America in 1857: A Nation on the Brink by Kenneth M. Stampp

By Kenneth M. Stampp

It used to be a yr full of unsettling occasions. The Panic of 1857 closed each financial institution in ny urban, ruined millions of companies, and triggered frequent unemployment between commercial employees. The Mormons in Utah Territory threatened uprising while federal troops approached with a non-Mormon governor to switch Brigham younger. The ultimate courtroom outraged northern Republicans and abolitionists with the Dred Scott determination ("a breathtaking instance of judicial activism"). And whilst a proslavery minority in Kansas Territory attempted to foist a proslavery structure on a wide antislavery majority, President Buchanan reneged on an important dedication and supported the minority, a disastrous miscalculation which eventually break up the Democratic celebration in . In the US in 1857, eminent American historian Kenneth Stampp deals a sweeping narrative of this eventful yr, masking all of the significant crises whereas delivering readers with a brilliant portrait of the USA at mid-century. Stampp provides us a desirable account of the try out via William Walker and his band of filibusters to beat Nicaragua and make it a slave country, of crime and corruption, and of road riots through city gangs equivalent to New York's useless Rabbits and Bowery Boys and Baltimore's Plug Uglies and Blood Tubs. however the concentration constantly returns to Kansas. He examines the outrageous political frauds perpetrated via proslavery Kansans, Buchanan's calamitous reaction and Stephen Douglas's holiday with the President (a infrequent occasion in American politics, an important celebration chief repudiating the president he helped elect), and the whirl of congressional votes and dramatic debates that ended in a cost humiliating to Buchanan--and devastating to the Democrats. 1857 marked a turning aspect, at which sectional clash spun uncontrolled and the rustic moved quickly towards the ultimate violent answer within the Civil conflict. Stampp's intensely concentrated examine this pivotal yr illuminates the forces at paintings and the temper of the kingdom because it plummeted towards catastrophe.

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In a scale of values, loyalty to one's party and belief in its principles often ranked only slightly below devotion to one's church and faith in its creed. In rural and small-town America, where social diversions were few, party and church were the principal institutional competitors for their members' leisure time; and, Sundays excepted, the party seemed to win a large share of it. Printed political speeches and newspapers were doubtless read more widely than printed sermons and religious tracts.

Soon after retiring from office, Caleb Gushing of Massachusetts, Pierce's conservative, prosouthern Attorney General, was deluged with lecture invitations. " Edward Everett, the conservative Massachusetts Whig and one of the most celebrated orators of his day, was the unchallenged man of the year on the lecture circuit. On scores of occasions, to help raise money for the construction of the Washington Monument, he delivered a filiopietistic oration on the first President to packed houses in every part of the country.

Morrill of Vermont. The result of a low tariff, Representative Amos Granger of New York predicted, would be "another financial crash. "13 Both protectionists and free-traders claimed to hold the keys to prosperity and continued economic growth. Behind the ideologues stood the myriad economic interests whose welfare depended, often quite critically, on the schedules of duties, and whose conflicting demands made the writing of a tariff bill that satisfied all producers and consumers well-nigh impossible.

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