In order to win the famous battle of New Orleans, Andrew Jackson believed that it was necessary to declare martial law and suspend the writ of habeas corpus. In doing so, he achieved both a great victory and the notoriety of being the first American general to ever suspend civil liberties in America.
Andrew Jackson and the Politics of Martial Law tells the history of Jackson’s use of martial law and how the controversy surrounding it followed him throughout his life. The work engages the age-old controversy over if, when, and who should be able to subvert the Constitution during times of national emergency. It also engages the continuing historical controversy over Jackson’s political prowess and the importance of the rise of party politics during the early republic. As such, the book contributes to both the scholarship on Jackson and the legal and constitutional history of the intersection between the military and civilian spheres.
To fully understand the history of martial law and the subsequent evolution of a theory of emergency powers, Matthew Warshauer asserts, one must also understand the political history surrounding the discussion of civil liberties and how Jackson’s stature as a political figure and his expertise as a politician influenced such debates. Warshauer further explains that Abraham Lincoln cited Jackson’s use of the military and suspension of civil liberties as justification for similar decisions during the Civil War. During both Jackson’s and Lincoln’s use of martial law, critics declared that such an action stood in opposition to both the Constitution and the nation’s cherished republican principles of protecting liberty from dangerous power, especially that of the military. Supporters of martial law insisted that saving the nation became the preeminent cause when the republic was endangered. At the heart of such arguments lurked the partisan maneuvering of opposing political parties.
Andrew Jackson and the Politics of Martial Law is a powerful examination of the history of martial law, its first use in the United States, and the consequent development of emergency powers for both military commanders and presidents.
Matthew Warshauer is associate professor of history at Central Connecticut State University. He is the author of the forthcoming Andrew Jackson: First Men, America’s Presidents. His articles have appeared in Tennessee Historical Quarterly, Connecticut History, Louisiana History, and New York History.
The first biographical account of the life of James Gillespie Birney in more than fifty years, this fabulously insightful history illuminates and elevates an all-but-forgotten figure whose political career contributed mightily to the American political fabric. Birney was a southern-born politician at the heart of the antislavery movement, with two southern-born sons who were major generals involved in key Union Army activities, including the leadership of the black troops. The interaction of the Birneys with historical figures (Abraham Lincoln, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Henry Clay) highlights the significance of the family’s activities in politics and war. D. Laurence Rogers offers a unique historiography of the abolition movement, the Civil War, and Reconstruction through the experiences of one family navigating momentous developments from the founding of the Republic until the late 19th century.
During the long decade from 1848 to 1861 America was like a train speeding down the track, without an engineer or brakes. The new territories acquired from Mexico had vastly increased the size of the nation, but debate over their status—and more importantly the status of slavery within them—paralyzed the nation. Southerners gained access to the territories and a draconian fugitive slave law in the Compromise of 1850, but this only exacerbated sectional tensions. Virtually all northerners, even those who supported the law because they believed that it would preserve the union, despised being turned into slave catchers. In 1854, in the Kansas-Nebraska Act, Congress repealed the ban on slavery in the remaining unorganized territories. In 1857, in the Dred Scott case, the Supreme Court held that all bans on slavery in the territories were unconstitutional. Meanwhile, northern whites, free blacks, and fugitive slaves resisted the enforcement of the 1850 fugitive slave law. In Congress members carried weapons and Representative Preston Brooks assaulted Senator Charles Sumner with a cane, nearly killing him. This was the decade of the 1850s and these were the issues Congress grappled with.
This volume of new essays examines many of these issues, helping us better understand the failure of political leadership in the decade that led to the Civil War.
Spencer R. Crew
Amy S. Greenberg
Martin J. Hershock
Michael F. Holt
Brooks D. Simpson
In 1815 the United States was a proud and confident nation. Its second war with England had come to a successful conclusion, and Americans seemed united as never before. The collapse of the Federalist party left the Jeffersonian Republicans in control of virtually all important governmental offices. This period of harmony—what historians once called the Era of Good Feeling—was not illusory, but it was far from stable. One-party government could not persist for long in a vibrant democracy full of ambitious politicians, and sectional harmony was possible only as long as no one addressed the hard issues: slavery, race, western expansion, and economic development.
