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John P. Hale and the Politics of Abolition Hardcover – September, 1965
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In researching the events leading up to the Civil War, we kept hearing from various strong abolitionists about how impressed they were by Hale. So our curiosity led us to learn more about him. What made him famous was being the first senator elected to Congress on an antislavery campaign in a time when abolitionists were being imprisoned and killed for their beliefs. Imagine trying to run a political campaign while having your former friend and now bitter enemy President Franklin Pierce showing up to debate and humiliate you. After Pierce had made a long speech urging voters to hate Hale, Hale responded with such a powerful reply that many abolitionists of that time mentioned it.. Hale said, "When my earthly career is finished and my bones are laid to rest beneath New Hampshire soil, I want my tombstone to read, 'Here lies a man who sacrificed money, position, and power rather than bow down and worship slavery.'" Needless to say Hale won the election, becoming one of only two abolitionist Senators at the time (the other was Salmon Chase, future Cabinet member for Lincoln).
While the author does an excellent job of writing, the subject material is not as entertaining as other historical stories. But it does a fabulous job of documenting an important part of American history. We appreciate how many hours the author must have spent in the library because each original quote is carefully noted as to which letter or newspaper it originally appeared in, unlike the current trend in modern biographies of removing the footnotes and not explaining all the references. This is a book for serious history buffs who enjoy the details of our American history.