RACE AND POLITICS: Bleeding Kansas and the Coming of the Civil War by James A. Rawley

RACE AND POLITICS: Bleeding Kansas and the Coming of the Civil War

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

This represents a brother effort to the burgeoning Black History enterprise: an attempt to reinterpret White History so as to reveal the deep and persistent strain of racism in American society. Rawley insists that one must distinguish between the institution of slavery and the reality of race in order to understand that race was actually the fundamental cause of conflict that led to civil war. Against the background of the Kansas issue, the focus of political controversy during the crucial years of 1854-1858, he documents the prevalent anti- Negro sentiment in its varied political expressions, reflecting an almost universal belief in the inferiority of blacks. Most antiextensionists were not abolitionists, and even among the emancipators (from Lincoln on down) there were very few equalitarians. The ""Caucasian consensus"" among both southern Democrats and northern Republicans safeguarded white supremacy, and the power of folk prejudice paralyzed statesmanship. Thus it was a rare individual who had the rights of the black man in mind, and both the Kansas struggle and the Civil War were white men's quarrels over white men's conflicting interests. Though Rawley is well aware of the complexity of the pre-Civil war situation, his racial theme is pertinent and his points are well taken, for ""If there had been no color bar, the United States probably could have coped with the issue of slavery.

Pub Date: Nov. 17th, 1969
ISBN: 0803289014
Publisher: Lippincott