THE STAKES OF POWER -- 1845-1877 by Roy F. Nichols

THE STAKES OF POWER -- 1845-1877

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Written by the 1949 Pulitzer Prize winner in history, this second volume in the -volume social and political history of the United States, The Making of America, begins where the first volume, Willse's The New leaves off, with Jackson's second Administration and the election of Polk; It ends with Grant's final term as President and the election of Rutherford B. Hayes. The period covered, from 1845 to 1877, was a critical one for the country, with the year 1860, one of fear and panic, ""the most disastrous the country was ever to know."" In the Mexican War resulted in vast territorial expansion and renewed efforts on the part of the South to extend slavery to non-slave territory. In the 1850's the rise of the Republican Party, and the election of Lincoln in 1860, brought a revolutionary transfer of political power from the South, which for years had dominated the country, to the North, and with it came Secession and a war which ""nobody had planned"". In turn the Civil War brought with it enormous developments in manufacturing and transport, and also the almost insoluble social problems resulting from the freeing of some three million slaves. Lincoln's death nullified his plans for reconstruction and left the South open to unscrupulous exploitation; Grant's two terms as President saw the country plundered by corrupt politicians and the concentration of wealth in the hands of men of great enterprise and few public morals -- and also the beginnings of an organized labor movement. Like its predecessor, this well-documented and readable volume will appeal largely to students, teachers and professional historians, and should find a place in all libraries dealing with the social and political development of this country.

Publisher: Hill and Wang