Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era

Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era

James M. McPherson

Language: English

Pages: 909

ISBN: 019516895X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Filled with fresh interpretations and information, puncturing old myths and challenging new ones, Battle Cry of Freedom will unquestionably become the standard one-volume history of the Civil War.

James McPherson's fast-paced narrative fully integrates the political, social, and military events that crowded the two decades from the outbreak of one war in Mexico to the ending of another at Appomattox. Packed with drama and analytical insight, the book vividly recounts the momentous episodes that preceded the Civil War--the Dred Scott decision, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry--and then moves into a masterful chronicle of the war itself--the battles, the strategic maneuvering on both sides, the politics, and the personalities. Particularly notable are McPherson's new views on such matters as the slavery expansion issue in the 1850s, the origins of the Republican Party, the causes of secession, internal dissent and anti-war opposition in the North and the South, and the reasons for the Union's victory.

The book's title refers to the sentiments that informed both the Northern and Southern views of the conflict: the South seceded in the name of that freedom of self-determination and self-government for which their fathers had fought in 1776, while the North stood fast in defense of the Union founded by those fathers as the bulwark of American liberty. Eventually, the North had to grapple with the underlying cause of the war--slavery--and adopt a policy of emancipation as a second war aim. This "new birth of freedom," as Lincoln called it, constitutes the proudest legacy of America's bloodiest conflict.

This authoritative volume makes sense of that vast and confusing "second American Revolution" we call the Civil War, a war that transformed a nation and expanded our heritage of liberty.

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territories. . . . It is the duty of the federal government there to afford, for that as for other species of property, the needful protection."26 The Senate Democratic caucus, dominated by southerners, endorsed the resolutions and thereby threw down the gauntlet to Douglas at Charleston. In the fevered atmosphere of 1860, Charleston was the worst possible place for the convention.27 Douglas delegates felt like aliens in a hostile land. Fire-eating orators held forth outdoors each evening.

(Cambridge, 1981); Carl N. Degler, At Odds: Women and the Family in America from the Revolution to the Present (New York, 1980); Ellen Carol DuBois, Feminism and Suffrage: The Emergence of an Independent Women's Movement in America 1848–1869 (Ithaca, 1978); Suzanne Leb-sock, The Free Women of Petersburg: Status and Culture in a Southern Town, 1784–1860 (New York, 1984); and Catherine Clinton, The Plantation Mistress: Woman's World in the Old South (New York, 1982). educating the children.

carrying ten guns, and resembling the Virginia in appearance, the Arkansas steamed down to challenge the combined Federal fleets in mid-July. She first encountered and crippled the famed Carondelet, then swooped 37. O.R. Navy, Ser. I, Vol. 18, p. 492. down between the two surprised Union flotillas tied up on either bank with their steam down and guns unloaded. They remedied the latter quickly and peppered the iron intruder with a hailstorm of shot. The Arkansas fired back "to every point of the

these territories. "California is peculiarly adapted for slave labor," resolved a southern convention. "The right to have [slave] property protected in the territory is not a mere abstraction." A Georgia newspaper heightened abolitionist suspicions of a slave-power conspiracy by professing a broader purpose in opening these territories to slavery: it would "secure to the South the balance of power in the Confederacy, and, for all coming time . . . give to her the control in the operations of the

November. Though less than half the state was under Union military control, the president did not consider that a reason for delay. "Without waiting for more territory," he told Banks, "go to work and give me a tangible nucleus which the rest of the State may rally around as fast as it can, and which I can at once recognize and sustain as the true State government."30 It was this desire for a prompt beginning that caused Lincoln to fix the "tangible nucleus" at 10 percent of a state's 1860

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