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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-09-15
  • Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Pr

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In the decades of the early republic, Americans debating the fate of slavery often invoked the specter of disunion to frighten their opponents. As Elizabeth R. Varon shows, "disunion" connoted the dissolution of the republic--the failure of the founders' effort to establish a stable and lasting representative government. For many Americans in both the North and the South, disunion was a nightmare, a cataclysm that would plunge the nation into the kind of fear and misery that seemed to pervade the rest of the world. For many others, however, disunion was seen as the main instrument by which they could achieve their partisan and sectional goals. Varon blends political history with intellectual, cultural, and gender history to examine the ongoing debates over disunion that long preceded the secession crisis of 1860-61.

Author Biography

Elizabeth R. Varon is professor of history at the University of Virginia.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
Prologuep. 17
The Language of Terrifying Prophecy: Disunion Debates in the Early Republicp. 31
We Claim Our Rights: The Advent of Abolitionismp. 55
Ruinous Tendencies: The Anti-Abolition Backlashp. 87
The Idea Will Become Familiar: Disunion in the Era of Mass Party Politicsp. 127
Oh for a Man Who Is a Man: Debating Slavery's Expansionp. 165
That Is Revolution!: The Crisis of 1850p. 199
Beneath the Iron Heel: Fugitive Slaves and Bleeding Kansasp. 235
To Consummate Its Boldest Designs: The Slave Power Confronts the Republicansp. 273
War to the Knife: Images of the Coming Fightp. 305
Epilogue: The Rubicon Is Passed: The War and Beyondp. 337
Notesp. 349
Bibliographyp. 401
Indexp. 431
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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