Throes of Democracy: The American Civil War Era 1829-1877

Throes of Democracy: The American Civil War Era 1829-1877

Walter A. McDougall

Language: English

Pages: 882

ISBN: 0060567538

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

"And then there came a day of fire!" From its shocking curtain-raiser--the conflagration that consumed Lower Manhattan in 1835--to the climactic centennial year of 1876, when Americans staged a corrupt, deadlocked presidential campaign (fought out in Florida), Walter A. McDougall's Throes of Democracy: The American Civil War Era, 1829-1877 throws off sparks like a flywheel. This eagerly awaited sequel to Freedom Just Around the Corner: A New American History, 1585-1828 carries the saga of the American people's continuous self-reinvention from the inauguration of President Andrew Jackson through the eras of Manifest Destiny, Civil War, and Reconstruction, America's first failed crusade to put "freedom on the march" through regime change and nation building. But Throes of Democracy is much more than a political history. Here, for the first time, is the American epic as lived by Germans and Irish, Catholics and Jews, as well as people of British Protestant and African American stock; an epic defined as much by folks in Wisconsin, Kansas, and Texas as by those in Massachusetts, New York, and Virginia; an epic in which Mormon prophet Joseph Smith, showman P. T. Barnum, and circus clown Dan Rice figure as prominently as Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, and Henry Ward Beecher; an epic in which railroad management and land speculation prove as gripping as Indian wars. Walter A. McDougall's zesty, irreverent narrative says something new, shrewd, ironic, or funny about almost everything as it reveals our national penchant for pretense--a predilection that explains both the periodic throes of democracy and the perennial resilience of the United States.

They Would Never Hurt a Fly: War Criminals on Trial in The Hague

Upon the Altar of the Nation: A Moral History of the Civil War

The Cause of All Nations: An International History of the American Civil War

American Civil War Armies (2): Union Troops (Men-at-Arms, Volume 177)

Lee Takes Command: From Seven Days to Second Bull Run

America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation



















the U.S. Navy had a reputation for being even more oppressive than the British service. The Act of 1800 for the Government of the Navy (whose articles everyone nicknamed the “Rocks and Shoals”) stripped sailors of the constitutional and common-law rights they had enjoyed as civilians. Of course, the same was true of Britain’s articles of war and of the merchant marine (as Richard Henry Dana attested), because instant obedience to regulations and commands is a life-and-death matter at sea. What

‘La belle rivière,’ may certainly vie with any other on the Continent or in the world, for its beautifully skirted banks and prairie bluffs.” In 1838 the English writer Frederick Marryat called it “the finest portion of North America” because “nature had so arranged it that man should have all troubles cleared from before him, and have but little to do but to take possession and enjoy.” 103 Taking possession meant displacing the Menominees, Winnebagos, Chippewa, Fox, and Sauk, some 20,000 of

their seceded states (313 out of 1,105 resigned their commissions). Scott’s reading of military history and theory also caused him to buck the conventional wisdom that this war would be brief. It was true that every international war since 1815 had ended in two years or less. But this would be a civil war waged in a theater as large as Europe. Finally, Scott assumed the Confederates would adopt George Washington’s strategy, which was to fight on the strategic defensive, conserve resources, troll

sixty-year-old flag officer could not imagine trampling the Stars and Stripes he had sailed under for fifty-one years. Gustavus Fox recommended to Welles that the wiry patriot be given the Gulf Coast command with orders to capture the lower Mississippi. On April 18 Farragut’s nine sloops, fourteen gunboats, and nineteen mortar schooners opened a furious six-day barrage at Fort Jackson and Fort Saint Philip seventy-five miles south of New Orleans. No white flags appeared, so Farragut did not rest

give ’em hell, Bragg” (p. 216). After the battle a volunteer from Illinois wrote home, “They had us nearly whipped if they had known it.” But the brave Mexicans had already suffered so many casualties that a Pyrrhic victory would not have availed. Santa Anna needed to invade U.S. territory in force in order to preempt the U.S. invasion of central Mexico. 92. Bauer, Surfboats and Horse Marines, pp. 75–97 (“We could not,” p. 79; We, of course,” p. 88); Bauer, Mexican War, pp. 232–258; Eisenhower,

Download sample