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268 civil war history strength in the 1850's as due to a "drastic drop in migration from the South and a corresponding increase from the Northwest and Middle Atlantic states," satisfactory. And finally, although a roll call analysis enabled him to chart the contours of the inter- and intraparty splits with some accuracy, a greater effort to explain the motives of the radicals , conservatives and W7higs would have been welcome. James Roger Sharp Syracuse University Ethnic Voters and the Election of Lincoln. Edited by Frederick C. Luebke. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1971. Pp. xxxii, 226. $9.75. ) W7ho elected Lincoln in 1860? Until not too long ago, many historians answered, "the Germans," whose bloc vote provided the Republican margin of victory in the Northwest. Many years ago Joseph Schafer raised some sensible doubts about this conclusion, but it was not until the 1960's that a new generation of historians, armed with quantitative techniques for analyzing voting behavior, thoroughly discredited the old conclusion. This useful collection of essays contains eleven articles on the general subject of ethnic voting in the election of 1860, ranging from the early interpretation, represented by Donnai V. Smith and others, to articles published in the 1960's by George Daniels, Robert Swierenga and Paul Kleppner, dealing, respectively, with German voting in Iowa, Dutch voting in the same state, and the religious basis of political alignments in Pittsburgh. There are also two previously unpublished essays, by Robert P. Formisano on Michigan, and James M. Bergquist on Illinois, and an introduction by the editor, Frederick Luebke. Among other virtues, the collection provides a case study of the evolution of historical concepts and methodology. The earlier writers relied heavily on such evidence as the German-American press and the campaign activities of such well-known German-Republicans as Carl Schurz and Gustav Koerner. They made only the most superficial use of election statistics, and assumed that Germans voted as a bloc, without regard to intragroup religious divisions. The more recent studies, heavily influenced by the pioneering work of Lee Benson and Samuel P. Hayes, tend to dismiss the words of politicians and editors as "elitist" sources, and focus heavily on local voting data, which is compared with laboriously-compiled information about the ethnic and religious make-up of voting units. Readers who approach this book hoping to be enlightened in the contemporary uses of quantitative analysis may be a bit bewildered by the array of statistical techniques displayed here, and by the equally striking absence of other methods. Only Paul Kleppner makes use of correlations; others merely present tables, consisting of the party vote BOOK REVIEWS269 and ethnic composition of various voting units. Without further analysis , these strings of figures are not likely to be very useful to most readers. Nowhere in the book is use made of such a basic tool as multiple regression analysis, nor are tests of statistical significance given. The recent writers have, it is safe to say, established that except in Illinois, Germans did not vote Republican in anything like the numbers previously believed, and that within the group, Protestants were much more likely to be attracted to the party of Lincoln than Catholics. As a result, they seem to agree that the slavery issue has been overrated as a determinant of voting behavior in the 1850's and that, as Formisano writes, "anti-Catholic and nativist elements" contributed "much more importantly" to the early Republican party than anti-slavery. Oddly enough, the evidence for this interpretation comes from the same sources historians have always used. W7hen a newspaper speaks of the slavery issue, these historians tend to dismiss it as "elitest" evidence , but when it talks about nativism and ethnic conflict it is cited to prove that, in Daniels' words, "Republicanism was linked, at least in the popular mind, with Know-Nothingism." None of these writers addresses himself to such questions as why it was the Republicans who tried to play down ethnic issues and stress the slavery question, while Democrats felt more comfortable when campaigns revolved around ethnic conflicts, or why Republican leaders felt the lowest common denominator of their support was anti-slavery and anti-southern sentiment . It...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 268-269
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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