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States' Rights and the Union: Imperium in Imperio, 1776-1876 (American Political Thought (University Press of Kansas)) Hardcover – October 24, 2000

4.2 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In living memory, "states' rights" is most notoriously associated with Southern resistance to desegregation and civil rights; in historical memory it's most notoriously associated with Southern secession and the Civil War. University of Alabama historian McDonald (Novus Ordo Seclorum: The Intellectual Origin of the Constitution and the American Presidency) offers a brief, pithy general survey of the issue's much richer, occasionally honorable history. States' rights was deeply intertwined with most major issues of America's first hundred years, from the very formation of government, to battles over the Bank of the United States, internal improvements (such as roads), the Louisiana Purchase, military policy tariffs and Reconstruction. This study is valuable simply for following a thread through such a diversity of subjects, and illuminating its main theme in such telling detail. It's also admirably honest in noting how frequently the doctrine was adopted or dropped, depending on the purposes served. Unfortunately, the book fails to adequately analyze other doctrines that competed with, intersected with or reinforced states' rights, and the fails to explore seriously the profound inconsistencies in how the doctrine came to be applied. Furthermore, while McDonald notes the rapid transformation of centuries-old contract law to accommodate the emergence of marketplace economics in the early 1800s, he ignores the notion of similar historical necessities transforming the decades-old doctrine of states' rights. The History Book Club, which will offer this largely informative and enjoyable book as a selection, could reach most of this book's limited audience among serious readers of American history. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"A bold, independent thinker, he demolishes the shibboleths of the right as readily as those of the left. . . An indispensable history." -- Eugene Genovese, The Atlantic Monthly

"One could ask for no better introduction to this important and often complicated subject...." -- Times Literary Supplement

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Product Details

  • Series: American Political Thought (University Press of Kansas)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas; 3rd otg edition (October 24, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700610405
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700610402
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #933,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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on January 20, 2001
Format: Hardcover
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on June 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
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on July 31, 2004
Format: Paperback
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