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BOOK REVIEWS257 Critical Studies in Antebellum Sectionalism: Essays in American Political and Economic History. By Robert R. Rüssel. (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Publishing Company, 1972. Pp. xix, 223. $10.50.) These articles, written between 1924 and 1966, deal with four themes in the antebellum years—the authority of Congress to prohibit or protect slavery in the territories, the thinking and activities of southern secessionists, the transcontinental railroad as a political issue during the 1850's, and economic implications of slavery for the South. Professor Rüssel does not offer unexpectedly new interpretations, but he does question facts other historians have used as bases for their conclusions . For instance, Rüssel maintains that squatter sovereignty was precisely defined in the acts creating the New Mexico and Utah territories ; later, the concept was muddied by phrases in the Kansas-Nebraska Act which were incorporated in order to make that measure acceptable to the South. The consequent inability of contemporaries and historians to comprehend the legal terminology has caused confusion about whether or not a territorial legislature had the power to exclude or permit slavery. According to Russel's interpretation of the New Mexico and Utah acts it did; Congress granted this authority to the territories whereas the Constitution had formerly given it to established or entering states. Again, in discussing the lack of a diversified economy in the South, Rüssel emphasized climate, topography, and the scarcity of natural resources as more detrimental than slavery. True, bondage had helped to entrench an agricultural system in the slave states, but other factors were as influential in determining the direction of southern economy. Rüssel admits, in his introduction, that subsequent works by other historians have added depth to his own research topics, and he apologizes for the lack of a major theme in the collection. An apology is hardly necessary. Professor Russel's previously published books and this anthology offer evidence of a long and distinguished career as a teacher and a scholar. Eugene H. Berwancer Colorado State University Slavery in the New World: A Reader in Comparative History. Edited by Laura Foner and Eugene D. Genovese. (New York: Prentice Hall, 1969, Pp. xii, 268. $6.95.) Neither Black nor White: Slavery and Race Relations in Brazil and the United States. By Carl N. Degler. (New York: Macmillan, 1971. Pp. xvi, 302. $6.95. ) The collection of essays assembled by Laura Foner and Eugene Genovese is an excellent depiction and assessment, provided by the various authors themselves, of the present state of scholarship on Afro-Ameri- ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
p. 257
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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