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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 LeĆ³nidas 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 politically, fear of class conflict if slaves were not made available to more whites, fear of slave revolts, and the feeling that slavery would die without expansion . These young men would convince the guilt-ridden South that both slavery and the African trade were correct. If slavery was right, how could the African trade be wrong? In the process they would also heal southern divisions, bring about secession, and create a triumphant southern civilization. While Takaki's account is fascinating, one is left with several nagging doubts. A profile analysis of reopening advocates was used to help understand the extremism of the 1850's, but the author analyzed biographical data for only ninety-seven men. The occupational analysis included only fifty-four names. The claim that agitators were youthful is based on the ages of forty-one advocates and nineteen opponents. Surely the ages of hundreds of advocates and opponents could be ascertained . It may be also that in making his argument Takaki has overemphasized the number involved, exaggerated the moral dilemma, and enlarged the slaveowners' fear of white non-owners. Furthermore, both opponents and advocates were so variously motivated it is difficult to determine whether the reopening agitation indicated anything other than that a few extremists for different reasons wished to reopen the trade. Some advocates hoped the agitation would bring secession; others believed reopening would preserve the union. Some secession- 84CIVIL WAR HISTORY ists advocated reopening; others opposed it. While some southerners believed that importing Africans would increase slave resistance others believed that reopening would increase the slave owning population and thereby militate against slave revolts. The entire population would be more watchful. Some advocated reopening because they believed it right; others did so because they were trying to rid themselves of their own personal doubts about the morality of slavery. Finally , the agitators themselves were divided. The reopening agitation perhaps further aggravated rather than healed southern divisions. Despite some minor questions Takaki's well-written study is an interesting and useful chronicle of the failure of the agitation for the reopening of the African slave trade. Joe M. Richardson Florida State University Kirby Smith's Confederacy: The Trans-Mississippi South 1861-1865. By Robert L. Kerby. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1972, Pp. vin, 529. $12.95.) In recent years the Trans-Mississippi Department of the Confederacy has received renewed attention from scholars, journalists, local historians , and buffs, perhaps, because while forming a part of the overall conflict, things seemed so different beyond the great river. Society was more rough and tumble, the violence more brutal, the scene distinctly more frontier-like than in the Cis-Mississippi. Kerby now joins Stephen Oates, Albert Castel, and Robert E. Shalhope, among others, in an intensive examination of men and events in what he terms that vital but "never more than peripheral theater of operations, . . ." Kirby Smith's section...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 83-84
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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