Foner explains why white people cared about slavery aside from the moral argument, which did not resonate with many whites. It makes for very interesting reading. Foner does a wonderful job of examining the emergent ideology of both the Republican Party, which would become the ideology of modern America, as well as the ideology of the slave-holding aristocrats of the South. This was the ideology that permeated the North in the period directly before the Civil War, led to the election of Abraham Lincoln, and led, almost immediately, to the Civil War itself. And this did not account for women and blacks, who had little freedom in choosing what work they did. The party ran in the , but its share of the popular vote shrank to less than 5%. Slaves were in perpetual bondage that forced the Southern aristocracy to shun free labor.
No wonder that it eroded when Reconstruction proved difficult. Its search is for those social concepts the North accepted as vital to its way of life, finding these concepts most clearly expressed in the ideology of the growing Republican party in the decade before the war's start. In a nutshell, this is the history of how the United States became bourgeois. This like many other books helps to put into perspective how slavery was the underlying cause of the Civil War. Republicans viewed southern society based on slavery as the antithesis of everything they valued. Demonstrating the profoundly successful fusion of value and interest within Republican ideology prior to the Civil War, Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men remains a classic of modern American historical writing.
Fearful of expanding slave power within the national government, Representative David Wilmot of Pennsylvania in 1846 introduced into Congress his famous , calling for the prohibition of slavery in the vast southwestern lands that had been newly acquired from Mexico. I was certainly pleased to learn all this as a Republican myself. He wanted to ride down the river and provide the slaves with arms from the North, but he failed to get the slaves organized. Since its publication twenty-five years ago, Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men has been recognized as a classic, an indispensable contribution to our understanding of the causes of the American Civil War. A significant reevaluation of the causes of the Civil War, Foner's study looks beyond the North's opposition to slavery and its emphasis upon preserving the Union to determine the broader grounds of its willingness to undertake a war against the South in 1861. This is a book about how the Republican Party was formed in the 1850s in the wake of the failure of the popular Whig Party, which fell apart soon after its nominee was elected to the presidency, leaving 'the Democracy' with a temporary monopoly on political power. Nevertheless, a dozen Free-Soil congressmen later held the in the House of Representatives, thus wielding considerable influence.
Reveals a tremendous amount of nuance and gritty reality about a process that has often been elided over in tellings of the coming of the Civil War: the formation of the Republican Party and the development of an effective anti-slavery agenda. A significant reevaluation of the causes of the Civil War, Foner's study looks beyond the North's opposition to slavery and its emphasis upon preserving the Union to determine the broader grounds of its willingness to undertake a war against the South in 1861. There's a lot to be said about how much of Southern opposition to the North was due to their conception of themselves as a unique region of the country, with their own ethnic heritage and distinct culture, and how with the South out of the government during the war, many important initiatives were passed - good ones like the Morrill Land Grant College Act, the Homestead Act, and the National Banking Act, along with more mixed ones like the Pacific Railroad Act. An unforgettable portrait of those who labored for a decade on the political problem of freeing the slave, this book is required reading for anyone interested in the history of abolition or party formation in the United States. Mexico claimed ownership of Texas as a breakaway province and refused to recognize the secession and subsequent military victory by Texas in 1836.
As a result, Foner highlights the many fissures and seams in the party right up until the war. Taney's ruling that African Americans, whether free or slave, were not citizens of the U. Foner shows in exhaustive detail the factions and arguments within the new Republican Party of the 1850s. Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men by Eric Foner was first published in 1970 and it discusses how the ideology of the Republican Party shaped the outcome of the Civil War. He also shows how northern ideas of human rights--in particular a man's right to work where and how he wanted, and to accumulate property in his own name--and the goals of American society were implicit in that ideology. It also looks at the various ways slavery was criticized - in the 21st Century, we take a moralist approach. The argument has greater nuances than this brief summation of his thesis might suggest, but the clarity of his thesis is sustainable and interesting.
The Free Soilers nominated former Democratic President for President, along with for Vice President, at in Buffalo, then known as Court House Park. Perry to Japan to request opening of ports. Lots of insight here into the years leading up to the Civil War, and what the Democrats were really thinking and what the Republicans were really thinking. All told, however, this is an excellent survey of its topic. Now with a new introduction, Eric Foner puts his argument into the context of contemporary scholarship, reassessing the concept of free labor in the light of the last twenty-five years of writing on such issues as work, gender, economic change, and political thought.
He was the second Vice President to assume the Presidency upon the death of a sitting President, succeeding Zachary Taylor. Used to promote the annexation of most of the Western United States Oregon Territory, Texas Annexation, and the Mexican Cessation. Before reading this book, I was largely unaware of the disparate elements that came together to form the Republican party prior to the Civil War, and the complex maneuverings on major issues that had to be done in order to create one party out of these groups with their different interests, emphases, and views regarding the future of the nation. Did not get the chance to read more than the intro, conclusion and various bits scattered about between. In 1854 the disorganized remnants of the party were absorbed into the newly formed , which carried the Free-Soil idea of opposing the expansion of slavery one step further by condemning slavery as a evil as well. . This was partly because it undermined the lofty ideal of free labor, but also because free laborers were tinged with racism that opposed the possibility that blacks and whites could work side by side.
In addition, the party was well represented in several state legislatures. The Democratic Party was functioning as a de facto regional power, blatantly subservient to the Slave Power. While it requires some fairly advanced knowledge of the issues of the antebellum political system issues like the Wilmot Proviso, party factions like Barnburner Democrats, and key figures like Horace Greeley get dropped into the analysis with cursory to no effort made to explain their context , Foner manages to p All the more impressive for having been initially released as a PhD dissertation, this is one of the most comprehensive and insightful treatments of a specific ideology that I've read. He traces how radicals , Democrats, and Whigs entered the Republican party, outlines the contributions of each group to Republican thinking, and delineates with precision the ideological differences among the groups. One only wishes that more history books were written like this. This was a period of third-party movements which was also witnessing a rise in anti-slavery activism, but none of these movements was making inroads in terms of becoming a major new national party.
A significant reevaluation of the causes of the Civil War, Foner's study looks beyond the North's opposition to slavery and its emphasis upon preserving the Union to determine the broader grounds of its willingness to undertake a war against the South in 1861. He also doesn't present history chronologically which can make it difficult to relate all the parts correctly. Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men is an indispensable book about the coming of the Civil War, and it serves as a powerful reminder that the motivations of historical figures are complex and often contradictory. In a time of rancorous sectional division, during which the Democratic Party was sundered north and south, with each section nominating its own presidential candidate, the Republicans drew anti-slavery Whigs and Democrats together under one banner. Foner blends together the many roots of the Republican Party and shows how ideologically driven and progressive it was in its time. A faction of New York Democrats known as the objected to slavery in the territories and opposed the 1848 Democratic nominee. Republicans and nativism, Republicans and race, moderate v radical Republicans, etc.
I had to do some supplementary reading on a few topics to keep my head from spinning. So this is a recommend for folks who want to see the diverse as in viewpoints and approaches anti-slavery coalition came together in the guise of a new political party and, in their second presidential race, managed to get their candidate elected. In 2006 Foner received the Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching at Columbia University. Foner revels in original and secondary material, and does a good job, but there is so much in the book that is not very absorbing. He recognizes that the radicals were a small but vocal minority who became a political force in response to the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854. Congress did not accept it. So the party was largely silent on immigration.