By Kenneth M. Stampp
It was once a yr choked with unsettling occasions. The Panic of 1857 closed each financial institution in manhattan urban, ruined millions of companies, and prompted common unemployment between commercial staff. The Mormons in Utah Territory threatened uprising whilst federal troops approached with a non-Mormon governor to interchange Brigham younger. The ideally suited court docket outraged northern Republicans and abolitionists with the Dred Scott determination ("a breathtaking instance of judicial activism"). And whilst 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 occasion in . In the US in 1857, eminent American historian Kenneth Stampp bargains a sweeping narrative of this eventful yr, overlaying the entire significant crises whereas delivering readers with a brilliant portrait of the US at mid-century. Stampp offers us a desirable account of the try out through William Walker and his band of filibusters to beat Nicaragua and make it a slave kingdom, 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 continuously returns to Kansas. He examines the outrageous political frauds perpetrated by means of proslavery Kansans, Buchanan's calamitous reaction and Stephen Douglas's holiday with the President (a infrequent occasion in American politics, an enormous occasion chief repudiating the president he helped elect), and the whirl of congressional votes and dramatic debates that resulted in a cost humiliating to Buchanan--and devastating to the Democrats. 1857 marked a turning element, at which sectional clash spun uncontrolled and the rustic moved quickly towards the ultimate violent answer within the Civil struggle. Stampp's intensely centred examine this pivotal 12 months 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
49 Every locality seemed to have its own special anxieties. A San Francisco editor deplored the "frightful" divorce rate in that young state, indicating "a terrible amount of family difficulties and domestic quarrels," leading in turn to a "pernicious system of references . . " The columns of California newspapers were filled with accounts of legal disputes over land titles between recent settlers and those who demanded recognition of older Spanish or Mexican grants. The press in the port cities of the old Northwest fretted about losses from marine disasters on the Great Lakes, which had exceeded three million dollars the previous year.
Paine of North Carolina assured his colleagues that there was substance to the charge. He himself had been approached by a member of the House who informed him that a favorable vote on the Minnesota land bill would guarantee a payment of $1500. Paine received the offer "with feelings of indignation" and promised to give evidence before the committee. " Henry J. Raymond, editor of the New York Times, was summoned to testify, but he was distressingly weak on facts to support the charges of his paper.
Brooks's penalty for his offense had been light. The Senate had taken no action on the ground that it lacked jurisdiction; the House, unable to win the two-thirds majority required to expel him, had merely adopted a resolution of censure. Brooks had then resigned and returned to South Carolina, where he received a hero's welcome. 5 In January he was in Washington finishing his term in the Thirty-fourth Congress. On the evening of January 27, while the national capital was nearly paralyzed by a heavy snowfall and a severe freeze, the startling news slowly spread that Preston Brooks was dead.
America in 1857: A Nation on the Brink by Kenneth M. Stampp