Congress and the Emergence of Sectionalism: From the Missouri Compromise to the Age of Jackson inaugurates a new series for the United States Capitol Historical Society, one that will focus on issues that led to the secession crisis and the Civil War. This first volume examines controversies surrounding sectionalism and the rise of Jacksonian Democracy, placing these sources of conflict in the context of congressional action in the 1820s and 1830s. The essays in this volume consider the plight of American Indians, sectional strife over banking and commerce, emerging issues involving slavery, and the very nature of American democracy.
“It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes…. There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses. If it would confine itself to equal protection, and, as Heaven does its rains, shower its favors alike on the high and the low, the rich and the poor, it would be an unqualified blessing. In the act before me there seems to be a wide and unnecessary departure from these just principles.”—Andrew Jackson, Veto Message Regarding the Bank of the United States, July 10, 1832
“I consider, then, the power to annul a law of the United States, assumed by one State, incompatible with the existence of the Union, contradicted expressly by the letter of the Constitution, unauthorized by its spirit, inconsistent with every principle on which it was founded, and destructive of the great object for which it was formed.”—Andrew Jackson, Proclamation Regarding Nullification to the People of South Carolina, December 10, 1832
The Constitution in Congress series has been called nothing less than a biography of the US Constitution for its in-depth examination of the role that the legislative and executive branches have played in the development of constitutional interpretation. This third volume in the series, the early installments of which dealt with the Federalist and Jeffersonian eras, continues this examination with the Jacksonian revolution of 1829 and subsequent efforts by Democrats to dismantle Henry Clay’s celebrated “American System” of nationalist economics. David P. Currie covers the political events of the period leading up to the start of the Civil War, showing how the slavery question, although seldom overtly discussed in the debates included in this volume, underlies the Southern insistence on strict interpretation of federal powers.
Like its predecessors, The Constitution in Congress: Democrats and Whigs will be an invaluable reference for legal scholars and constitutional historians alike.
This acclaimed series serves as a biography of the U.S. Constitution, offering an indispensable survey of the congressional history behind its development. In a rare examination of the role that both the legislative and executive branches have played in the development of constitutional interpretation, The Constitution in Congress shows how the actions and proceedings of these branches reveal perhaps even more about constitutional disputes than Supreme Court decisions of the time.
The centerpiece for the fourth volume in this series is the great debate over slavery and how this divisive issue led the country into the maelstrom of the Civil War. From the Jacksonian revolution of 1829 to the secession of Southern states from the Union, legal scholar David P. Currie provides an unrivaled analysis of the significant constitutional events—the Wilmot Proviso, the Compromise of 1850, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, and "Bleeding Kansas"—that led up to the war. Exploring how slavery was addressed in presidential speeches and debated in Congress, Currie shows how the Southern Democrats dangerously diminished federal authority and expanded states' rights, threatening the nation's very survival.
Like its predecessors, this fourth volume of The Constitution in Congress will be an invaluable reference for legal scholars and constitutional historians alike.
Winner, ISHS Superior Achievement Award for a Scholarly Publication, 2016
In 1820 the Missouri controversy erupted over the issue of slavery in the newly acquired lands of the Louisiana Purchase. It fell to Jesse Burgess Thomas (1777–1853), a junior U.S. senator from the new state of Illinois, to handle the delicate negotiations that led to the Missouri Compromise. Thomas’s maturity, good judgment, and restraint helped pull the country back from the brink of disunion and created a compromise that held for thirty-four years. In Dividing the Union, Matthew W. Hall examines the legal issues underlying the controversy and the legislative history of the Missouri Compromise while focusing on the aspects of Thomas’s life and character that gave him such influence. The first in-depth biography of Thomas, Hall’s work demonstrates how the legislative battle over the Compromise reflected the underlying nuances of the larger struggle over slavery.
