Catalogue


The people's martyr : Thomas Wilson Dorr and his 1842 Rhode Island rebellion /
Erik J. Chaput.
imprint
Lawrence, Kan. : University Press of Kansas, [2013], c2013
description
xiii, 322 p., 12 unnumbered p.s of plates : ill. ; 24 cm
ISBN
0700619240 (hardback), 9780700619245 (hardback)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Lawrence, Kan. : University Press of Kansas, [2013], c2013
isbn
0700619240 (hardback)
9780700619245 (hardback)
contents note
Machine generated contents note: -- List of Illustrations -- Acknowledgments -- Introduction -- 1. Beginnings -- 2. Jacksonian Dissident -- 3. The Abolitionists and the People's Constitution -- 4. Peaceably If We Can, Forcibly If We Must -- 5. The Arsenal -- 7. Grist for the Political Mill -- 8. The People's Sovereignty in the Courtroom -- 9. The Legacy of the People's Sovereignty -- Coda -- Notes -- Selected Bibliography -- Index.
abstract
"Chaput tells the story of Dorr's life and the short-lived rebellion that he led against Rhode Island authorities in 1842. Occurring a decade after the Nullification Crisis, the uprising was the first and only attempt in America to claim the people's sovereignty as the basis for the right to alter or abolish their form of government. This unrecognized critical moment on antebellum national politics, Chaput shows, influenced the outcomes of important elections throughout the northern states in the early 1840s, widened the North-South fissure within the Democratic Party, and further defined the nature of American democracy and form of constitutionalism we now hold as inviolable"--
"In 1840s Rhode Island, the state's seventeenth-century colonial charter remained in force and restricted suffrage to property owners, effectively disenfranchising 60 percent of potential voters. Thomas Wilson Dorr's failed attempt to rectify that situation through constitutional reform ultimately led to an armed insurrection that was quickly quashed--and to a stiff sentence for Dorr himself. Nevertheless, as Erik Chaput shows, the Dorr Rebellion stands as a critical moment of American history during the two decades of fractious sectional politics leading up to the Civil War. This uprising was the only revolutionary republican movement in the antebellum period that claimed the people's sovereignty as the basis for the right to alter or abolish a form of government. Equally important, it influenced the outcomes of important elections throughout northern states in the early 1840s and foreshadowed the breakup of the national Democratic Party in 1860. Through his spellbinding and engaging narrative, Chaput sets the rebellion in the context of national affairs--especially the abolitionist movement. While Dorr supported the rights of African Americans, a majority of delegates to the "People's Convention" favored a whites-only clause to ensure the proposed constitution's passage, which brought abolitionists such as Frederick Douglass, Parker Pillsbury, and Abby Kelley to Rhode Island to protest. Meanwhile, Dorr's ideology of the people's sovereignty sparked profound fears among Southern politicians regarding its potential to trigger slave insurrections. Drawing upon years of extensive archival research, Chaput's book provides the first scholarly biography of Dorr, as well as the most detailed account of the rebellion yet published. In it, Chaput tackles issues of race and gender and carries the story forward into the 1850s to examine the transformation of Dorr's ideology into the more familiar refrain of popular sovereignty. Chaput demonstrates how the rebellion's real aims and significance were far broader than have been supposed, encompassing seemingly conflicting issues including popular sovereignty, antislavery, land reform, and states' rights. The People's Martyr is a definitive look at a key event in our history that further defined the nature of American democracy and the form of constitutionalism we now hold as inviolable"--
catalogue key
8996918
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 297-313) and index.
