Calculating the value of the Union : slavery, property rights, and the economic origins of the Civil War /

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Main Author: Huston, James L., 1947-
Format: Book
Published:Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, c2003.
Series:Civil War America
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Review by Choice Review

Huston (Oklahoma State Univ.) presents a solid economic interpretation of the causes of the Civil War. He finds that slavery was the central matter, and that property rights in slaves was the core issue that caused the fissure between North and South. Huston makes a compelling case for the motivation of the Southern elite, whose economic and political power rested on slave property. Some may find his argument that Northerners felt slavery threatened the Northern free labor market a less compelling reason for Northern opposition to slavery's expansion; they may conclude that Huston's analysis understates the moral motivation of abolitionists and the Republicans who opposed the expansion of slavery. All are likely to agree, however, that Huston ably documents his position that "the realignment of the 1850s was about slavery, the slave power, and protection of a free labor village society." An insightful contribution is his analysis of "political realignment" theory and his account of how US political parties and power structure were wholly realigned in the mid-19th century. Fifty-eight pages of notes (largely from Congressional records and other primary documents), valuable appendixes, and 41 pages of sources support his theories. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. All university and public libraries that emphasize US history and politics. R. Detweiler California Polytechnic State University--San Luis Obispo

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

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