The text of the Missouri Compromise originated from the Northwest Ordinance. Article VI of the Ordinance purported to prohibit slavery in the Northwest Territory, but paradoxically, a provision that assured property rights in another article was used to protect slavery. People in some parts of the Northwest sought to circumvent Article VI by formulating indenture laws and various state constitutional provisions addressing slavery. Pro- and antislavery activists eventually developed quite different interpretations of the relevant language in these documents, making negotiations over slavery in the new territory extremely complicated.
As Hall demonstrates, Thomas was perfectly situated geographically, politically, and ideologically to navigate the Missouri controversy. He was the first speaker of the Indiana Territorial General Assembly, one of the first territorial judges in the Illinois Territory, and the president of the Illinois State Constitutional Convention in 1818. Because the drive for statehood in Illinois was strong, the convention managed to skirt the divisive issue of slavery, due in large part to Thomas’s efforts. That he was never required to clearly articulate his own views on slavery allowed Thomas to maintain a degree of neutrality, and his varied political career gave him the experience necessary to craft a compromise.
Thomas’s final version of the Compromise included shrewdly worded ambiguities that supported opposing interests in the matter of slavery. These ambiguities secured the passage of the Compromise and its endurance until the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. By weaving Thomas’s life story into the history of the Missouri Compromise, Hall offers new insight into both a pivotal piece of legislation and an important, previously overlooked figure in nineteenth-century American politics.
Establishing Congress: The Removal to Washington, D.C., and the Election of 1800 focuses on the end of the 1790s, when, in rapid succession, George Washington died, the federal government moved to Washington, D.C., and the election of 1800 put Thomas Jefferson and the Democratic-Republican Party in charge of the federal government.
Establishing Congress dispels the myths and misinformation that surround the federal government’s move to Washington and demonstrates that the election of 1800 changed American party politics forever, establishing the success of the American experiment in government and completing the founding of the Republic. It also contends that the lame-duck session of Congress had far-reaching implications for the governance of the District of Columbia. Later chapters examine aspects of the political iconography of the Capitol—one illuminating Jefferson’s role in turning the building into a temple for the legislature and an instrument for nation-building, another analyzing the fascinating decades-long debate over whether to bury George Washington in the Capitol.
The book considers as well the political implications of social life in early Washington, examining the political lobbying by Washington women within a social context and detailing the social and political life in the city’s homes, hotels, boardinghouses, and eating messes. Establishing Congress is an invaluable reference work for anyone interested in these pivotal moments in American history.
Deliberation, in recent years, has emerged as a form of civic engagement worth reclaiming. In this persuasive book, Sandra M. Gustafson combines historical literary analysis and political theory in order to demonstrate that current democratic practices of deliberation are rooted in the civic rhetoric that flourished in the early American republic.
Though the U.S. Constitution made deliberation central to republican self-governance, the ethical emphasis on group deliberation often conflicted with the rhetorical focus on persuasive speech. From Alexis de Tocqueville’s ideas about the deliberative basis of American democracy through the works of Walt Whitman, John Dewey, John F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr., Gustafson shows how writers and speakers have made the aesthetic and political possibilities of deliberation central to their autobiographies, manifestos, novels, and orations. Examining seven key writers from the early American republic—including James Fenimore Cooper, David Crockett, and Daniel Webster—whose works of deliberative imagination explored the intersections of style and democratic substance, Gustafson offers a mode of historical and textual analysis that displays the wide range of resources imaginative language can contribute to political life.
He made a name for himself in the Missouri territory as a land speculator, entrepreneur, lawyer, militia officer, politician, and newspaper editor. He went on to take part in many of the events that shaped the young republic, and his name became a household word. But Duff Green has not found his rightful place in history—until now. W. Stephen Belko has written the first full-scale political investigation of this important figure, examining Green’s fundamental role in the politics, society, and economy of Jacksonian America.
Duff Green emerged on the national stage when he became editor of the United States Telegraph, an organizer of the fledgling Democratic Party, and one of Andrew Jackson’s chief advisers. He broke bitterly with Jackson over his feud with Vice President John C. Calhoun, then later found a place as a diplomat in John Tyler’s administration and emerged as a key figure in the popularization of Manifest Destiny and the annexation of Texas. Green also played a major role in the transportation revolution as a developer of canal and railroad projects.
