Internal Enemy Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832

ISBN-10: 039334973X

ISBN-13: 9780393349733

Edition: 2014

Authors: Alan Taylor
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Description: Frederick Douglass recalled that slaves living along Chesapeake Bay longingly viewed sailing ships as "freedom's swift-winged angels." In 1813 those angels appeared in the bay as British warships coming to punish the Americans for declaring war on the empire. Over many nights, hundreds of slaves paddled out to the warships seeking protection for their families from the ravages of slavery. The runaways pressured the British admirals into becoming liberators. As guides, pilots, sailors, and marines, the former slaves used their intimate knowledge of the countryside to transform the war. They enabled the British to escalate their onshore attacks and to capture and burn Washington, D.C. Tidewater masters had long dreaded their slaves as "an internal enemy." By mobilizing that enemy, the war ignited the deepest fears of Chesapeake slaveholders. It also alienated Virginians from a national government that had neglected their defense. Instead they turned south, their interests aligning more and more with their section. In 1820 Thomas Jefferson observed of sectionalism: "Like a firebell in the night [it] awakened and filled me with terror. I considered it at once the knell of the union." The notes of alarm in Jefferson's comment speak of the fear aroused by the recent crisis over slavery in his home state. His vision of a cataclysm to come proved prescient. Jefferson's startling observation registered a turn in the nation's course, a pivot from the national purpose of the founding toward the threat of disunion. Drawn from new sources, Alan Taylor's riveting narrative re-creates the events that inspired black Virginians, haunted slaveholders, and set the nation on a new and dangerous course.

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Book details

List price: $18.95
Copyright year: 2014
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company, Incorporated
Publication date: 9/2/2014
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 624
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.25" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 1.034
Language: English

Alan Shaw Taylor was born in 1955 in Portland, Maine. He graduated from Colby College in Waterville, Maine in 1977. He went on to earn his PhD. from Brandeis University in 1986. He has become a professor of history at the University of California. He is best known for his contributions to microhistory which he demonstrated in his Pulitzer Prize winning history of William Cooper and the settlement of Cooperstown, New York. In this work, Alan Taylor uses court records, land records, letters and diaries to reconstruct the economic, political and socila history of New England and the settlement of New York. He is also a regular contributor of book reviews and essays to The New Republic. His books include William Cooper's Town: Power & Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic, which won the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for history and the Bancroft Prize in American History. In 2014, he once again won the Pulitzer Prize for History in his title: The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832.

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