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The Men of Secession and Civil War, 1859-1861 - James L. Abrahamson

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The Men of Secession and Civil War, 1859-1861
James L. Abrahamson
Paperback / softback
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
UK Publication Date

This compelling, highly readable book focuses on the men who shaped the events that led to secession and the Civil War. Secessionists tore at the bonds that bound Americans to one another and their government as they maligned Northerners and found sinister intent in federal policy. But equally as adamant on the opposite side were the determined abolitionists and others in the North who sought to hold the Union together. Tariffs, the loss of political power, and the antislavery movement were all taking their toll on the South, but it took specific individuals and groups to bring to action the causes they believed in and thus to alter the course of history. The Men of Secession and Civil War, 1859-1861 traces the period from John Brown's 1859 Harper's Ferry raid to the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter and the subse-quent secession of the Upper South states in April 1861. The cast of characters in this book includes abolitionists John Brown and Salmon P. Chase; President Abraham Lincoln; U.S. Senator Stephen Douglas; Andrew Johnson, whom Lincoln named his vice president in 1864; secessionists Jefferson Davis, Roger Taney, and Barnwell Rhett; John Breckenridge, the 1860 presidential nominee of the Southern Democratic Party; and Tennessee Senator John Bell. The Men of Secession and Civil War is a useful volume for Civil War courses.

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Lively and concise, The Men of Secession provides a general audience with a lucid guide to the nature and background of the secession crisis that exploded into the Civil War. Especially praiseworthy is the emphasis on key individuals who hopes and fears drove the crisis forward. This very readable account puts a human face on the coming of the Civil War while simultaneously drawing upon much of the latest research. Highly recommended for understanding America's greatest crisis.
William L. Barney, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

A valuable introduction to a compelling topic. James Abrahamson brings to life the debates and issues that precipitated the American Civil War by examining what the principal actors thought, said, and did as the republic careened toward disunion and bloodshed.
Brooks D. Simpson, Arizona State University, author of Ulysses S. Grant: Triumph over Adversity

The author unquestionably has succeeded in bringing to life many of the leading figures of the secession years, and through them he illuminates a number of larger social issues.
Georgia Historical Quarterly

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