Belko presents a balanced appraisal of Green’s career, particularly from 1815 to 1850, delving into his personality to tease out the motivations for his pursuit of such wide-ranging ventures. Drawing on a wealth of previously unexploited primary sources, he not only chronicles Green’s labyrinthine career but also illuminates Green’s rise in the Democratic Party; his role in the creation and development of the Whig Party; and his considerable influence on national debates regarding slavery, nullification, the National Bank, territorial expansion, and foreign relations.
For all his influence, Green has until now been either ignored or portrayed as a Calhoun minion and proslavery sectionalist in the Fireater mold. Belko revises these assessments of Green’s role in the making of Jacksonian America, showing him to be an independent westerner who was politically moderate—even less fanatical on the slavery issue than many have supposed. Belko’s research uncovers a Duff Green who was an aggressive and buoyant person, to be sure, but a democratic man of principle who is rightly called a quintessential Jacksonian.
The story of Jacksonian America cannot be fully told without Duff Green. This long-awaited study is a compelling narrative for scholars and aficionados of political or Missouri history, offering a fresh view of his crucial contributions to the antebellum era and shedding new light on the true nature of Jacksonian democracy.
A perennial choice for courses on antebellum America, Jacksonian America continues to be a popular classroom text with scholars of the period, even among those who bridle at Pessen's iconoclastic views of Old Hickory and his "inegalitarian society."
Lincoln's America: 1809 - 1865
Edited by Joseph R. Fornieri and Sara Vaughn Gabbard Southern Illinois University Press, 2016 Library of Congress E457.2.L838 2008 | Dewey Decimal 973.7092
To fully understand and appreciate Abraham Lincoln’s legacy, it is important to examine the society that influenced the life, character, and leadership of the man who would become the Great Emancipator. Editors Joseph R. Fornieri and Sara Vaughn Gabbard have done just that in Lincoln’s America: 1809–1865, a collection of original essays by ten eminent historians that place Lincoln within his nineteenth-century cultural context.
Among the topics explored in Lincoln’s America are religion, education, middle-class family life, the antislavery movement, politics, and law. Of particular interest are the transition of American intellectual and philosophical thought from the Enlightenment to Romanticism and the influence of this evolution on Lincoln's own ideas.
By examining aspects of Lincoln’s life—his personal piety in comparison with the beliefs of his contemporaries, his success in self-schooling when frontier youths had limited opportunities for a formal education, his marriage and home life in Springfield, and his legal career—in light of broader cultural contexts such as the development of democracy, the growth of visual arts, the question of slaves as property, and French visitor Alexis de Tocqueville’s observations on America, the contributors delve into the mythical Lincoln of folklore and discover a developing political mind and a changing nation.
As Lincoln’s America shows, the sociopolitical culture of nineteenth-century America was instrumental in shaping Lincoln’s character and leadership. The essays in this volume paint a vivid picture of a young nation and its sixteenth president, arguably its greatest leader.
Banks failed, inequality grew, people were out of work, and slavery threatened to rend the nation in two. The Panic of 1837 drew forth reformers who, animated by self-reliance, became prophets of a new moral order that would make America great again. Philip Gura captures a Romantic moment that was soon overtaken by civil war and postwar pragmatism.
America’s rise from revolutionary colonies to a world power is often treated as inevitable. But Charles N. Edel’s provocative biography of John Q. Adams argues that he served as the central architect of a grand strategy whose ideas and policies made him a critical link between the founding generation and the Civil War–era nation of Lincoln.
Hailed as “the most important congressman in the House of Representatives during the Civil War” and still honored in Pennsylvania as the father of its public school system, Thaddeus Stevens grappled in his day with many of the issues that confront us today: racial and economic equality, affirmative action, and equal access to education.
Volume one of the projected two-volume edition of The Papers of Thaddeus Stevens covers Steven’s political career from his Vermont youth to the end of the Civil War. It includes letters and speeches from his early days as a Gettysburg lawyer and as a representative in the Pennsylvania assembly through his antislavery efforts to the 1865 passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, freeing all slaves.
