The Impending Crisis: America Before the Civil War, 1848-1861

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The Impending Crisis: America Before the Civil War, 1848-1861

Author: David M. Potter
Publisher: Harper
Copyright: 1976
Pages: 672

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David M. Potter's Pulitzer Prize-winning "The Impending Crisis" is the definitive history of antebellum America. Potter's sweeping epic masterfully charts the chaotic forces that climaxed with the outbreak of the Civil War: westward expansion, the divisive issue of slavery, the Dred Scott decision, John Brown's uprising, the ascension of Abraham Lincoln, and the drama of Southern succession. Now available in a new edition, "The Impending Crisis" remains one of the most celebrated works of American historical writing.

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Background Information

The South "ante bellum," that is "before the war," was a place of great prosperity and grandeur, along with great suffering for the slaves working in the fields. In the Dred Scott decision, the US Supreme Court outraged opinion in the North by interpreting slaveholding rights as extending anywhere, including free states. John Brown was an abolitionist who believed that violence against slavery was justified, as he showed in the assault at Harpers Ferry in 1860. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 only deferred and did not eliminate the deep divide in philosophical and economic feelings about slavery and its extension to new territories.