A Question of Freedom: The Families Who Challenged Slavery from the Nation’s Founding to the Civil War

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A Question of Freedom: The Families Who Challenged Slavery from the Nation’s Founding to the Civil War
Title A Question of Freedom: The Families Who Challenged Slavery from the Nation’s Founding to the Civil War
Author
Publisher Yale University Press
Release DateNovember 24, 2020
Category Law
Total Pages 432 pages
ISBN 0300234120
Book Rating 5 out of 5 from 5 reviews
Language EN, ES, BE, DA ,DE , NL and FR
Book Review & Summary:

The story of the longest and most complex legal challenge to slavery in American history "A rich, roiling history that Thomas recounts with eloquence and skill. . . . The very existence of freedom suits assumed that slavery could only be circumscribed and local; what Thomas shows in his illuminating book is how this view was eventually turned upside down in decisions like Dred Scott. 'Freedom was local,' Thomas writes. 'Slavery was national.'"—Jennifer Szalai, New York Times For over seventy years and five generations, the enslaved families of Prince George’s County, Maryland, filed hundreds of suits for their freedom against a powerful circle of slaveholders, taking their cause all the way to the Supreme Court. Between 1787 and 1861, these lawsuits challenged the legitimacy of slavery in American law and put slavery on trial in the nation’s capital. Piecing together evidence once dismissed in court and buried in the archives, William Thomas tells an intricate and intensely human story of the enslaved families (the Butlers, Queens, Mahoneys, and others), their lawyers (among them a young Francis Scott Key), and the slaveholders who fought to defend slavery, beginning with the Jesuit priests who held some of the largest plantations in the nation and founded a college at Georgetown. A Question of Freedom asks us to reckon with the moral problem of slavery and its legacies in the present day.

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Title A Question of Freedom
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The story of the longest and most complex legal challenge to slavery in American history For over seventy years and five generations, the enslaved families of Prince George’s County, Maryland, filed hundreds of suits for their freedom against a powerful circle of slaveholders, taking their cause all the way to the Supreme Court. Between 1787 and 1861, these lawsuits challenged the legitimacy of slavery in American law and put slavery on trial in the nation’s capital. Piecing together evidence once dismissed in court and buried in the archives, William Thomas tells an intricate and intensely human story of the enslaved families (the Butlers, Queens, Mahoneys, and others), their lawyers (among them a young Francis Scott Key), and the slaveholders who fought to defend slavery, beginning with the Jesuit priests who held some of the largest plantations in the nation and founded a college at Georgetown. A Question of Freedom asks us to reckon with the moral problem of slavery and its legacies in the present day.

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The story of the longest and most complex legal challenge to slavery in American history"A revelatory and fluidly written chronicle. . . . An essential account of an overlooked chapter in the history of American slavery."--Publishers Weekly, starred review "A work of remarkable honesty and humanity that should inform any conversation on the legacy of slavery. Please read it."--Lauret Savoy, author of Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the America Landscape and a descendant of freedom petitioners For over seventy years and five generations, the enslaved families of Prince George's County, Maryland, filed hundreds of suits for their freedom against a powerful circle of slaveholders, taking their cause all the way to the Supreme Court. Between 1787 and 1861, these lawsuits challenged the legitimacy of slavery in American law and put slavery on trial in the nation's capital. Piecing together evidence once dismissed in court and buried in the archives, William Thomas tells an intricate and intensely human story of the enslaved families (the Butlers, Queens, Mahoneys, and others), their lawyers (among them a young Francis Scott Key), and the slaveholders who fought to defend slavery, beginning with the Jesuit priests who held some of the largest plantations in the nation and founded a college at Georgetown. A Question of Freedom asks us to reckon with the moral problem of slavery and its legacies in the present day.

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Title A People s History of the United States
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In this Second Edition of this radical social history of America from Columbus to the present, Howard Zinn includes substantial coverage of the Carter, Reagan and Bush years and an Afterword on the Clinton presidency. Its commitment and vigorous style mean it will be compelling reading for under-graduate and post-graduate students and scholars in American social history and American studies, as well as the general reader.

