In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

256civil war history eleventh-hour introduction smacks of hasty second tíiought—or perhaps of revenge for having to keep the company of Louis T. Wigfall. Emory Thomas University of Georgia The Slave Catchers: Enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law, 1850-1860. By Stanley W. Campbell. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1970. Pp. viii, 196. $8.00.) The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 constituted a minor irritant to sectional harmony throughout most of the 1850's. Historians have generally concluded that northern hostility and interference rendered the fugitive law nugatory. Stanley W. Campbell challenges diis view. He concedes diat the law's provisions were "extremely inadequate" and that rendition of slaves in many areas of die North was unfeasible after 1854, but he argues that "the law was enforced by those charged widi responsibility for enforcement, namely, officers of the federal courts." In chapters dealing widi passage of the act, northern opinion on the measure, constitutional issues, and operation of the law during the Civil War, Campbell conveniently distills a wide variety of published documents , antislavery pamphlets, and older secondary accounts. He indicates how sentiment in die free states varied from area to area and changed over time. These discussions, however, overlook die major interpretive works of die last decade—particularly Holman Hamilton on die Compromise of 1850, Larry Gara on the "liberty line," Leon Litwack on northern racial prejudice, and Arthur Bcstor on constitutional doctrines—and provide few new insights. The novelty of the book lies in the author's argument that federal officials effectually enforced die Fugitive Slave Act. This diesis rests largely upon a distinction between die "effectiveness" of the law itself and die "effectiveness of enforcement ." When slave claimants came before diem, United States officers did invoke the law's provisions and ordered the return of black persons to slavery. Campbell's tabulation shows that, in 191 instances in which claimants appeared before federal tribunals, officials remanded 82.2 per cent of the alleged fugitives. Northern personal liberty laws never directly impeded enforcement, and examination of official manuscript records revealed die considerable efforts of die Pierce and Buchanan administrations to meet overt challenges to the execution of the law. Still, the resentment first ignited by the Kansas—Nebraska Act and prohibitive economic costs limited operation of the law to the southernmost tier of free states after 1854. Even if historians accept Campbell's distinction between an effective law and die "effective enforcement" of an inadequate statute, the differentiation would have seemed largely irrelevant during the 1850's. Opponents of die act believed it enslaved too many blacks; most slaveholders and many northerners apparently considered die law worthless because it returned too few slaves. Counting die handful of fugitive book reviews257 slave cases brought before federal judicial officers sheds some light on the question of which side was really correct, and to historians who are still concerned widi the validity of secessionists' arguments, this book may be of interest. As Larry Gara demonstrated almost a decade ago, however, myth was more important tìian reality in die fugitive slave controversy. Campbell's perspective ignores die extent to which die fugitive problem became a symbolic issue diat had little to do witìi die actual number of fugitive slaves remanded by federal officials. The book offers a corrective to facile generalizations about die Fugitive Slave Act becoming a "dead letter" after 1854, but beyond this insight, Campbell's "systematic analysis," by itself, adds little to understanding die relationship between die fugitive slave issue and die coming of die Civil War. Norman L. Rosenberg Central Michigan University Autumn of Glory: The Army of Tennessee, 1862-1865. By Thomas Lawrence Connelly. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1971. Pp. ix, 558. $15.00.) By late 1862, writes Thomas Lawrence Connelly, die fortunes of die Army of Tennessee had turned irreversibly downhill. Autumn of Glory, the second volume in his autìioritative study of die Confederacy's western army, chronicles diat downhill patìi, from 1862 to 1865, through die campaigns of Murfreesboro, Chattanooga, Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina. Skillfully interwoven widi die detailed narrative of military operations is a study of die command system of the army. Connelly...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 256-257
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.