Synopses & Reviews
Despite the immense body of literature about the American Civil War and its causes, the nationand#8217;s western involvement in the approaching conflict often gets short shrift. Slavery was the catalyst for fiery rhetoric on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line and fiery conflicts on the western edges of the nation. Driven by questions regarding the place of slavery in westward expansion and by the increasing influence of evangelical Protestant faiths that viewed the institution as inherently sinful, political debates about slavery took on a radicalized, uncompromising fervor in states and territories west of the Mississippi River.
Busy in the Cause explores the role of the Midwest in shaping national politics concerning slavery in the years leading up to the Civil War. In 1856 Iowa aided parties of abolitionists desperate to reach Kansas Territory to vote against the expansion of slavery, and evangelical Iowans assisted runaway slaves through Underground Railroad routes in Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska. Lowell J. Soikeand#8217;s detailed and entertaining narrative illuminates Iowaand#8217;s role in the stirring western events that formed the prelude to the Civil War.
This enlarged edition of the most significant and celebrated slave narrative completes the Jacobs family saga, surely one of the most memorable in all of American history. John S. Jacobs's short slave narrative, A True Tale of Slavery, published in London in 1861, adds a brother's perspective to Harriet A. Jacobs's autobiography. It is an exciting addition to this now classic work, as John Jacobs presents further historical information about family life so well described already by his sister. Once more, Jean Fagan Yellin, who discovered this long-lost document, supplies annotation and authentication. This is the standard edition of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, reissued here in the John Harvard Library and updated with a new bibliography.
About the Author
Lowell J. Soike is retired from the State Historical Society of Iowa, where he served as a historian for thirty-six years. He is the author of Without Right Angles: The Round Barns of Iowa and Norwegian-Americans and the Politics of Dissent, 1880and#8211;1924.