Begin Again by Eddie S. Glaude

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James Baldwin grew disillusioned by the failure of the Civil Rights movement to force America to confront its lies about race. In the era of Trump, what can we learn from his struggle? "Not everything is lost. Responsibility cannot be lost, it can only be abdicated. If one refuses abdication, one begins again." --James Baldwin We live, according to Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., in the after times, when the promise of Black Lives Matter and the attempt to achieve a new America were challenged by the election of Donald Trump, a racist president whose victory represents yet another failure of America to face the lies it tells itself about race. We have been here before: For James Baldwin, the after times came in the wake of the Civil Rights movement, when a similar attempt to compel a national confrontation with the truth was answered with the murders of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. In these years, spanning from the publication of The Fire Next Time in 1963 to that of No Name in the Street in 1972, Baldwin was transformed into a more overtly political writer, a change that came at great professional and personal cost. But from that journey, Baldwin emerged with a sense of renewed purpose about the necessity of pushing forward in the face of disillusionment and despair. In the story of Baldwin's crucible, Glaude suggests, we can find hope and guidance through our own after times, this Trumpian era of shattered promises and white retrenchment. Mixing biography--drawn partially from newly uncovered interviews--with history, memoir, and trenchant analysis of our current moment, Begin Again is Glaude's attempt, following Baldwin, to bear witness to the difficult truth of race in America today. It is at once a searing exploration that lays bare the tangled web of race, trauma, and memory, and a powerful interrogation of what we all must ask of ourselves in order to call forth a new America.

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A groundbreaking, must-read history demonstrating that America's economic supremacy was built on the backs of slaves Americans tend to cast slavery as a pre-modern institution -- the nation's original sin, perhaps, but isolated in time and divorced from America's later success. But to do so robs the millions who suffered in bondage of their full legacy. As historian Edward E. Baptist reveals in the prizewinning The Half Has Never Been Told, the expansion of slavery in the first eight decades after American independence drove the evolution and modernization of the United States. In the span of a single lifetime, the South grew from a narrow coastal strip of worn-out tobacco plantations to a continental cotton empire, and the United States grew into a modern, industrial, and capitalist economy. Told through intimate slave narratives, plantation records, newspapers, and the words of politicians, entrepreneurs, and escaped slaves, The Half Has Never Been Told offers a radical new interpretation of American history. Bloomberg View Top Ten Nonfiction Books of 2014 Daily Beast Best Nonfiction Books of 2014 Winner of the 2015 Avery O. Craven Prize from the Organization of American HistoriansWinner of the 2015 Sidney Hillman Prize

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"Simply brilliant, both in its granular storytelling and its enormous compassion" --The New York Times Book Review The story of two refugee families and their hope and resilience as they fight to survive and belong in America The welcoming and acceptance of immigrants and refugees have been central to America's identity for centuries--yet America has periodically turned its back in times of the greatest humanitarian need. After the Last Border is an intimate look at the lives of two women as they struggle for the twenty-first century American dream, having won the "golden ticket" to settle as refugees in Austin, Texas. Mu Naw, a Christian from Myanmar struggling to put down roots with her family, was accepted after decades in a refugee camp at a time when America was at its most open to displaced families; and Hasna, a Muslim from Syria, agrees to relocate as a last resort for the safety of her family--only to be cruelly separated from her children by a sudden ban on refugees from Muslim countries. Writer and activist Jessica Goudeau tracks the human impacts of America's ever-shifting refugee policy as both women narrowly escape from their home countries and begin the arduous but lifesaving process of resettling in Austin--a city that would show them the best and worst of what America has to offer. After the Last Border situates a dramatic, character-driven story within a larger history--the evolution of modern refugee resettlement in the United States, beginning with World War II and ending with current closed-door policies--revealing not just how America's changing attitudes toward refugees have influenced policies and laws, but also the profound effect on human lives.

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A Pulitzer Prize-winning history of the mistreatment of black Americans. In this 'precise and eloquent work' - as described in its Pulitzer Prize citation - Douglas A. Blackmon brings to light one of the most shameful chapters in American history - an 'Age of Neoslavery' that thrived in the aftermath of the Civil War through the dawn of World War II. Using a vast record of original documents and personal narratives, Blackmon unearths the lost stories of slaves and their descendants who journeyed into freedom after the Emancipation Proclamation and then back into the shadow of involuntary servitude thereafter. By turns moving, sobering and shocking, this unprecedented account reveals these stories, the companies that profited the most from neoslavery, and the insidious legacy of racism that reverberates today.

