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At the Edge of the Precipice: Henry Clay and the Compromise That Saved the Union Hardcover – Bargain Price, May 11, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
Robert Remini's short, elegant new book "At the Edge of the Precipice" tells the story of the Compromise of 1850 and of Clay's role in it. Remini examines the factors leading to the near break-up of the Union in 1850 that showed why compromise was both difficult and essential. He offers a detailed look at the legislative process and the play of various political interests in enacting the Compromise. Clay's strengths and contributions to the Compromise are emphasized as are his failings. At the end, it fell to Stephen Douglas to bring the process to a conclusion.
Remini's book is of avowedly more than historical interest. He tries to teach a lesson about what compromise is and why it is important. To be successful, for Remini, a compromise must give each party something of value so that each may claim success regarding something of essential importance. Conversely, each party must be prepared to negotiate and not press certain matters that are of less importance.Read more ›
As the author explains, Clay was very involved in brokering the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and its key stipulation of the 36-30 latitude as a line of slavery demarcation and the lowered tariffs of the Compromise Tariff of 1833 - both to placate sectional differences. But the Mexican War of 1846-48 and its acquisition of vast Mexican lands ranging from Texas to the Pacific Ocean was highly disruptive to a fragile sectional balance. The author notes that the Wilmot Proviso, which was introduced several times in Congress during the War and sought to ban slavery from any acquired territories, confirmed Southern fears that their "peculiar institution" was under attack.
Clay, a thrice-defeated candidate for president, after 1848 recognized that the rhetoric and threats being exchanged among sections and segments of the country had reached perhaps an all time high in acrimony; intimations of secession were rampant on the part of the "ultras" from the South. The author gives Clay, now an old man, credit for selflessly using his considerable reputation and legislative skills in pushing for a compromise to smooth over this latest national crisis.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love Remini's work, even though I am no fan of Andrew Jackson. His full-length biographies, for me at least, set the standard by which other biographies should be measured. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Chefdevergue
At the Edge of the Precipice is a well-written, concise history of how Senator Henry Clay engineered compromises that preserved the Union, prevented secession, at least until 1860. Read morePublished 14 months ago by John Barell
This was an assigned text for my son's US History course. He is a high school sophomore. He found it challenging yet readable. The topic was interesting.Published 22 months ago by Lori
A very interesting perspective on the first half of the 19th century in America but not a lot of meat in the analysis.Published on November 28, 2013 by Kevin J. Ashley
Robert V Remini presents a "Constitutional View" on how "Compromise in Government" always defeats Totalitarianism. Places the reader in the fight to save a nation.Published on May 10, 2013 by Stanley B. Platt
In the aftermath of the Mexican-American War of 1848, the United States found itself in possession of a great deal of real estate to the west of its previous border. Read morePublished on September 21, 2012 by The Reviewer Formerly Known as Kurt Johnson
This book is excellent for those being introduced to the ante bellum years. It is also a solid review for those already familiar with the subject. There is no fluff in this work. Read morePublished on May 18, 2012 by GentlemenJack