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

346civil war history this list ofnominees and appointees, and, most importantly, attuned party ideology to the value systems of what now became voting blocks. Americans were excited about politics because very deep values were involved, notably, loyalty to a man's primary group (race, religion, ethnic group, or, forwhite southerners, region/ nation). This also explains why turnout is so high in Europe today (and in our racially troubled cities). However, after 1 896 the politicians realized that ethnocultural politics was dangerous to the nation and risky for the parties. Nor was it any longer necessary. In 1 896 McKinley came up with a new formula for winning: pluralism, submersion ofethnocultural conflicts, and economic prosperity as the central issue. Teddy Roosevelt soon added a stress on personality. Voting no longer was a necessary measure ofgroup protection. It became instead an expression of broad civic responsibility. In place of the conspiracy that McGee blames, I suggest that deeper social forces, and the shrewd leadership ofsavvy politicians, can account for changes in campaigns and turnout in America. Richard Jensen University of Illinois, Chicago Capitalism andAntislavery: British Mobilization in Comparative Perspective . By Seymour Drescher. (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987. Pp. xv, 300. $19.95.) Seymour Drescher's Capitalism and Antislavery, originally presented as the Roger T. Anstey Memorial Lectures at the University of Kent, is a welcome addition to the growing literature on the British antislavery movement from the 1780s to the 1830s. In this slim volume, which focuses on the role ofpopularmobilization in British abolitionism, the authorchallenges long-standing interpretations ofthe forces that shaped British antislavery as well as the relationship between the abolitionists and working class activists in early-nineteenth-century Britain. Drescher rejects Eric Williams's claim that the destruction ofthe Atlantic slave system coincided with the rise to power of hostile capitalist interests . He also challenges the capitalist-hegemonic paradigm, posited by David B. Davis and others, which views the abolitionists as part of the ruling classes that sought to maintain control of British society by deflecting working class discontent. Drescher contends that, in fact, a thriving slave system was checked only by political intervention and that a broadbased antislavery crusade drew its strength not from the elites but from workers moved to agitate for domestic reforms as well as emancipation by the abolitionists' appeals to independence and freedom. Thus a particular stage of capitalist development (what he terms artisinal capitalism), rather than capitalism per se, largely explains the breadth and timing of British BOOK REVIEWS347 abolitionism. Likewise, he concludes that a social and ideological context conducive to the proliferation of both abolitionism and religious nonconformity (especially Methodism among the artisan class), not simply evangelicalism , contributed to the emergence of popular movement for emancipation. In this well-crafted study based on extensive research in secondary sources as well as newspapers and pamphlet literature, Drescher sheds new light on the Somerset Case and the ending of slavery in Britain; the relationship between metropolitan reformers and planters, slaves and the clergy in the West Indies; and the distinctiveness of British antislavery mobilization within the European context. He is especially persuasive in arguing that support among artisans in Manchester and other northern industrial cities was essential to the success of the abolitionists' petitions campaigns. Yet the author does not adequately explain why workingclass radicals in London and otherareas of southern England were generally hostile toward the abolitionists. More important, while this work represents a needed corrective to the more strident claims of the hegemonic theorists, Drescher leaves unanswered important questions that Davis and others have raised: To what degree did workers actually direct the course of the antislavery cause? Did middle class groups in any way control and manipulate the multi-class antislavery constituency that Drescher describes? Why did many abolitionists focus their attacks on slavery rather than on the wage labor system? In all, Drescher's study will significantly influence the course of the historical debate on British abolitionism and hopefully will encourage students of both the British and American antislavery movements to devote much-needed attention to the rank and file members. Hugh Davis Southern Connecticut State University Philadelphia's Black Elite: Activism, Accommodation, and the Struggle forAutonomy...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 346-347
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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.