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'I am a woman's rights. I have plowed and reaped and husked and chopped and mowed, and can any man do more than that? I am as strong as any man that is now' A former slave and one of the most powerful orators of her time, Sojourner Truth fought for the equal rights of black women throughout her life. This selection of her impassioned speeches is accompanied by the words of other inspiring African-American female campaigners from the nineteenth century. One of twenty new books in the bestselling Penguin Great Ideas series. This new selection showcases a diverse list of thinkers who have helped shape our world today, from anarchists to stoics, feminists to prophets, satirists to Zen Buddhists.

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Frederick Douglass by Philip Foner

Title Frederick Douglass
Author Philip Foner
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Category History
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Book Summary:

One of the greatest African American leaders and one of the most brilliant minds of his time, Frederick Douglass spoke and wrote with unsurpassed eloquence on almost all the major issues confronting the American people during his life—from the abolition of slavery to women’s rights, from the Civil War to lynching, from American patriotism to black nationalism. Between 1950 and 1975, Philip S. Foner collected the most important of Douglass’s hundreds of speeches, letters, articles, and editorials into an impressive five-volume set, now long out of print. Abridged and condensed into one volume, and supplemented with several important texts that Foner did not include, this compendium presents the most significant, insightful, and elegant short works of Douglass’s massive oeuvre.

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Title The Iron Way
Author William G. Thomas
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Release Date 2011-10-25
Category History
Total Pages 291
ISBN 9780300171686
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Book Summary:

How railroads both united and divided us: “Integrates military and social history…a must-read for students, scholars and enthusiasts alike.”—Civil War Monitor Beginning with Frederick Douglass’s escape from slavery in 1838 on the railroad, and ending with the driving of the golden spike to link the transcontinental railroad in 1869, this book charts a critical period of American expansion and national formation, one largely dominated by the dynamic growth of railroads and telegraphs. William G. Thomas brings new evidence to bear on railroads, the Confederate South, slavery, and the Civil War era, based on groundbreaking research in digitized sources never available before. The Iron Way revises our ideas about the emergence of modern America and the role of the railroads in shaping the sectional conflict. Both the North and the South invested in railroads to serve their larger purposes, Thomas contends. Though railroads are often cited as a major factor in the Union’s victory, he shows that they were also essential to the formation of “the South” as a unified region. He discusses the many—and sometimes unexpected—effects of railroad expansion, and proposes that America’s great railroads became an important symbolic touchstone for the nation’s vision of itself. “In this provocative and deeply researched book, William G. Thomas follows the railroad into virtually every aspect of Civil War history, showing how it influenced everything from slavery’s antebellum expansion to emancipation and segregation—from guerrilla warfare to grand strategy. At every step, Thomas challenges old assumptions and finds new connections on this much-traveled historical landscape."—T.J. Stiles, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt

Slavery S Capitalism by Sven Beckert

Title Slavery s Capitalism
Author Sven Beckert
Publisher University of Pennsylvania Press
Release Date 2016-07-28
Category History
Total Pages 416
ISBN 9780812293098
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

During the nineteenth century, the United States entered the ranks of the world's most advanced and dynamic economies. At the same time, the nation sustained an expansive and brutal system of human bondage. This was no mere coincidence. Slavery's Capitalism argues for slavery's centrality to the emergence of American capitalism in the decades between the Revolution and the Civil War. According to editors Sven Beckert and Seth Rockman, the issue is not whether slavery itself was or was not capitalist but, rather, the impossibility of understanding the nation's spectacular pattern of economic development without situating slavery front and center. American capitalism—renowned for its celebration of market competition, private property, and the self-made man—has its origins in an American slavery predicated on the abhorrent notion that human beings could be legally owned and compelled to work under force of violence. Drawing on the expertise of sixteen scholars who are at the forefront of rewriting the history of American economic development, Slavery's Capitalism identifies slavery as the primary force driving key innovations in entrepreneurship, finance, accounting, management, and political economy that are too often attributed to the so-called free market. Approaching the study of slavery as the originating catalyst for the Industrial Revolution and modern capitalism casts new light on American credit markets, practices of offshore investment, and understandings of human capital. Rather than seeing slavery as outside the institutional structures of capitalism, the essayists recover slavery's importance to the American economic past and prompt enduring questions about the relationship of market freedom to human freedom. Contributors: Edward E. Baptist, Sven Beckert, Daina Ramey Berry, Kathryn Boodry, Alfred L. Brophy, Stephen Chambers, Eric Kimball, John Majewski, Bonnie Martin, Seth Rockman, Daniel B. Rood, Caitlin Rosenthal, Joshua D. Rothman, Calvin Schermerhorn, Andrew Shankman, Craig Steven Wilder.

