The 1850s offered the last remotely feasible chance for the United States to steer clear of Civil War. Yet fundamental differences between North and South about slavery and the meaning of freedom caused political conflicts to erupt again and again throughout the decade as the country lurched toward secession and war. The Shattering of the Union is a concise, readable analysis and survey of the major ideas and events that resulted in the Civil War. The first scholarly synthesis of America's final antebellum decade to be published in more than twenty years, this essential overview incorporates methods and findings by recognized historians on politics, society, race relations, ideology, and slavery. This book is a fascinating look at one of the pivotal decades in U.S. history.
Eric H. Walther is associate professor of history at the University of Houston. Walther served as an editorial assistant for The Papers of Jefferson Davis, is the author of The Fire Eaters, and is director of the Texas Slavery Project.
Chapter 1 Preface Chapter 2 Prologue: After the Compromise Chapter 3 1852: "The Vile Wretch in Petticoats" Chapter 4 1853: "Frank, I Pity You" Chapter 5 1854: "It Will Raise a Hell of a Storm" Chapter 6 1855: "Kansas Has Been Invaded" Chapter 7 1856: "The Rape of a Virgin Territory" Chapter 8 1857: "A Northern Man with Southern Principles" Chapter 9 1858: "It is an Irrepressible Conflict" Chapter 10 1859: "When I Strike, The Bess Will Swarm" Chapter 11 Epilogue: The 1860s and Beyond Chapter 12 Bibliographical Essay Chapter 13 Index