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Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States, 1861-1865 Hardcover – December 10, 2012
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Long before the Civil War, the age of emancipation was marked by antislavery movements throughout the Caribbean empire and the British ban on slavery. Historian Oakes details how the U.S., despite its heritage of freedom, was much slower to adopt a national ideal of freedom, drudging through a long, painful, and very complicated process that did not necessarily have to lead to the Thirteenth Amendment. The greatest obstacle to antislavery efforts was the constitutional protection of slavery in states where it existed. Fervent debates about how to end slavery included directives to isolate the South, offer incentives and compensation, or exercise the military option that meant immediate emancipation and no compensation. Oakes examines the history of the antislavery movement, slave resistance, Lincoln’s political machinations, the Republican Party, the Civil War, and the revisionist history of the intent of the political players in the 1800s as seen through more modern perspectives. This is an absorbing look at the complex process of emancipation and the forces behind the incentives and threats—and the war—that eventually led to the end of slavery in the U.S. --Vanessa Bush
“Brilliant in analysis and compelling in argument, this is now the book to read on how slavery died.”
- Library Journal
“This remarkable book offers the best account ever written of the complex historical process known as emancipation. The story is dramatic and compelling, and no one interested in the American Civil War or the fate of slavery can afford to ignore it.”
- Eric Foner, author of The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery
“Freedom National provides the best account we have of the process of emancipation and the ultimate abolition of slavery, on the ground in the South and in the halls of power at Washington. It also makes clear that from the beginning, nearly all participants recognized that the central issue of the war was slavery and that its likely outcome was a new birth of freedom.”
- James M. McPherson, author of War on the Waters: The Union and Confederate Navies, 1861―1865
“A masterful piece of scholarship.... A must-read book for anyone seeking a greater understanding of the complicated and politically charged nature of emancipation.”
- Robert I. Girardi, Washington Independent Review of Books
Top customer reviews
if the war had quickly ended, as many thought it would, with a u.s. victory over the secessionist csa govt, slavery would have remained intact--and Lincoln would not have been "the great emancipator".
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