Winner of the John H. Dunning Prize, American Historical Association Winner of the Stuart L. Bernath Book Prize, Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations Winner of the James H. Broussard Best First Book Prize, Society for Historians of the Early American Republic Winner of the North Jersey Civil War Round Table Book Award Finalist for the Harriet Tubman Prize, Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery
When the United States emerged as a world power in the years before the Civil War, the men who presided over the nation’s triumphant territorial and economic expansion were largely southern slaveholders. As presidents, cabinet officers, and diplomats, slaveholding leaders controlled the main levers of foreign policy inside an increasingly powerful American state. This Vast Southern Empire explores the international vision and strategic operations of these southerners at the commanding heights of American politics.
“At the close of the Civil War, more than Southern independence and the bones of the dead lay amid the smoking ruins of the Confederacy. Also lost was the memory of the prewar decades, when Southern politicians and pro-slavery ambitions shaped the foreign policy of the United States in order to protect slavery at home and advance its interests abroad. With This Vast Southern Empire, Matthew Karp recovers that forgotten history and presents it in fascinating and often surprising detail.” —Fergus Bordewich, Wall Street Journal
“Matthew Karp’s illuminating book This Vast Southern Empire shows that the South was interested not only in gaining new slave territory but also in promoting slavery throughout the Western Hemisphere.” —David S. Reynolds, New York Review of Books
Widely regarded as one of the most active and publicly engaged university presidents in modern academia, Duderstadt—who led the University of Michigan from 1988 to 1996—presided over a period of enormous change, not only for his institution, but for universities across the country. His presidency was a time of growth and conflict: of sweeping new affirmative-action and equal-opportunity programs, significant financial expansion, and reenergized student activism on issues from apartheid to codes of student conduct.
Under James Duderstadt’s stewardship, Michigan reaffirmed its reputation as a trailblazer among universities. Part memoir, part history, part commentary, The View from the Helm extracts general lessons from his experiences at the forefront of change in higher education, offering current and future administrators a primer on academic leadership and venturing bold ideas on how higher education should be steered into the twenty-first century.