Title The Fiery Trial Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery
Author Eric Foner
Publisher W. W. Norton & Company
Release Date 2011-09-26
Category History
Total Pages 448
ISBN 039308082X
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

“A masterwork [by] the preeminent historian of the Civil War era.”—Boston Globe Selected as a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times Book Review, this landmark work gives us a definitive account of Lincoln's lifelong engagement with the nation's critical issue: American slavery. A master historian, Eric Foner draws Lincoln and the broader history of the period into perfect balance. We see Lincoln, a pragmatic politician grounded in principle, deftly navigating the dynamic politics of antislavery, secession, and civil war. Lincoln's greatness emerges from his capacity for moral and political growth.

Title What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July
Author Frederick Douglass
Publisher Unknown
Release Date 2021-02-27
Category
Total Pages 34
ISBN 1647987598
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July? was a famous speech by Frederick Douglass. He delivered it on July 5, 1852, to the Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society in Rochester, New York.

Title The Thin Light of Freedom The Civil War and Emancipation in the Heart of America
Author Edward L. Ayers
Publisher W. W. Norton & Company
Release Date 2017-10-24
Category History
Total Pages 640
ISBN 9780393292640
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

Winner of the Lincoln Prize A landmark Civil War history told from a fresh, deeply researched ground-level perspective. At the crux of America’s history stand two astounding events: the immediate and complete destruction of the most powerful system of slavery in the modern world, followed by a political reconstruction in which new constitutions established the fundamental rights of citizens for formerly enslaved people. Few people living in 1860 would have dared imagine either event, and yet, in retrospect, both seem to have been inevitable. In a beautifully crafted narrative, Edward L. Ayers restores the drama of the unexpected to the history of the Civil War. From the same vantage point occupied by his unforgettable characters, Ayers captures the strategic savvy of Lee and his local lieutenants, and the clear vision of equal rights animating black troops from Pennsylvania. We see the war itself become a scourge to the Valley, its pitched battles punctuating a cycle of vicious attack and reprisal in which armies burned whole towns for retribution. In the weeks and months after emancipation, from the streets of Staunton, Virginia, we see black and white residents testing the limits of freedom as political leaders negotiate the terms of readmission to the Union. With analysis as powerful as its narrative, here is a landmark history of the Civil War.

Freedom S Prophet by Richard S. Newman

Title Freedom s Prophet
Author Richard S. Newman
Publisher NYU Press
Release Date 2008-03-01
Category History
Total Pages 359
ISBN 0814758525
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

An Interview with the Author on the History News Network A Founding Father with a Vision of Equality: Richard Newman's op-ed in The Philadelphia Inquirer Author Spotlight in The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle "Gold" Winner of the 2008 Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Award, Biography Category Freedom's Prophet is a long-overdue biography of Richard Allen, founder of the first major African-American church and the leading black activist of the early American republic. A tireless minister, abolitionist, and reformer, Allen inaugurated some of the most important institutions in African-American history and influenced nearly every black leader of the nineteenth century, from Douglass to Du Bois. Allen (1760–1831) was born a slave in colonial Philadelphia, secured his freedom during the American Revolution, and became one of the nations leading black activists before the Civil War. Among his many achievements, Allen helped form the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, co-authored the first copyrighted pamphlet by an African American writer, published the first African American eulogy of George Washington, and convened the first national convention of black reformers. In a time when most black men and women were categorized as slave property, Allen was championed as a black hero. As Richard S. Newman writes, Allen must be considered one of America's black Founding Fathers. In this thoroughly engaging and beautifully written book, Newman describes Allen's continually evolving life and thought, setting both in the context of his times. From Allen's early antislavery struggles and belief in interracial harmony to his later reflections on black democracy and black emigration, Newman traces Allen's impact on American reform and reformers, on racial attitudes during the years of the early republic, and on the black struggle for justice in the age of Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and Washington. Whether serving as Americas first black bishop, challenging slaveholding statesmen in a nation devoted to liberty, or visiting the President's House (the first black activist to do so), this important book makes it clear that Allen belongs in the pantheon of Americas great founding figures. Freedom's Prophet reintroduces Allen to today's readers and restores him to his rightful place in our nation's history.

