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362CIVIL WAR HISTORY a shorter period, they also did not repay their capital. Though Ransom 's measures are surely not error free, Scheiber's impressions are a much inferior substitute and provide no reason for altering Ransom's conclusions. The canal investments in Ohio, and in many other states as well, lowered rather than raised the long-run rate of growth in the United States. Gary M. Walton University of Hawaii Between Two Empires: The Life Story of California's First Senator, William McKendree Gwin. By Lately Thomas. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1969. Pp. xiv, 399. $7.95.) Although one of the major developments in Civil War historiography in the 1960's was the appearance of biographies of a number of antebellum politicians who had been previously neglected, many of these studies were a disappointment in their treatment of national politics in the 1850's. The volume under review—an undocumented, popular account of the career of Dr. William Gwin, who along with John C. Fremont was elected to the Senate when California entered the Union in 1850— falls into this category. Based on only the most standard primary and secondary sources, the book is marred by the emphasis placed on colorful , but often insignificant, detail; it is inconceivable that a party given by Mrs. Gwin, admittedly one of the most famous hostesses of the day, should be discussed at greater length than most of the political events of her husband's decade in Washington. At times one wonders whether this is not a biography of Gwin's great California rival, the ill-fated David Broderick. While the loss of Gwin's personal papers during the Civil War is a contributing factor, the author's failure to make full use of the voluminous materials available on the 1850's is equally responsible for the senator remaining the shadowy figure he has always been. Yet there is much of interest to Civil War historians in this story of a Tennessee-bom doctor, land speculator, congressman, planter, mining magnate, and associate of Louis Napoleon and Maximilian. Admittedly , there are more questions than answers, but some of them are intriguing: Was Gwin responsible for the crucial "natural limits" section in Webster's 'Seventh of March' speech? Did he plant the seed of expansion to Alaska in the mind of his friend Seward? What role did he play in the latter's cloak-and-dagger activities during the secession winter? More positively, while the Hamilton thesis on the "southernism" of California representation in the 1850's remains unchallenged, Senator Gwin, who supported much of the progressive legislation of the decade, emerges as a man frequently frustrated by the conservatism of his southem friends. In the best chapters of the book, Thomas traces Gwin's movements from 1859 to 1865, as he attempted to balance southernism and Unionism and became involved in the abortive project to establish book reviews363 a colony of American silver miners in Maximilian's Mexico. This reviewer is convinced that these activities, which led to his imprisonment by the Johnson administration and have long clouded his reputation, were motivated by Gwin's pecuniary and expansionist interests, not by his fondness for the Confederacy. Finally, and perhaps most interesting, there is Thomas' contention that slavery was not the major issue in California politics of the 1850's. When one recalls other recent studies which have come to similar conclusions, it may not be presumptuous to suggest that historians of the 1970's will interpret the Civil War within a much broader framework than did historians of the last two decades. Charles Desmond Hart York University, Toronto Artillery and Ammunition of the Civil War. By Warren Ripley. (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1970. Pp. 384. unpriced.) This book gives "the reader a fighting chance to identify various types of Civil War ordnance with, in certain instances, a bit of history on a few weapons themselves." The National Park Service still has some faked Napoleons. Its 660 illustrations, elaborate tables, and careful scholarship make this an ideal handbook in "Civil War cannon hunting." The first nine chapters end with "Cannon Miscellaneous." The others are on carriages, "The Art of Artilleryman," smoothbore and rifle ammunition...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 362-363
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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