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82CIVIL WAR HISTORY at Charleston intrigued this reviewer, and his chronicles of the cruises of Ahbama and the ironclads at Charleston are excellent. A similar accolade can be applied to the chapter describing the battle between Monitor and Virginia. Many of the other chapters, especially the ones relating to the war on inland waters, are pedestrian. Only a few of the many sources covering these operations were consulted, and accordingly these chapters are devoid of new information and interpretations. Mr. Nash has made a strong case for the decisive role played by the Union Navy, and with this contention your reviewer is in agreement. The book is indexed and well illustrated with a number of woodcuts , photographs, and plans. The maps reproduced from Battles and Leaders and the Official Records Atlas are too greatly reduced to be useful . In the future, it is hoped that publishers will either reproduce maps of this type at a legible scale or eliminate them. A number of typographical errors were also noted. Edwin C. Bearss National Park Service Free Negroes in the District of Columbia? 1790-1846. By Letitia Woods Brown. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1972. Pp. 226. $7.95.) Among the urban centers in the antebellum South, Washington was unique; civic authority was vested in the federal government. The District of Columbia, initially created out of territorial grants by Maryland and Virginia—only to have the Virginia section later retroceded in 1846—came into existence at a most propitious time for the future of the slave and free black community of Washington. Both states, prior to Gabriel Prosser's revolt, had liberal slave codes which not only permitted manumission but continued residence as well. Blacks also had recourse to the courts as legal persons in initiating suits to "recover freedom." These liberal provisions were carried over into use in the new capital, where blacks were to become the beneficiaries of "better racial practices of the federal government." Other factors were also fortuitous for blacks in the move of the capital to the banks of the Potomac. The developing economy of the area offered employment opportunities, while the ideological climate in the formative period made for a "social structure with a certain fluid quality perhaps peculiar to that time and place." The scattered nature of the settlements in the District also allowed escapees to find freedom and relative security against capture. Professor Brown very ably presents a survey of slavery and its legal intricacies in both Maryland and Virginia as a background for developments in the District of Columbia. Her study of the free black community is chiefly concerned with its origins: descent from free white women; manumission by will, deed, and elsewhere; and freedom by virtue of a master's violation of the law against importing slaves into the District. In this, Free Negroes in the District of Columbia makes a BOOK REVIEWS83 good companion volume to Constance McLaughlin Green's The Secret City. Yet, in terms of its title and its appearance in the Urban Life in America Series, edited by Richard C. Wade, it is a monograph of limited value, for unfortunately the rich social, economic, and cultural life of the freeman is largely neglected. Richard R. Duncan Georgetown University A Pro-Slavery Crusade: The Agitation to Reopen the African SZace Trade. By Ronald T. Takaki (New York: Free Press, 1971. Pp. x, 276. $7.95.) This interesting volume is the first book on the southern effort to reopen the African slave trade in the 1850's. Professor Takaki traces the effort from Leónidas W. Spratt's call for the reopening in 1853 to Spratt's anguished cry for still another "revolution" after the Confederate Constitution outlawed the trade. Contrary to the usual view that reopening was the work of a few ineffective extremists, Takaki contends that the movement was relatively widespread, and resulted from an internal crisis in the South, a crisis based in part on the recognition that southerners themselves doubted the morality of slavery. The reopening agitation, Takaki claims, was a revolution by young men who were revealing their concern with southern guilt over the slavery question, concern with gaining enough population to compete economically and...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 82-83
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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