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Prelude to Civil War: The Nullification Controversy
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Prelude to Civil War: The Nullification Controversy

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  52 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
When William Freehling's Prelude to Civil War first appeared in 1965 it was immediately hailed as a brilliant and incisive study of the origins of the Civil War. Book Week called it "fresh, exciting, and convincing," while The Virginia Quarterly Review praised it as, quite simply, "history at its best." It was equally well-received by historical societies, garnering the ...more
Paperback, 395 pages
Published June 28th 1968 by Harpercollins College Div (first published 1965)
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Apr 26, 2016 Matt rated it really liked it

Still don’t have your attention?

Nineteenth Century tariffs!

I hope you weren’t holding a baby or driving a car when you read that sentence, because undoubtedly your baby is now on the floor and you are in a ditch. There is nothing in the world quite so attention grabbing as American import duties in the 1800s. Right? Right? Incidentally, people don’t like talking to me.

If you’re still here, contemplating the notion of tariffs, then let me suggest a book: William Freehling’s Prelude to C
Jan 06, 2010 Eric_W rated it it was amazing
Probably the best study of the Nullification Crisis of 1832.

In November 1832, South Carolina was already making hints it would withdraw from the Union. The ostensible issue was tariffs (always money, always money,) but Freehling shows the importance of the slave issue in the crisis. Andrew Jackson threatened publicly to send in the troops and privately to hang John C Calhoun, the Everett Dirksen of ante-bellum. Nullification was the belief, prevalent in the south, that states could deny the cons
David Nichols
Beautifully written and deeply researched, this book was among the first to place South Carolina's bizarre and violent political history in the larger context of economic change and race relations in the 19th century. My only quibble with the book is that one of Freehling's arguments - that tariff disputes were really just a stalking-horse for slavery - downplays the importance of national trade policy to a state with an export-led economy. (Anecdotal aside: I bought my copy of this book in the ...more
Aug 05, 2012 Martin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Freehling's study of the nullification crisis is superb. He demonstrates that the response to the "Tariff of Abominations" was really about slavery, and southerners' underlying apprehensions about their peculiar institution.
Becky Snow maybe teves
Apr 01, 2016 Becky Snow maybe teves rated it it was amazing
Freehling did an amazing job with this book. It covers every little piece of the Nullification puzzle, and explains the mind of South Carolina during the controversy and after, leading into the Civil War.
Yet another great book by Professor Freehling. Well-researched, interesting facts....a great read so far!
Feb 05, 2010 Jim rated it it was amazing
Hands down the best treatment of the Nullification Crisis that I've ever read. I'd like to read it again one of these days, but unfortunately I lost my copy several years ago.
D.W. rated it really liked it
Jul 05, 2012
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Apr 14, 2009 Adrian Colesberry rated it liked it
It's not exactly an easy read. But it's a terrific review of the issues that led to war.
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William W. Freehling is Singletary Professor of the Humanities Emeritus at the University of Kentucky
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