This is not going to make the headlines, for the average layman, but for the student of the history of that period leading up to the Civil War, this may well make some history on its own. The author has stated and substantiated some fairly revolutionary things about the sectional feelings of the people of the great ""middle class"", too often ignored in viewing the old South as Slave and Planter. He discusses the factors of weather, geography and so on. He traces the shift from indentured labor to slave labor, the two great crops of the South -- tobacco and cotton -- and the demands they put upon the population; the industrial factors, markets, tariffs, etc. as basic roots of controversy. He shows how Slavery became a symbol -- rather than a fundamental issue, and the slave holder the scapegoat. He traces the political aspects of the subject, the Wilmot Proviso, the Calhoun proposals, the Compromise which was no compromise, the instillation of the idea of an independent South, the fugitive slave laws, the Kansas-Nebraska conflict, the rebirth of the Republican Party, and the steps by which secession became inevitable. Not for the general reader, but for students, etc.