The war before the war : fugitive slaves and the struggle for America's soul from the Revolution to the Civil War

by Delbanco, Andrew, 1952-

Format: Print Book 2018
Availability: Available at 12 Libraries 12 of 12 copies
Available (12)
Location Collection Call #
Braddock Carnegie Library Non Fiction 973.7 DEL
Location  Braddock Carnegie Library
Collection  Non Fiction
Call Number  973.7 DEL
C.C. Mellor Memorial Library Non Fiction 973.7115 Del
Location  C.C. Mellor Memorial Library
Collection  Non Fiction
Call Number  973.7115 Del
CLP - Homewood Non-Fiction Collection E450.D45 2018x
Location  CLP - Homewood
Collection  Non-Fiction Collection
Call Number  E450.D45 2018x
CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction E450.D45 2018x
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Mezzanine - Non-fiction
Call Number  E450.D45 2018x
Cooper-Siegel Community Library Non-Fiction 973.71 DEL
Location  Cooper-Siegel Community Library
Collection  Non-Fiction
Call Number  973.71 DEL
Monroeville Public Library Non-fiction 973.7115 DELBANCO
Location  Monroeville Public Library
Collection  Non-fiction
Call Number  973.7115 DELBANCO
Mt. Lebanon Public Library Non-Fiction 973.7 Del
Location  Mt. Lebanon Public Library
Collection  Non-Fiction
Call Number  973.7 Del
Northland Public Library Nonfiction 973.7115 D37
Location  Northland Public Library
Collection  Nonfiction
Call Number  973.7115 D37
Shaler North Hills Library Non-Fiction 973.71 D
Location  Shaler North Hills Library
Collection  Non-Fiction
Call Number  973.71 D
South Park Library Nonfiction 973.7115 DEL
Location  South Park Library
Collection  Nonfiction
Call Number  973.7115 DEL
Upper St. Clair Township Library Non-fiction 973.0496 DEL
Location  Upper St. Clair Township Library
Collection  Non-fiction
Call Number  973.0496 DEL
Whitehall Public Library Nonfiction Collection NF 973.7115 D376
Location  Whitehall Public Library
Collection  Nonfiction Collection
Call Number  NF 973.7115 D376
"Excellent...stunning."--Ta-Nehisi Coates

The devastating story of how fugitive slaves drove the nation to Civil War

A New York Times Notable Book Selection * Winner of the Mark Lynton History Prize* Winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award * A New York Times Critics' Best Book

For decades after its founding, America was really two nations--one slave, one free. There were many reasons why this composite nation ultimately broke apart, but the fact that enslaved black people repeatedly risked their lives to flee their masters in the South in search of freedom in the North proved that the "united" states was actually a lie. Fugitive slaves exposed the contradiction between the myth that slavery was a benign institution and the reality that a nation based on the principle of human equality was in fact a prison-house in which millions of Americans had no rights at all. By awakening northerners to the true nature of slavery, and by enraging southerners who demanded the return of their human "property," fugitive slaves forced the nation to confront the truth about itself.

By 1850, with America on the verge of collapse, Congress reached what it hoped was a solution-- the notorious Compromise of 1850, which required that fugitive slaves be returned to their masters. Like so many political compromises before and since, it was a deal by which white Americans tried to advance their interests at the expense of black Americans. Yet the Fugitive Slave Act, intended to preserve the Union, in fact set the nation on the path to civil war. It divided not only the American nation, but also the hearts and minds of Americans who struggled with the timeless problem of when to submit to an unjust law and when to resist.

The fugitive slave story illuminates what brought us to war with ourselves and the terrible legacies of slavery that are with us still.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Distinguished professor of American Studies at Columbia Delbanco (The Abolitionist Imagination , 2012) examines the untenable paradox of America's founding on democracy and liberty and dependence on slavery through the stories of those who resisted enslavement by attempting to escape. Delbanco traces the crafting of and attempts to enforce Article 4, Section 2, Clause 3 of the Constitution, known as the fugitive slave clause, which criminalized the sheltering of fugitive slaves and called on local authorities to help return them to slavers. This meant that even free black people in the North including those who had never been enslaved found their lives infused with terror of being seized and deported. In 1853, the story of a free black New Yorker kidnapped in 1841 in Washington, D.C., was published as Twelve Years a Slave, one of a number of narratives by individuals who tried to escape slavery that Delbanco discusses. His history also covers court battles and the support of abolitionist sympathizers. Delbanco provides a fresh and illuminating look at those who held fast to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in unspeakably oppressive and brutal times.--Grace Jackson-Brown Copyright 2018 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Delbanco, an American studies professor at Columbia University, follows up 2012's The Abolitionist Imagination with a more in-depth look at the divisive effects of slavery on America. He argues that the problem of "fugitive slaves"-the Constitution included a clause establishing the rights of slave holders to recover escaped slaves-brought slavery into sharp relief, contributing to the inevitability of the Civil War. He writes that well-publicized recaptures of escaped enslaved people kept the evils of slavery front and center for Northerners (who, he points out, were often as racist as Southerners though they opposed slavery), and Northern efforts to block the return of the South's most valuable properties kept slavery at the forefront of Southern consciousness. Delbanco's strength is in making accessible to modern readers the arguments of the Southern advocates for slavery and Northern abolitionists. He examines court cases, including the infamous 1857 Dred Scott decision declaring that no slave had "rights which the white man was bound to respect"; books, including Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin; and the political and legislative strategies of both Northern and Southern leaders (insightfully drawing parallels to 21st-century political rhetoric). This well-documented and valuable work makes clear how slavery shaped the early American experience with effects that reverberate today. Agent: Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, William Morris Endeavor. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Fugitive slaves -- United States -- History -- 18th century.
Fugitive slaves -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
Slavery -- United States -- History -- 18th century.
Slavery -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
Fugitive slaves -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Causes.
Publisher New York :2018
Language English
Description 453 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 397-441) and index.
ISBN 9781594204050
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