The second and concluding volume of Professor Ashworth's study of American antebellum politics, this book offers an exciting new interpretation of the origins of the Civil War. The volume deals with the politics of the 1850s and with the plunge into civil war. Professor Ashworth offers a new way of understanding the conflict between North and South and shows how northern free labor increasingly came into conflict with southern slavery as a result of both changes in the northern economy and the structural weaknesses of slavery.
John Ashworth was born in Lancashire, England, and studied at the Universities of Lancaster and Oxford. He is currently Professor of American History in the School of American and Canadian Studies at the University of Nottingham. Professor Ashworth is the author of 'Agrarians' and 'Aristocrats': Party Political Ideology in the United States, 1837-1846, of Slavery, Capitalism and Politics in the Antebellum Republic: Volume 1: Commerce and Compromise, 1820-1850 (both of which were published by Cambridge University Press), and of numerous articles and reviews in learned journals.
Part I. Slavery versus Antislavery: 1. Combating the weaknesses of slavery: Southern militants, 1850-1861; 2. The antislavery challenge: the Republicans, 1854-1861; Part II. Polarisation and Collapse: 3. The disintegration of democratic hegemony: northern and national Democrats, 1850-1861; 4. Political realignment: collapse of the Whigs and neo-Whigs, 1848-1861; Conclusion: explaining the Civil War (II).