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November 27, 2020 at 3:34 am #12337Mark YoungGuest
Politics and Power in a Slave Society
by J. Mills Thornton III
- Format: paperback, 520 pages
- Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
- Author: J. Mills Thornton III
- Genres: history
- ISBN: 9780807108918 (080710891X)
- Places: Alabama
- Release date: September 1, 1981
- Language: english
- Awards: John H. Dunning Prize in American History (1978), James F. Sulzby Book Award (1979), Jules and Frances Landry Award (1978)
About The Book
Jacksonian ideology was the dominant influence on Alabama politics prior to the 1850s. But the peculiar force of this ideology was increasingly directed toward the justification of slavery. Valuing personal freedom and political equality, all classes of white Alabamians came to believe that their independence was predicated on the preservation of black slavery. The reality of enslavement, constantly before them, transformed usual warnings of Jacksonian oratory from mere metaphor into terrifying truth.
Here is perhaps the most unusual study of an antebellum state ever published. Supported with maps, charts, and voting records, Politics and Power meticulously details the structure and nature of local politics as the key to understanding national politics of the time. This account is of value to anyone interested in the antebellum South in Jacksonian America.
Thornton explores antebellum southern politics, and hence the conditions that made secession possible, through the hidden alliance between slavery and Jacksonian ideology. His unique view of secession as an effort to adjust the ideals of Jacksonian doctrine to the demands of a changing society has the potential to alter the entire focus of current debate over the antebellum South. Politics and Power leads the reader to challenge one of the fundamental articles of the American creed — that democracy intrinsically produces good. Thornton argues that slavery, contrary to our conventional wisdom, was not an un-American institution, but rather coexisted with and supported the democratic and egalitarian faith.
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