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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 aim: to cajole the political management and the citizenry of the uncommitted slave states to hitch 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 reveals within the commissioners' brutally candid rhetoric a stark white supremacist ideology that proves the opposite. The commissioners integrated of their speeches a constitutional justification for secession, to be certain, and so they pointed to a few political "outrages" devoted by way of the North within the many years sooner than Lincoln's election. however the middle in their argument—the cause the precise of secession needed to be invoked and invoked immediately—did now not activate concerns of constitutional interpretation or political precept. again and again, the commissioners lower back to an analogous element: that Lincoln's election signaled an unequivocal dedication at the a part of the North to damage slavery and that emancipation might plunge the South right into a racial nightmare.

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

Addressing subject matters nonetheless hotly debated between historians and the general public at huge greater than a century after the Civil struggle, Dew demanding situations many present perceptions of the motives 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 middle of our nice nationwide crisis.

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