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Other titles in the Cambridge Historical Studies in American Law and Society series:
Final Freedom: The Civil War, the Abolition of Slavery, and the Thirteenth Amendment (Cambridge Historical Studies in American Law and Society)by Michael Vorenberg
Synopses & Reviews
In the popular imagination, slavery in the United States ended with Abraham Lincolnand#8217;s Emancipation Proclamation. The Proclamation may have been limitedand#151;freeing only slaves within Confederate states who were able to make their way to Union linesand#151;but it is nonetheless generally seen as the key moment, with Lincolnand#8217;s leadership setting into motion a train of inevitable events that culminated in the passage of an outright ban: the Thirteenth Amendment.
The real story, however, is much more complicatedand#151;and dramaticand#151;than that. With Who Freed the Slaves?, distinguished historian Leonard L. Richards tells the little-known story of the battle over the Thirteenth Amendment, and of James Ashley, the unsung Ohio congressman who proposed the amendment and steered it to passage. Taking readers to the floor of Congress and the back rooms where deals were made, Richards brings to life the messy process of legislationand#151;a process made all the more complicated by the bloody war and the deep-rooted fear of black emancipation. We watch as Ashley proposes, fine-tunes, and pushes the amendment even as Lincoln drags his feet, only coming aboard and providing crucial support at the last minute. Even as emancipation became the law of the land, Richards shows, its opponents were already regrouping, beginning what would become a decades-longand#151;and largely successfuland#151;fight to limit the amendmentand#8217;s impact.
Who Freed the Slaves? is a masterwork of American history, presenting a surprising, nuanced portrayal of a crucial moment for the nation, one whose effects are still being felt today.
Focusing on the making and meaning of the Thirteenth Amendment, Final Freedom looks at the struggle among legal thinkers, politicians, and ordinary Americans to find a way to abolish slavery that would overcome the inadequacies of the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863.
Final Freedom is a must-read for anyone interested in the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln, the Constitution, or slavery. In 1863, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which did not actually free any slaves. This book details the fate of emancipation after the Proclamation, focusing on the making and meaning of the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery just after the Civil War ended in 1865. Final Freedom tells the dramatic story of the creation of a constitutional amendment and reveals an unprecedented transformation in American race relations, politics, and constitutional thought.
Who freed Americaand#8217;s slaves? The real story of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitutionand#151;which codified the rhetoric of the Emancipation Proclamationand#151;remains surprisingly obscure in the public imagination. Too often, this story has been told as a mere coda to that of the Proclamation, or as a tale of the Great Mr. Lincoln. Neither is historically accurate or complete. In Leonard Richardsand#8217;s hands, the full story makes for the best kind of political narrative, gripping and suspenseful.
and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; The prime mover of the amendment was James Ashley, firebrand congressman from Toledo, Ohio. An angry and articulate idealist, Ashley pushed Congress, the president, and the country again and again until the arc of justice bent his way. Both a tale of righteous rage and legislative legerdemain, Outlawing Slavery details Ashleyand#8217;s campaign, replete with horse trading, arm twisting, and (maybe) vote buying. With many Congressmenand#151;and, for a long time, Abraham Lincolnand#151;resisting Ashleyand#8217;s demand for a constitutional amendment, Ashley had to engage in procedural shenanigans during a lame-duck session in 1864and#150;1865 to maneuver Congress into finally doing the right thing.
Focusing on the Thirteenth Amendment, this book examines emancipation after the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863.
Final Freedom looks at the struggle among legal thinkers, politicians, and ordinary Americans in the North and the border states to find a way to abolish slavery that would overcome the inadequacies of the Emancipation Proclamation. Michael Vorenberg tells the dramatic story of the creation of a constitutional amendment and argues that the crucial consideration of emancipation happened after, not before the Emancipation Proclamation; that the debate over final freedom was shaped by a level of volatility in party politics underestimated by previous historians, and that the abolition of slavery by constitutional amendment represented a novel method of reform that transformed attitudes toward the Constitution. Michael Vorenberg is an assistant professor of history at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. He was a research assistant to David Herbert Donald for his prize-winning biography, Lincoln, and he is a contributor to the Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association and the Reader's Companion to the American Presidency. This is his first book.
About the Author
Michael Vorenberg is Assistant Professor of History at Brown University.
Table of Contents
Introduction; 1. Slavery's constitution; 2. Freedom's constitution; 3. Facing freedom; 4. Debating freedom: Congress and the Thirteenth Amendment; 5. The key note of freedom: presidential politics and the Thirteenth Amendment; 6. The war within a war: emancipation and the election of 1864; 7. A King's cure: adopting the Thirteenth Amendment; 8. The contested legacy of constitutional freedom.
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