The Republic in Crisis, 1848-1861 analyses the political climate in the years leading up to the American Civil War, offering for students and general readers a clear, chronological account of the sectional conflict and the beginning of the Civil War. Emerging from the tumultuous political events of the 1840s and 1850s, the Civil War was caused by the maturing of the North and South's separate, distinctive forms of social organisation and their resulting ideologies. John Ashworth emphasises factors often overlooked in explanations of the war, including the resistance of slaves in the South and the growth of wage labour in the North. Ashworth acquaints readers with modern writings on the period, providing a new interpretation of the American Civil War's causes.
John Ashworth is Professor of American History at the University of Nottingham. He is the author of numerous books, including Slavery, Capitalism and Politics in the Antebellum Republic (Cambridge University Press, 1995, 2007), the second volume of which won the James A. Rawley award given by the Southern Historical Association.
1. The United States in 1848: a nation imperiled; 2. Crisis at mid-century, 1848-51; 3. Immigrants, alcoholics and their enemies: ethnocultural issues, 1851-4; 4. Preparing for disaster: the politics of slavery, 1851-4; 5. Political maelstrom, 1854-6; 6. North and south, republican and democrat; 7. Political polarisation, 1857-60; 8. Secession and the outbreak of war, 1860-1; 9. Conclusion: slavery, emancipation, and the Civil War.