Book of the Week


An Agrarian Republic: Farming, Antislavery Politics, and Nature Parks in the Civil War Era
by Adam Wesley Dean

"Adam Dean artfully and convincingly reveals the agrarian roots of not only the Republican Party, but all the major conflicts of the Civil War era. Tracing the party's political ideology to a firm belief that progress, prosperity, and civilization arose from the proper management of the nation’s soil, Dean demonstrates that debates over slavery, territorial expansion, and even nature preservation rested on notions of agricultural improvement."
--Lisa Brady, Boise State University
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Kate Masur on Lincoln’s emigration proposal and the views of African American delegates

For all the attention to Lincoln’s ideas and motivations, however, there has been very little focus on the delegates’ side of the story. For decades no one even knew who they were, much less what they stood for. Drawing on the work of the historian Benjamin Quarles, many believed that four of the five delegates were uneducated former slaves, hand-picked by Lincoln and his colonization commissioner, James Mitchell, to be pliable and subservient. In fact, all five of the men who listened to Lincoln’s case for colonization were members of Washington’s free black elite, chosen by a formal meeting of representatives from Washington’s independent black churches. […]

General Hancock’s Hour: Glenn David Brasher at NY Times Disunion

At the New York Times’ Disunion blog, Glenn David Brasher, author of The Peninsula Campaign and the Necessity of Emancipation: African Americans and the Fight for Freedom, writes about the Battle of Williamsburg, which proved to be a key turning point in the career of Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock. The information he acted on, however, came from local African Americans. […]

Was Freedom Enough? Gregory Downs at NY Times Disunion

An excerpt from Gregory Downs’s blog at the NY Times Disunion Series concerning the livelihood of newly emancipated slaves. […]