From Publishers Weekly
In tracing the growing hostility between North and South over the extension of slavery into the Western territories, Miller (The First Liberty) pays special attention to the so-called gag rule, in force from 1834 to 1844, which blocked discussion of antislavery proposals in the House of Representatives. The central figure in Miller's study is John Quincy Adams, in his second career as U.S. representative from Massachusetts, and his heroic fight for repeal of the gag rule and for the right to petition Congress for the abolition of slavery. The author recounts how the ex-president succeeded in spite of the bitter denunciation of his opponents and a concerted effort in 1842 to have him censured. Miller calls the repeal of the gag rule "the first clear victory over the Slave Power in the United States." He captures the confrontations on the floor of the House and the eloquence of the speakers, in a conflict of words and ideas that would ultimately lead to the Civil War. BOMC selection.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Miller (The First Liberty, LJ 2/1/86) covers the great debates in the House of Representatives from 1835 to 1845 on the legality of slavery in the United States. Even though the period is well before the Civil War, the author feels that this battle really began the intense feelings that culminated in the war. He sets the stage for the debate, then intersperses direct quotations from the Congressional Globe and Register of Debates, with the personal beliefs of the participants, the mood and feelings from the various regions or states, as well as his own interpretation of the discussions. Miller ties all this together within a framework of the political climate and writings of the period. He gives an excellent portrayal of the House of Representatives, its makeup, and especially its leadership. His book should be required reading for anyone interested in the slavery issue, as well as the history of the U.S. Congress, since it examines both with exceptional clarity.W. Walter Wicker, Louisiana Technical Univ., Ruston
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.