Rhett: The Turbulent Life and Times of a Fire-eater

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Univ of South Carolina Press, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 702 pages
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William C. Davis's biography of Robert Barnwell Rhett provides a definitive picture of South Carolina's most prominent secessionist and arguably the best known in the nation during the two decades leading up to the Civil War. Dubbed the Father of Secession, Rhett attached himself to South Carolina statesman John C. Calhoun, but grew more zealous than his mentor on the secession issue. Rhett first raised the possibility of secession in 1826, well before Calhoun adopted the notion, and would ever after hold fast to his one great idea. In this examination of Rhett's personal and political endeavors, Davis draws upon many newly found sources to reveal the extremism that would make and mar Rhett's adult life. Davis traces the statesman's obsession with a separation from the union, which he initially associated with a protective tariff and internal improvements but by the 1840s had unabashedly connected with slavery. Davis details Rhett's seven terms in Congress, his short-lived stint as a United States Senator, and his leading role in the South's newly energized movement toward secession after the 1860 election. Davis reveals Rhett's ambition to be rewarded with the presidency of the

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Rhett: the turbulent life and times of a fire-eater

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Explanations for the American Civil War often focus on the activities of Northern abolitionists and Southern fire-eaters, who are often blamed for their inability to compromise. This life of Robert ... Read full review


ONE Madam Modesty i666isi9
TWO All Passion Excitement and Fire i si91828
Am a Disunionist isasisaa
FOUR Perseverance Will Ensure Success 18321834
SEVEN A Compound of Wild Democracy 1838184O
EIGHT We Are Something of Lucifers 184O1843
Would Rather Talk Treason than
TWELVE A Rash and Ultra Man 18461848
Have Already Passed Out of the World
EIGHTEEN The Tea Has Been Thrown Overboard
NINETEEN The Fist of South Carolina iseoisei
TWENTYTHREE There Is Something Wrong Somewhere
TWENTYFOUR Cast Out of Public Life 18621864
TWENTYSEVEN Do You See Yonder Star? 13761939

THIRTEEN Into 3 Circle of Fire 1849185O
FOURTEEN Such a FireEater 185O1851
FIFTEEN The South Must Be Free issiissa

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Page 681 - Declaration of the immediate causes which induce and justify the secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union.

About the author (2001)

WILLIAM C. DAVIS has written more than thirty books on American history, particularly of the Civil War period, including "Civil War Weapons and Equipment" (page 81) and "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War" (page 128). He has acted as consultant and advisor to the Eastern National Parks & Monuments Association, the U.S. Intelligence Historical Society, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He is Professor of History and Director of Programs for the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies at Virginia Tech. He lives in Blacksburg, Virginia.

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