Thaddeus Stevens has been called “the greatest dictator Congress ever had,” a man who in 1867 held more political power than any man in the nation, including the president. In his day Stevens grappled with many of the issues that confront us today: racial and economic equality, affirmative action, and equal access to education. The second volume of a two-volume edition covers Steven’s later years during the tumultuous period from the end of the Civil War to his death in1868. It includes letters, speeches, and remarks Stevens delivered as he championed equal rights for the freedmen and steered key Reconstruction measures through Congress. This volume also contains letters from loyalists and ex-Confederates to Stevens reflecting their reactions to conditions in the South.
The turbulent history of the United States has provided a fertile ground for conspiracies, both real and imagined. From the American Revolution to the present day, conspiracy discourse—linguistic and symbolic practices and artifacts revolving around themes, claims, or accusations of conspiracy—has been a staple of political rhetoric. Some conspiracy theories never catch on with the public, while others achieve widespread popularity. Whether successful or not, the means by which particular conspiracy theories spread is a rhetorical process, a process in which persuasive language, symbolism, and arguments act upon individual minds within concrete historical and political settings.
Conspiracy rhetoric was a driving force in the evolution of antebellum political culture, contributing to the rise and fall of the great parties in the nineteenth century. One conspiracy theory in particular—the "slave power" conspiracy—was instrumental in facilitating the growth of the young Republican Party's membership and ideology. The Political Style of Conspiracy analyzes the concept and reality of the "slave power" in the rhetorical discourse of the mid-nineteenth-century, in particular the speeches and writing of politicians Salmon P. Chase, Charles Sumner, and Abraham Lincoln. By examining their mainstream texts, Pfau reveals that, in addition to the "paranoid style" of conspiracy rhetoric that inhabits the margins of political life, Lincoln, Chase, and Sumner also engaged in a distinctive form of conspiracy rhetoric that is often found at the center of mainstream American society and politics.
In the years before the Civil War, many Americans saw the sea as a world apart, an often violent and insular culture governed by its own definitions of honor and ruled by its own authorities. The truth, however, is that legal cases that originated at sea had a tendency to come ashore and force the national government to address questions about personal honor, dignity, the rights of labor, and the meaning and privileges of citizenship, often for the first time. By examining how and why merchant seamen and their officers came into contact with the law, Matthew Taylor Raffety exposes the complex relationship between brutal crimes committed at sea and the development of a legal consciousness within both the judiciary and among seafarers in this period.
The Republic Afloat tracks how seamen conceived of themselves as individuals and how they defined their place within the United States. Of interest to historians of labor, law, maritime culture, and national identity in the early republic, Raffety’s work reveals much about the ways that merchant seamen sought to articulate the ideals of freedom and citizenship before the courts of the land—and how they helped to shape the laws of the young republic.
The Fascinating History of the Rapid Expansion of Roads, Canals, and Railways in the First Decades of the United States
While the great overland migration routes to America’s far west are well known and documented—the California, Oregon, Mormon, and Santa Fe Trails, the Central Overland and Pony Express—less attention has been given to how Americans in the first decades of the republic traveled across the western frontiers of the original colonies. Following the revolution, Americans began to seek their fortunes to the west in greater numbers. Land grants to veterans inspired others to move, including tradesmen, merchants, and tavern owners. With the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the country doubled in size, and the rate of migration became extraordinary, with wider and more durable roads built, ferries installed at river crossings, canals cut to move goods, regular stage routes established, and ultimately the first railroad tracks laid down. Entire regions that supported few communities in the 1790s exploded in population, and as a result seven new states were admitted to the Union in the decade following the War of 1812. John Bradbury, who traveled through the United States between 1809 and 1811, wrote that “In passing through the upper parts of Virginia, I observed a great number of farms that had been abandoned, on many of which good houses had been erected, and fine apple and peach orchards had been planted. On enquiring the reason, I was always informed that the owners had gone to the western country.” In Maryland, a newspaper reporter wrote, “The time is close at hand when the region west of the Allegheny mountains will sway the destinies of the nation.” By 1839, the National Road extended more than 700 miles from Washington, DC, to central Illinois, New York’s Erie Canal operated from Albany to Buffalo, and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad carried passengers briskly west, ultimately to the Ohio River.
