Book Review The War Before the War: Fugitive Slaves and the Struggle for America's Soul from the Revolution to the Civil War by Andrew Delbanco


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jgoodguy

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Here is the author discussing Lincoln and the Fugitive Slave Act;

https://www.c-span.org/video/?454458-2/lincoln-fugtive-slave-act
Interesting. In short, the 1850 compromise preserved the union long enough to win a civil war, slavery was an existential threat to the Union, Lincoln loved the Union more than he hated slavery, many anti-slavery moralists compromised to preserve the Union, the 1850 FSL was really the death knell of slavery and he mentioned Ben Butler.
 

John S. Carter

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Just for debate; If the ship had not unloaded its cargo of slaves or had been refused to land in Jamestown would slavery have still found a entry into this country.?Were these first blacks more servants to the merchants and aristocrats?Reminder this is the four hundred year anniversary of Jamestown and of slavery.So let us blame slavery on these settlers of Va.Question;Was this an act of fate that this one ship would bring the disease that would spread and eventually lead to destructive events ,politically and socially ,then to the war that continues to halut this nation
 

ForeverFree

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Reminder this is the four hundred year anniversary of Jamestown and of slavery.So let us blame slavery on these settlers of Va.
Jamestown explains how slavery came to this part of British America, but it does not explain why it remained there for as long as it did. For that, we must look at the stories of people who lived past that time. History is the result of choices that people make, not invisible forces.

- Alan
 
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John S. Carter

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Jamestown explains how slavery came to this part of British America, but it does not explained whey it remained there for as long as it did. For that, we must look at the stories of people who lived past that time. History is the result of choices that people make, not invisible forces.

- Alan
Ceasare believed in the goddess Fortuna who watched over his actions .He gave thanks for her bringing him victory in battle .During the American Revolution Washington's forces where able to elude the British by sudden changes in the weather.In people's lives that are events that can not be explained call chance,fortune,or fate.Without these there is no way to explain why event in time have occured that have not other reason or explaination.Lincoln believed that, as the Founder did, that there is a Being that watches over the affairs of man but allows persons to complete their own goals,but also aids or protects them in doing so.Ever heard of the Hail Mary,ever done one,did it accomplish what who wanted ,prehabs if it did not it was meant to end the way it did,and it did then you did it ALL BY YOURSELF!
 

ForeverFree

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Ceasare believed in the goddess Fortuna who watched over his actions .He gave thanks for her bringing him victory in battle .During the American Revolution Washington's forces where able to elude the British by sudden changes in the weather.In people's lives that are events that can not be explained call chance,fortune,or fate.Without these there is no way to explain why event in time have occured that have not other reason or explaination.Lincoln believed that, as the Founder did, that there is a Being that watches over the affairs of man but allows persons to complete their own goals,but also aids or protects them in doing so.Ever heard of the Hail Mary,ever done one,did it accomplish what who wanted ,prehabs if it did not it was meant to end the way it did,and it did then you did it ALL BY YOURSELF!
Earlier I said:

Jamestown explains how slavery came to this part of British America, but it does not explain why it remained there for as long as it did. For that, we must look at the stories of people who lived past that time. History is the result of choices that people make, not invisible forces.
I still hold to that, your comments notwithstanding. I add that, historians and social scientists have researched and written extensively about the evolution and development of slavery and other man-made institutions, and the book noted in this thread is just one of them. The human hand in this is clearly explained.

- Alan

I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs. - Frederick Douglass
 
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jgoodguy

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One constant is that slavery at scale exists where there is a labor shortage. Indentured servants were not sufficient and without slavery, there is a significant labor gap in the South. That is the simple explanation of why it remained.
 

Pat Young

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The book was awarded the Lukas Prize which honors American nonfiction writing, and is co-administered by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard and sponsored by the family of the late Mark Lynton, a historian and senior executive at the firm Hunter Douglas in the Netherlands.
 
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Just finished this book myself, and rather enjoyed it. Being a book nerd, the chapter on literature and the power of slave narratives was especially attention-grabbing. As you said, some of the legalese gets a hair dense, but Delbanco makes a great case for the outsized cultural and political impact of fugitive slaves. McPherson makes roughly the same case in Battle Cry, but of course only has but a few pages to do so.
 

Dead Parrott

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Part 11:

Delbanco next turns to the case law on fugitive slaves, the personal liberty laws and other efforts to expand and restrict the power to catch slaves in free territory. By the 1850s, Southern slave owners could complain that their property rights in humans was not respected in the North while Northerners groused that their states were now open to the importation of slaves.

I wonder if this deep dive into the law might dissuade some readers from trying out this new book. About a quarter of the book discusses legal doctrine and it gets pretty heavy at times. I have to admit that the book's narrative slowed as it delved ever deeper into the jurisprudence of human bondage. As a lawyer I appreciated the attention to the laws, but I think it may be over-involved for some readers.
I have got to get this book. Thank you!

- K.
 

Pat Young

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Just finished this book myself, and rather enjoyed it. Being a book nerd, the chapter on literature and the power of slave narratives was especially attention-grabbing. As you said, some of the legalese gets a hair dense, but Delbanco makes a great case for the outsized cultural and political impact of fugitive slaves. McPherson makes roughly the same case in Battle Cry, but of course only has but a few pages to do so.
Thanks for reading.
 

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IMHO 1000 is about right.
So the history of the Underground railroad has been "exaggerated" ? By the African-Americans who conducted the underground railroad, and who wrote about it? I will now have to question all sources by African-Americans in that era. In what other areas did they exaggerate? One now has to consider that.

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William

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W. Richardson

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Part 13:

What Southern whites seemed blind to was the immense embarrassment that the reclamation of fugitive slaves imposed on Northerners..
Now that I can understand, but did the White Northerners see the immense embarrassment of Southerners not not being able to take their property to the Federal Territories? The Federal Territories belonged as much to the Southern Whites as it did Northern Whites. The problem was Lincoln and the Northern Whites wanted the Federal Territories for White people only.

Respectfully,
William

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matthew mckeon

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Now that I can understand, but did the White Northerners see the immense embarrassment of Southerners not not being able to take their property to the Federal Territories? The Federal Territories belonged as much to the Southern Whites as it did Northern Whites. The problem was Lincoln and the Northern Whites wanted the Federal Territories for White people only.

Respectfully,
William

One Nation,
Two countries
View attachment 320414
Truly, white southerners were the victims in spreading slavery into the west.
 


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