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Slavery in the American republic : developing the federal government, 1791-1861 /
David F. Ericson.
Lawrence : University Press of Kansas, c2011.
ix, 298 p. ; 24 cm.
0700617965 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780700617968 (cloth : alk. paper)
More Details
Lawrence : University Press of Kansas, c2011.
0700617965 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780700617968 (cloth : alk. paper)
contents note
Slavery in a "house divided" -- Slavery and controlling the national borders -- The first American colony -- The slave-catching republic -- The slavery garrisoned state -- Free labor not preferred -- The "house divided" revisited.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2012-01-06:
Slavery is, of course, recognized as a terrible part of our nation's past. While we may see the obvious effects that it has had on American society, we don't always see the direct influences it had on the development of our federal government, much though we recognize its role in the subject of states' rights. Ericson (public & international affairs, George Mason Univ.; The Debate over Slavery) refocuses readers on just how the institution of slavery shaped American government and a broad swathe of federal policies. It can be hard to see the positive outcomes from a part of history that most Americans would rather forget, but Ericson does a good job of showing the reader both the negative and positive outcomes. Having undertaken extensive research, he has a firm grasp of the topic and does a solid job of sharing his knowledge with the reader. Verdict Ultimately, this is a well-written book that takes a new approach to slavery's impact in the United States, making it a strong addition to any collections on slavery, American political history, and antebellum America.-Sonnet Ireland, Univ. of New Orleans Lib. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 2012-05-01:
As anyone who follows contemporary politics knows, many groups who claim to favor limited government do so when it does not endanger their own subsidies and entitlements. Thus, it comes as no surprise that slaveholders, often portrayed as working to limit federal growth, sang a different tune when slavery was involved. Ericson (public and international affairs, George Mason Univ.) shows that not only did slaveholders often support greater federal power, but that the maintenance of the institution depended on it. Slavery required an expanded role for the federal government in the territories and, with the removal of Native Americans, particularly in the Second Seminole War. Slaveholders supported federal construction when it meant employment for their slaves. Enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 represented one of the boldest assertions of federal power over the states in the antebellum period. Even banning the Atlantic slave trade led to a larger navy for enforcement. While the book makes a number of points scholars can debate and identifies slavery as an important factor in state development, the organization and subject matter dictate a limited audience. Libraries with specialized collections should purchase it, but others need not. Summing Up: Optional. Upper-division undergraduates and above. D. Butts Gordon College (GA)
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, January 2012
Choice, May 2012
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Bowker Data Service Summary
Many scholars believe that the existence of slavery stymied the development of the American state. Ericson argues to the contrary, showing that over a 70-year period slavery actually contributed significantly to the development of the American state, even as a 'house divided'.
Main Description
Many scholars believe that the existence of slavery stymied the development of the American state because slaveholding Southern politicians were so at odds with a federal government they feared would abolish their peculiar institution. David Ericson argues to the contrary, showing that over a seventy-year period slavery actually contributed significantly to the development of the American state, even as a "house divided." Drawing on deep archival research that tracks federal expenditures on slavery-related items, Ericson reveals how the policies, practices, and institutions of the early national government functioned to protect slavery and thereby contributed to its own development. Here are surprising descriptions of how the federal government increased its state capacities as it implemented slavery-friendly policies, such as creating more stable slave markets by removing Native Americans, deterring slave revolts, recovering fugitive slaves, enacting a ban on slave imports, and not enacting a ban on the interstate slave trade. It also bolstered its own law-enforcement power by reinforcing navy squadrons to interdict illegal slave trading, hiring deputy marshals to capture fugitive slaves and slave rescuers, and deploying soldiers to remove Native Americans and deter slave rescues and revolts. Going beyond Don Fehrenbachers The Slaveholding Republic, Ericson shows how the presence of slavery indirectly influenced the development of the American state in highly significant ways. Enforcement of the 1808 slave-import ban involved the federal government in border control for the first time, and participation in founding a colony in Liberia established an early model of public-private partnerships. The presence of slavery also spurred the development of the U.S. Army through its many slavery-related deployments, particularly during the Second Seminole War, and the federal governments own slave rentals influenced its labor-management practices. Ericsons study unearths a long-neglected history, connecting slavery-influenced policy areas more explicitly to early American state development and more fully accounting for the money and manpower the federal government devoted to those areas. Rich in historical detail, it marks a significant contribution to our understanding of state development and the impact of slavery on early American politics.
Table of Contents
Prefacep. vii
Slavery in a "House Divided"p. 1
Slavery and Controlling the National Bordersp. 25
The First American Colonyp. 53
The Slave-Catching Republicp. 80
The Slavery Garrisoned Statep. 107
Free Labor Not Preferredp. 135
The "House Divided" Revisitedp. 164
p. 187
p. 188
p. 189
Notesp. 191
Indexp. 275
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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