By Kenneth M. Stampp
It used to be a yr full of unsettling occasions. The Panic of 1857 closed each financial institution in big apple urban, ruined hundreds of thousands of companies, and brought on frequent unemployment between business staff. The Mormons in Utah Territory threatened uprising while federal troops approached with a non-Mormon governor to switch Brigham younger. The ultimate courtroom outraged northern Republicans and abolitionists with the Dred Scott determination ("a breathtaking instance of judicial activism"). And while a proslavery minority in Kansas Territory attempted to foist a proslavery structure on a wide antislavery majority, President Buchanan reneged on an important dedication and supported the minority, a disastrous miscalculation which finally break up the Democratic social gathering in . In the US in 1857, eminent American historian Kenneth Stampp deals a sweeping narrative of this eventful 12 months, protecting the entire significant crises whereas offering readers with a shiny portrait of the US at mid-century. Stampp supplies us a desirable account of the try out by way of William Walker and his band of filibusters to overcome Nicaragua and make it a slave country, of crime and corruption, and of highway riots by means of city gangs reminiscent of New York's useless Rabbits and Bowery Boys and Baltimore's Plug Uglies and Blood Tubs. however the concentration consistently returns to Kansas. He examines the outrageous political frauds perpetrated via proslavery Kansans, Buchanan's calamitous reaction and Stephen Douglas's holiday with the President (a infrequent occasion in American politics, an immense celebration chief repudiating the president he helped elect), and the whirl of congressional votes and dramatic debates that ended in a payment humiliating to Buchanan--and devastating to the Democrats. 1857 marked a turning aspect, at which sectional clash spun uncontrolled and the rustic moved swiftly towards the ultimate violent answer within the Civil battle. Stampp's intensely concentrated examine this pivotal yr illuminates the forces at paintings and the temper of the country because it plummeted towards catastrophe.
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Extra resources for America in 1857: A Nation on the Brink
Sectional politicians had wasted years debating which route the railroad should follow. The editor suggested that they cease "caning each other in the Capital, or shooting each other in Kansas" and apply their competitive energy to the construction of both a northern and a southern line. "2' The promotors of a transatlantic cable, supported by Senator Seward, had greater success. After a long debate Congress voted to authorize the President to negotiate an agreement with Great Britain for cooperation in laying a cable between Newfoundland and Ireland and for its use on equal terms.
Both houses resolved, "in token of respect for 18 AMERICA IN 1857 the memory of the deceased .. " The funeral service on the floor of the House was attended by the President, President-elect, heads of departments, members of the Supreme Court, and members of Congress. 7 Southern editors filled their columns with eulogies. The Southern Quarterly Review published a biographical sketch of Brooks and a long defense of his "castigation" of Sumner. The writer, describing Brooks as "a man of high honor and talent, whose graces and accomplishments would have commended him to the most polished society of Europe," deplored his "execration" in the northern and British press.
During a dinner for legislators at the Trenton House, agents of the Camden and Amboy Politics and the Social Milieu 29 Railroad saw that wine was served copiously. Later, when the legislature reassembled, "there were not a few dizzy-headed members among them, and . . " In Ohio a committee of the General Assembly accused the Democratic Board of Public Works of fraud in the awarding of contracts for repairs on the state canal system. In the Hoosier state, Democratic Governor Joseph A. Wright, in his January message to the General Assembly, charged that fraud and bribery explained the recent chartering of the Bank of the State of Indiana, a charge substantiated by a subsequent legislative investigation.
America in 1857: A Nation on the Brink by Kenneth M. Stampp