn
0807833924 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780807833926 (cloth : alk. paper)
contents note
Introduction and overview -- Slaveholders and slaves, state's rights and revolution -- Honor and degradation : section, race, and gender -- The second party system and its legacy : the careers of John Bell, John C. Breckinridge, Howell Cobb, Stephen A. Douglas, John Tyler, and Martin Van Buren -- Jefferson Davis, Horace L. Kent, and the old south -- Abraham Lincoln, Henry Waller, and the free-labor north -- Keziah Goodwyn Hopkins Brevard and Sojourner Truth : faith, race, and gender -- President Buchanan, the Crittenden Compromise, President Lincoln, and Fort Sumter.
catalogue key
7297884
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
Bowman explores the different ways in which Americans, North and South, black and white, understood their interests, rights, and honor during the secession period. He examines the lives and thoughts of key figures and provides an especially vivid glimpse into what less famous men and women in both sections thought about themselves and the worlds in which they lived, and how their thoughts informed their actions during this time. Both sides glorified the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, yet they interpreted those sacred documents in markedly different ways and held very different notions of what constituted "American" values.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2011-06-01:
Bowman (formerly, Univ. of Kentucky; d. 2009) offers an interesting look at the different opinions Northerners and Southerners had regarding the secession crisis that culminated in the Civil War. To get a better feel for what Americans were thinking, Bowman uses evidence from such sources as letters and diaries of both famous and lesser-known historical figures. Readers will get a better understanding of why the North and South reached an impasse regarding slavery by 1860. The author does not break much new ground in his book, but he does do a fine job of nailing the basic beliefs of Americans on both sides of the sectional split. His extensive research is apparent. Unfortunately, the book meanders at times, as the author tends to go off topic. Also, a conclusion to tie the book together would have been helpful. These problems may be a result of poor editing or the unfortunate fact that Bowman passed away before the book's publication. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Most levels/libraries. J. M. Richards Gordon College
Reviews
Review Quotes
"A book that is as both elegantly written and historically grounded as is At the Precipice will please specialists and inform lay readers alike." - The Historian
"An eminently worthy edition to scholarship on the Civil War." - Journal of Southern History
"[A] rewarding read that provides a detailed account of what a wide spectrum of individuals--some famous and others virtually unknown--believed was happening to their beloved republic in the final years before the war." - Civil War Times
"A valuable resource for those interested in the country's growing friction during the prewar years, especially students and general readers." - Southern Historian
"[A] work that will be invaluable for graduate students and scholars interested in antebellum sectionalism and the secession crisis." - Journal of American History
"[Bowman] does . . . a fine job of nailing the basic beliefs of Americans on both sides of the sectional split. . . . [Bowman's] extensive research is apparent. Highly recommended." - Choice
"Bowman's last book is one that merits attention." - Georgia Historical Quarterly
"Bowman's last book'_¦is one that merits attention." - Georgia Historical Quarterly
"Bowman's last book…is one that merits attention." - Georgia Historical Quarterly
"Takes the reader into the thinking of the leading actors." - The Courier
"Takes the reader into the thinking of the leading actors." -The Courier
"There is a wealth of information and ideas in this book. . . . Intellectually challenging and thought-provoking. . . . [It] will expand your understanding of America entering the Civil War." - TOCWOC: A Civil War Blog
"There is a wealth of information and ideas in this book. . . . Intellectually challenging and thought-provoking. . . . [It] will expand your understanding of America entering the Civil War."-TOCWOC: A Civil War Blog
"This wide-ranging synthesis showcases the late Shearer Davis Bowman's command of antebellum history and his intellectual generosity." - The North Carolina Historical Review
"This work would serve admirably as a textbook. . . . Both academics and general readers will benefit from this study." - The Alabama Review
"Unconventional yet persuasive. . . . Readers . . . are likely to come away feeling both that the Civil War was largely inevitable and that the instinct of U.S. politics to find compromise solutions is so strong that only a conflict as stark as the one between slavery and human freedom could overcome it." - Foreign Affairs
"Undergraduates in Civil War classes, together with the general reading public, will find this book a useful introduction to the affairs of the nation as it stood on the precipice of a massive, and tragic, civil war." - Arkansas Historical Quarterly
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, June 2011
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Summaries
Main Description
Why did eleven slave states secede from the Union in 1860-61? Why did the eighteen free states loyal to the Union deny the legitimacy of secession, and take concrete steps after Fort Sumter to subdue what President Abraham Lincoln deemed treasonous rebellion? Why did eleven slave states secede from the Union in 1860-61? Why did the eighteen free states loyal to the Union deny the legitimacy of secession, and take concrete steps after Fort Sumter to subdue what President Abraham Lincoln deemed treasonous rebellion? At the Precipice seeks to answer these and related questions by focusing on the different ways in which Americans, North and South, black and white, understood their interests, rights, and honor during the late antebellum years. Rather than give a narrative account of the crisis, Shearer Davis Bowman takes readers into the minds of the leading actors, examining the lives and thoughts of such key figures as Abraham Lincoln, James Buchanan, Jefferson Davis, John Tyler, and Martin Van Buren. Bowman also provides an especially vivid glimpse into what less famous men and women in both sections thought about themselves and the political, social, and cultural worlds in which they lived, and how their thoughts informed their actions in the secession period. Intriguingly, secessionists and Unionists alike glorified the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, yet they interpreted those sacred documents in markedly different ways and held very different notions of what constituted "American" values.
Main Description
Why did eleven slave states secede from the Union in 1860-61? Why did the eighteen free states loyal to the Union deny the legitimacy of secession, and take concrete steps after Fort Sumter to subdue what President Abraham Lincoln deemed treasonous rebellion? Why did eleven slave states secede from the Union in 1860-61? Why did the eighteen free states loyal to the Union deny the legitimacy of secession, and take concrete steps after Fort Sumter to subdue what President Abraham Lincoln deemed treasonous rebellion? At the Precipiceseeks to answer these and related questions by focusing on the different ways in which Americans, North and South, black and white, understood their interests, rights, and honor during the late antebellum years. Rather than give a narrative account of the crisis, Shearer Davis Bowman takes readers into the minds of the leading actors, examining the lives and thoughts of such key figures as Abraham Lincoln, James Buchanan, Jefferson Davis, John Tyler, and Martin Van Buren. Bowman also provides an especially vivid glimpse into what less famous men and women in both sections thought about themselves and the political, social, and cultural worlds in which they lived, and how their thoughts informed their actions in the secession period. Intriguingly, secessionists and Unionists alike glorified the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, yet they interpreted those sacred documents in markedly different ways and held very different notions of what constituted "American" values.
Table of Contents
Introduction and Overviewp. 1
Slaveholders and Slaves, State's Rights and Revolutionp. 38
Honor and Degradation Section, Race, and Genderp. 77
The Second Party System and Its Legacy The Careersp. 112
the Old Southp. 160
the Free-Labor Northp. 195
Keziah Goodwyn Hopkins Brevard and Sojourner Truth Faith, Race, and Genderp. 244
President Buchanan, the Crittenden Compromise, President Lincoln, and Fort Sumterp. 261
Notesp. 289
Guide to Further Readingp. 339
Acknowledgmentsp. 357
Indexp. 359
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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