The South vs. the South: How Anti-Confederate Southerners Shaped the Course of the Civil War

William W. Freehling, Author Oxford University Press, USA $30 (256p) ISBN 978-0-19-513027-0
Historians have offered many different explanations for the North's triumph over the South during the Civil War. In this work, the University of Kentucky's Freehling (The Road to Disunion) dissects the role played by a failure of border states (Maryland, Delaware, Missouri and Kentucky) to unify with the seceding states. As these border states developed an industrial economy (to replace their extinct tobacco-based economy), they became more similar culturally and politically to the North, he argues. And like most Northern whites, whites living in the border states were not as strongly against slavery as they were for preserving their own ""lily-white utopia."" Lincoln knew that in order to win the war, according to Freehling, he would have to appeal to the border states' desire to remain with the Union, and in order not to alienate them he had to maintain his ambiguous stance on slavery and emancipation. Moreover, Freehling claims, historians have failed to appreciate fully the corrosive effect runaway slaves had on the Confederacy's ability to promote its proslavery position among its border neighbors. Though the argument that runaway slaves and border-state whites were critical to the outcome of the war is not quite as new as Freehling makes it out to be, his discussion of these two groups together in one volume is a valuable contribution to Civil War literature. B&w illus. and maps. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/01/2001
Release date: 02/01/2001
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