Liberty Power: Antislavery Third Parties And The Transformation Of American Politics by Corey M. Brooks

Liberty Power: Antislavery Third Parties And The Transformation Of American Politics

byCorey M. Brooks

Hardcover | January 14, 2016

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Abraham Lincoln’s Republican Party was the first party built on opposition to slavery to win on the national stage—but its victory was rooted in the earlier efforts of under-appreciated antislavery third parties. Liberty Power tells the story of how abolitionist activists built the most transformative third-party movement in American history and effectively reshaped political structures in the decades leading up to the Civil War.

As Corey M. Brooks explains, abolitionist trailblazers who organized first the Liberty Party and later the more moderate Free Soil Party confronted formidable opposition from a two-party system expressly constructed to suppress disputes over slavery. Identifying the Whigs and Democrats as the mainstays of the southern Slave Power’s national supremacy, savvy abolitionists insisted that only a party independent of slaveholder influence could wrest the federal government from its grip. A series of shrewd electoral, lobbying, and legislative tactics enabled these antislavery third parties to wield influence far beyond their numbers. In the process, these parties transformed the national political debate and laid the groundwork for the success of the Republican Party and the end of American slavery.

About The Author

Corey M. Brooks is assistant professor of history at York College of Pennsylvania. He is coeditor of Their Patriotic Duty: The Civil War Letters of the Evans Family of Brown County, Ohio. He resides in Baltimore.
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Title:Liberty Power: Antislavery Third Parties And The Transformation Of American PoliticsFormat:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.1 inPublished:January 14, 2016Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022630728X

ISBN - 13:9780226307282

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“Liberty Power is a game changer. For too long political historians have seen abolitionists as so far removed from the electoral mainstream that their impact on politics was negligible. And historians of abolitionism have concluded that a deeply pro-slavery antebellum political system remained immune to the efforts by serious reformers to move it toward emancipation. Brooks persuasively contests both of these generalizations by demonstrating that abolitionists involved in the Liberty and Free Soil Parties succeeded over a span of two decades in wresting control of the House of Representatives from the slaveholders and their northern allies. Grounding these claims in deep research, Brooks’ study reconstructs the sophisticated long term strategies these abolitionists developed, their short-term political tactics, and, most welcome and revealing of all, their incontestably significant impact on the deliberations of the Congress itself. Scholars of Civil War causation must attend to this book.”