To the Wide Missouri: Traveling in America During the First Decades of Westward Expansion by Louis Garavaglia covers the routes and methods that emigrants used to reach the west in the forty-year period following the Louisiana Purchase. Using contemporary maps and the graphic descriptions found in diaries, journals, letters, and newspaper accounts, the author details not only the land and water routes that led settlers to the western country, but also illustrates the hardship, perseverance, humor, and romance that colored their journey.
Spanning some fifty-four years, The Union on Trial is a fascinating look at the journals that William Barclay Napton (1808–1883), an editor, Missouri lawyer, and state supreme court judge, kept from his time as a student at Princeton to his death in Missouri. Although a northerner by birth, Napton, the owner or trustee of forty-six slaves, viewed American society through a decidedly proslavery lens.
Focusing on events between the 1850s and 1870s, especially those associated with the Civil War and Reconstruction, The Union on Trial contains Napton’s political reflections, offering thoughtful and important perspectives of an educated northern-cum-southern rightist on the key issues that turned Missouri toward the South during the Civil War era. Although Napton’s journals offer provocative insights into the process of southernization on the border, their real value lies in their author’s often penetrating analysis of the political, legal, and constitutional revolution that the Civil War generated. Yet the most obvious theme that emerges from Napton’s journals is the centrality of slavery in Missourians’ measure of themselves and the nation and, ultimately, in how border states constructed their southernness out of the tumultuous events of the era.
Napton’s impressions of the constitutional crises surrounding the Civil War and Reconstruction offer essential arguments with which to consider the magnitude of the nation’s most transforming conflict. The book also provides a revealing look at the often intensely political nature of jurists in nineteenth-century America. A lengthy introduction contextualizes Napton’s life and beliefs, assessing his transition from northerner to southerner largely as a product of his political transformation to a proslavery, states’ rights Democrat but also as a result of his marriage into a slaveholding family. Napton’s tragic Civil War experience was a watershed in his southern evolution, a process that mirrored his state’s transformation and one that, by way of memory and politics, ultimately defined both.
Students and scholars of American history, Missouri history, and the Civil War will find this volume indispensable reading.
Relations between the United States and the countries of Latin America have been characterized by misunderstandings based on language and culture, a lack of sustained commitment on the part of the United States, and, in some cases, incompetent diplomats. During the era when many of the Latin American countries discarded the yoke of colonial status, the young United States attempted to define itself culturally, economically, constitutionally, geographically, and diplomatically. As Latin American emerged from the crucible of revolution and international power politics, it was affected by—and in varying degrees affected—the United States and its desired position of leadership in the Western Hemisphere.
To make sense of these relationships, this volume concentrates on Central America, Peru, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico. Describing the particular paths taken by each of the formation of relations with the United States, Shurbutt and his colleagues focus on the American diplomatic community and its effectiveness in tense political situations.
Contributors in addition to the editor include Lawrence A. Clayton, Paul B. Goodwin, Eugene R. Huck, Phil Brian Johnson, Edward H. Moseley, Wesley P. Newton, Charles S. Stansifer, and Robert Kim Stevens.
The National Reform Association (NRA) was an antebellum land reform movement inspired by the shared dream of a future shaped by egalitarian homesteads. Mark A. Lause's Young America argues that it was these working people's interest in equitable access to the country's most obvious asset--land--that led them to advocate a federal homestead act granting land to the landless, state legislation to prohibit the foreclosure of family farms, and antimonopolistic limitations on land ownership.
Rooting the movement in contemporary economic structures and social ideology, Young America examines this urban and working-class "agrarianism," demonstrating how the political preoccupations of this movement transformed socialism by drawing its adherents from communitarian preoccupations into political action. The alliance of the NRA's land reformers and radical abolitionists led unprecedented numbers to petition Congress and established the foundations of what became the new Republican Party, promising "Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men."