Armies Of Deliverance by Elizabeth R. Varon

Title Armies of Deliverance
Author Elizabeth R. Varon
Publisher Oxford University Press
Release Date 2019-02-13
Category History
Total Pages 448
ISBN 9780190860622
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

Loyal Americans marched off to war in 1861 not to conquer the South but to liberate it. So argues Elizabeth R. Varon in Armies of Deliverance, a sweeping narrative of the Civil War and a bold new interpretation of Union and Confederate war aims. Northerners imagined the war as a crusade to deliver the Southern masses from slaveholder domination and to bring democracy, prosperity, and education to the region. As the war escalated, Lincoln and his allies built the case that emancipation would secure military victory and benefit the North and South alike. The theme of deliverance was essential in mobilizing a Unionist coalition of Northerners and anti-Confederate Southerners. Confederates, fighting to establish an independent slaveholding republic, were determined to preempt, discredit, and silence Yankee appeals to the Southern masses. In their quest for political unity Confederates relentlessly played up two themes: Northern barbarity and Southern victimization. Casting the Union army as ruthless conquerors, Confederates argued that the emancipation of blacks was synonymous with the subjugation of the white South. Interweaving military and social history, Varon shows that everyday acts on the ground--from the flight of slaves, to protests against the draft, the plundering of civilian homes, and civilian defiance of military occupation--reverberated at the highest levels of government. Varon also offers new perspectives on major battles, illuminating how soldiers and civilians alike coped with the physical and emotional toll of the war as it grew into a massive humanitarian crisis. The Union's politics of deliverance helped it to win the war. But such appeals failed to convince Confederates to accept peace on the victor's terms, ultimately sowing the seeds of postwar discord. Armies of Deliverance offers innovative insights on the conflict for those steeped in Civil War history and novices alike.

U S History by P. Scott Corbett

Title U S History
Author P. Scott Corbett
Publisher Unknown
Release Date 2017-12-19
Category History
Total Pages 1046
ISBN 9888407392
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

Published by OpenStax College, U.S. History covers the breadth of the chronological history of the United States and also provides the necessary depth to ensure the course is manageable for instructors and students alike. U.S. History is designed to meet the scope and sequence requirements of most courses. The authors introduce key forces and major developments that together form the American experience, with particular attention paid to considering issues of race, class and gender. The text provides a balanced approach to U.S. history, considering the people, events and ideas that have shaped the United States from both the top down (politics, economics, diplomacy) and bottom up (eyewitness accounts, lived experience).

American Capitalism by Sven Beckert

Title American Capitalism
Author Sven Beckert
Publisher Columbia University Press
Release Date 2018-02-06
Category Business & Economics
Total Pages 186
ISBN 9780231546065
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

The United States has long epitomized capitalism. From its enterprising shopkeepers, wildcat banks, violent slave plantations, huge industrial working class, and raucous commodities trade to its world-spanning multinationals, its massive factories, and the centripetal power of New York in the world of finance, America has come to symbolize capitalism for two centuries and more. But an understanding of the history of American capitalism is as elusive as it is urgent. What does it mean to make capitalism a subject of historical inquiry? What is its potential across multiple disciplines, alongside different methodologies, and in a range of geographic and chronological settings? And how does a focus on capitalism change our understanding of American history? American Capitalism presents a sampling of cutting-edge research from prominent scholars. These broad-minded and rigorous essays venture new angles on finance, debt, and credit; women’s rights; slavery and political economy; the racialization of capitalism; labor beyond industrial wage workers; and the production of knowledge, including the idea of the economy, among other topics. Together, the essays suggest emerging themes in the field: a fascination with capitalism as it is made by political authority, how it is claimed and contested by participants, how it spreads across the globe, and how it can be reconceptualized without being universalized. A major statement for a wide-open field, this book demonstrates the breadth and scope of the work that the history of capitalism can provoke.

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