A Look Inside
Reviews
Review Quotes
"A splendid, carefully researched account of Thomas Dorr's daring attempt to overthrow the government of Rhode Island."--Donald B. Cole, author of Vindicating Andrew Jackson: The 1828 Election and the Rise of the Two-Party System
"Chaput brilliantly reveals how the concept of popular sovereignty as proposed by Thomas Dorr in Rhode Island actually further inflamed national sectionalism and exposed the weakness of the Second Party System that ultimately led to the Civil War."--Peter A. Wallner, author of Franklin Pierce: Martyr for the Union
"Chaput puts Thomas Dorr and his Rhode Island rebellion into a wide-ranging historical context of political democratization, westward expansion, and bitter conflict over slavery. His meticulous narrative unflinchingly exposes Dorr's ironic transformation from young idealist into party hack."--Daniel Walker Howe, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848
"Deeply researched and clearly written, Chaput's book is the fullest and most balanced account of Thomas W. Dorr and his extraordinary 1842 Rhode Island rebellion."--Gordon S. Wood, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Radicalism of the American Revolution
"From a constitutional perspective the Dorr Rebellion is America's most significant democratic uprising. Chaput's new and meticulously researched analysis, linking the rebellion's doctrine of popular sovereignty to abolitionism and the crisis of Union, establishes better than any preceding work, the national impact of Rhode Island's campaign for equal rights."--Patrick T. Conley, Historian Laureate of Rhode Island and the author of The Rhode Island Constitution: A Reference Guide
"In writing the fullest biography yet of the fascinating Thomas Dorr, Chaput has also rewritten the history of the Dorr War, a singular and, as he shows anew, pivotal episode in the rise of American democratic politics. The connections between Chaput's story, national political maneuvering, and the emerging clash over slavery receive especially strong treatment, in a very strong book."--Sean Wilentz, Bancroft Prize winner for The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln
"Valuable for any student interested in the Jacksonian or antebellum eras. This book was a pleasure to read."--Jonathan Earle, author of Jacksonian Antislavery and the Politics of Free Soil, 1824-1854
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
In 1840s Rhode Island, the state's seventeenth-century colonial charter remained in force and restricted suffrage to property owners, effectively disenfranchising 60 percent of potential voters. Thomas Wilson Dorr's failed attempt to rectify that situation through constitutional reform ultimately led to an armed insurrection that was quickly quashed--and to a stiff sentence for Dorr himself. Nevertheless, as Erik Chaput shows, the Dorr Rebellion stands as a critical moment of American history during the two decades of fractious sectional politics leading up to the Civil War. This uprising was the only revolutionary republican movement in the antebellum period that claimed the people's sovereignty as the basis for the right to alter or abolish a form of government. Equally important, it influenced the outcomes of important elections throughout northern states in the early 1840s and foreshadowed the breakup of the national Democratic Party in 1860. Through his spellbinding and engaging narrative, Chaput sets the rebellion in the context of national affairs--especially the abolitionist movement. While Dorr supported the rights of African Americans, a majority of delegates to the "People's Convention" favored a whites-only clause to ensure the proposed constitution's passage, which brought abolitionists such as Frederick Douglass, Parker Pillsbury, and Abby Kelley to Rhode Island to protest. Meanwhile, Dorr's ideology of the people's sovereignty sparked profound fears among Southern politicians regarding its potential to trigger slave insurrections. Drawing upon years of extensive archival research, Chaput's book provides the first scholarly biography of Dorr, as well as the most detailed account of the rebellion yet published. In it, Chaput tackles issues of race and gender and carries the story forward into the 1850s to examine the transformation of Dorr's ideology into the more familiar refrain of popular sovereignty. Chaput demonstrates how the rebellion's real aims and significance were far broader than have been supposed, encompassing seemingly conflicting issues including popular sovereignty, antislavery, land reform, and states' rights. The People's Martyr is a definitive look at a key event in our history that further defined the nature of American democracy and the form of constitutionalism we now hold as inviolable.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
Beginningsp. 12
Jacksonian Dissidentp. 28
The Abolitionists and the People's Constitutionp. 48
Peacefully If We Can, Forcibly If We Mustp. 73
The Arsenalp. 119
An Abolitionist Plotp. 141
Grist for the Political Millp. 162
The People's Sovereignty in the Courtroomp. 182
The Legacy of the People's Sovereigntyp. 204
Codap. 230
Notesp. 233
Selected Bibliographyp. 297
Indexp. 315
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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