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Size: 6 x 9
Pages: 278

Civil War
U.S. History
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Adams and Calhoun

From Shared Vision to Irreconcilable Conflict

William F. Hartford

Published: May 25 2023


Published: May 25 2023


Published: May 25 2023

OA Ebook
Published: May 25 2023


The inclusion of this book in the Open Carolina collection is made possible by the generous funding of

Examines the evolving lives of two men who were crucial political figures in the consequential decades prior to the Civil War

Although neither of them lived to see the Civil War, John Quincy Adams and John C. Calhoun did as much any two political figures of the era to shape the intersectional tensions that produced the conflict. William F. Hartford examines the lives of Adams and Calhoun as a prism through which to view the developing sectional conflict. While both men came of age as strong nationalists, their views, like those of the nation, diverged by the 1830s, largely over the issue of slavery. Hartford examines the two men's responses to issues of nationalism and empire, sectionalism and nullification, slavery and antislavery, party and politics, and also the expansion of slavery. He offers fresh insights into the sectional conflict that also accounts for the role of personal idiosyncrasy and interpersonal relationships in the coming of the Civil War.

William F. Hartford is an independent scholar whose earlier works include Money, Morals, and Politics: Massachusetts in the Age of the Boston Associates and Where Is Our Responsibility: Unions and Economic Change in the New England Textile Industry, 1870-1960.

"Adams and Calhoun tells an impressive story, one that has never been told before in this manner, with remarkable clarity, vigor, and fairness. William F. Hartford has produced a fast-paced, engaging narrative about two famous men that proves not only fair to both and engaging for readers but also one not sparing concern for the flaws both men manifested."—Lacy Ford, emeritus, department of history, University of South Carolina

"William F. Hartford's decision to structure his study of Calhoun and Adams as a dual biography is superb. The two men were so similar in some ways, and so dissimilar in others, that they make a perfect pairing to show how the issue of slavery became the rock on which the entire country had nearly shattered by the end of their lives."—Robert Elder, associate professor of history, Baylor University

"A notable book – Based on thorough research in primary and secondary sources, William Hartford's insightful treatment of both Adams and Calhoun illustrates the powerful personal and political motives that led two extraordinarily able and ambitious American leaders from alliance to opposition, a course that exemplified the nation's. I heartily recommend Professor Hartford's achievement."—William J. Cooper, Boyd Professor Emeritus, LSU

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