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By James L. Huston

Whereas slavery is usually on the middle of debates over the explanations of the Civil warfare, historians are usually not agreed on accurately what point of slavery-with its a number of social, monetary, political, cultural, and ethical ramifications-gave upward thrust to the sectional rift. In Calculating the worth of the Union, James Huston integrates fiscal, social, and political background to argue that the problem of estate rights as they pertained to slavery used to be on the heart of the Civil conflict. within the early years of the 19th century, southern slaveholders sought a countrywide definition of estate rights that may realize and guard their possession of slaves. Northern pursuits, nonetheless, hostile any nationwide interpretation of estate rights as a result of the probability slavery posed to the northern unfastened exertions marketplace, fairly if allowed to unfold to western territories. This deadlock sparked a technique of political realignment that culminated within the construction of the Republican social gathering, eventually resulting in the secession problem. Deeply researched and thoroughly written, this research rebuts fresh developments in antebellum historiography and persuasively argues for a essentially fiscal interpretation of the slavery factor and the arrival of the Civil struggle.

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Extra resources for Calculating the Value of the Union: Slavery, Property Rights, and the Economic Origins of the Civil War (Civil War America)

Sample text

In short, the federal government endangered the basic means of maintaining slavery: the legal definition of property. Fourth, the intense need to preserve the sanctity of property rights in Africans led southern political leaders to demand the nationalization of slavery—the condition under which slaveholders would always be protected in their property holdings. 1. A few elements of that table require elaboration as they play a role in one way or another in several parts of this book. The first aspect of the table is the superficial realization of the overwhelming population advantage of the nonslaveholding states.

Another way to buttress this point is to look more closely at the wealth of the planters, those who possessed twenty or more slaves. 58 percent of the southern population or perhaps 3 percent of southern families. But the planters owned more than one-half of all the slaves. 3. ) Estimated $ Value Slaves Value of farms Value of farm implements Investment in manufacturing Investment in railroads Bank capital Home productions Value of livestock Total $≥,≠≠≠,≠≠≠,≠≠≠ ∏,∏≥∫,∂∞∂,≤≤∞ ≤∂∏,∞≤∑,≠∏∂ ∞,≠∑≠,≠≠≠,≠≠≠ ∞,∞∏∏,∂≤≤,π≤Ω ≤≤π,∂∏Ω,≠ππ ≤π,∂∫∂,∞∂∂ ∞,≠Ω∫,∫∏≤,≥∑∑ ∞≥,∂∑≤,≠≠≠,≠≠≠ Total assessed real estate and personal property ∞∏,∞∑Ω,∏∞∏,≠∏∫ Value unaccounted for ≤,π≠π,∏∞∏,≠≠≠ Source: Kennedy, Preliminary Report on the Eighth Census, 190, 192, 193, 195, 196, 209, 230–31.

People understood the antagonisms between North and South and had already determined that the di√erence was between slaveholding and nonslaveholding states. All that was necessary was for some train of events to heighten the antagonisms and allow them to erupt in anger and violence. 2 The Origins of Slaveholder Aggressiveness The rotund but famed Alabama fire-eater William Lowndes Yancey told a Louisville audience in late October 1860 that the election of Lincoln would be the clap of doom for southern society.

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