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BOOK REVIEWS325 The author writes with facile style and keen wit. He sums up scenes and situations with similes and metaphors which will delight the general reader, but which strike the historian as often too glib and simple to be acceptable. The detailed information, however, is massively, even prodigiously documented , mostly from manuscript sources. One cannot blame Professor Seager for wishing to make full use of the remarkable collection of Gardiner manuscripts , but by the end of the book this reviewer felt that too much of die correspondence had been included. On the whole, this book is entertaining, scholarly, and original in its handling of Julia and Tyler, too. Philip Shriver Klein Pennsylvania State University Fettered Freedom: Civil Liberties and the Shvery Controversy, 18301860 . By Rüssel B. Nye. (Second Revised Edition. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1964. Pp. xii, 353. $6.50.) When this work was first published fifteen years ago, a reviewer commented that he hoped it would not lead to a revival of the simplistic explanation of die Civil War as a direct outcome of the slavery controversy. Certainly it has not led to such a revival, but it has been a major influence in leading historians to a new appreciation of the ideological factors involved in that war. It has been difficult, since Mr. Nye's book was published, to maintain the equally simplistic diesis that the Civil War was only a result of conflicting economic interests. In the current revision, the author, as he tells us in his introduction, has changed his mind about nothing. He still sees abolitionism as a part of the continuing civil liberties tradition, and his thesis diat such liberties of Northem white men as freedom of the press, freedom of speech, right of petition, and academic freedom were as much at stake as Negro rights also remains unchanged . For the most part, Nye's changes are by way of adding more illustrations and of up-dating the footnotes—tasks that he has accomplished quite well. It is reassuring to note that he has found no "status revolution" in the 1840's, and it is a pleasure to observe that he has taken relatively more seriously than many such works as Hazel C. WoIFs On Freedom's Altar, Larry Gara's re-evaluation of the underground railroad, and Bernard Mandel's Labor: Free and Slave. The influence of the last two are particularly evident in the chapter on fugitive slaves, which has been retitled "Workmen and Runaways." The only criticism this reviewer can make is the same one that should have been made of the first edition—and, indeed, one that should be made about most histories of social movements. Too much rebanee upon the publications of the abolitionists themselves has led Nye to accept their own analysis of their place in history, and to exaggerate the contemporary importance of their cause. The book's subtitle implies, and Nye actually states from time to time, tiiat well before the outbreak of the Civil War, abolitionism had become identified with the general cause of civil liberties—with the rights of 326CIVIL WAR HISTORY white men in the North (e.g., p. 316). There is no doubt that the abolitionists portrayed tiiemselves in this light; and Nye has provided a magnificent analysis of their propaganda on this subject. But the question that Nye's subtitle implies he is going to answer is quite as open now as it was before. References to non-abolitionist sources are disturbingly infrequent, and those few references concern such highly dramatic, abnormal events that they do not convince one they adequately represent "Northern opinion." For example, we are told that after Elijah Lovejoy's murder, "abolitionism and freedom of the press merged into a single cause" (p. 150), and a number of (presumably) ordinary Northern newspapers and a few abolitionists are cited as so testifying. One cannot help wondering how Soudiern newspapers reacted to that shocking incident. And in a later chapter, when Nye tells us that "the responsibility of newspapers in encouraging mobs in the North [against the abolitionists] was great" (p. 198), and still later, that nineteen Massachusetts newspapers opposed the state personal liberty law...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 325-326
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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