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By Charles B. Dew

In past due 1860 and early 1861, state-appointed commissioners traveled the size and breadth of the slave South sporting a fervent message in pursuit of a transparent target: to cajole the political management and the citizenry of the uncommitted slave states to affix within the attempt to ruin the Union and forge a brand new Southern nation.

Directly refuting the neo-Confederate competition that slavery was once neither the cause of secession nor the catalyst for the ensuing onset of hostilities in 1861, Charles B. Dew unearths within the commissioners' brutally candid rhetoric a stark white supremacist ideology that proves the opposite. The commissioners incorporated of their speeches a constitutional justification for secession, to make sure, and so they pointed to a few political "outrages" dedicated by way of the North within the a long time sooner than Lincoln's election. however the middle in their argument—the cause the fitting of secession needed to be invoked and invoked immediately—did no longer activate concerns of constitutional interpretation or political precept. time and again, the commissioners again to an identical aspect: that Lincoln's election signaled an unequivocal dedication at the a part of the North to spoil slavery and that emancipation might plunge the South right into a racial nightmare.

Dew's discovery and examine of the hugely illuminating public letters and speeches of those apostles of disunion—often quite vague males despatched out to transform the unconverted to the secessionist cause--have led him to indicate that the arguments the commissioners offered supply us with the easiest proof now we have of the factors in the back of the secession of the reduce South in 1860–61.

Addressing themes nonetheless hotly debated between historians and the general public at huge greater than a century after the Civil warfare, Dew demanding situations many present perceptions of the factors of the clash. He deals a compelling and obviously substantiated argument that slavery and race have been totally serious elements within the outbreak of war—indeed, that they have been on the center of our nice nationwide crisis.

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