Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men: A History of the American Civil War

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Open Court, Dec 13, 2013 - History - 448 pages
10 Reviews
This book combines a sweeping narrative of the Civil War with a bold new look at the war’s significance for American society. Professor Hummel sees the Civil War as America’s turning point: simultaneously the culmination and repudiation of the American revolution.
While the chapters tell the story of the Civil War and discuss the issues raised in readable prose, each chapter is followed by a detailed bibliographical essay, looking at all the different major works on the subject, with their varying ideological viewpoints and conclusions.
In his economic analysis of slavery, Professor Hummel takes a different view than the two major poles which have determined past discussions of the topic. While some writers claim that slavery was unprofitable and harmful to the Southern economy, and others maintain it was profitable and efficient for the South, Hummel uses the economic concept of Deadweight Loss to show that slavery was both highly profitable for slave owners and harmful to Southern economic development.
While highly critical of Confederate policy, Hummel argues that the war was fought to prevent secession, not to end slavery, and that preservation of the Union was not necessary to end slavery: the North could have let the South secede peacefully, and slavery would still have been quickly terminated. Part of Hummel’s argument is that the South crucially relied on the Northern states to return runaway slaves to their owners.
This new edition has a substantial new introduction by the author, correcting and supplementing the account given in the first edition (the major revision is an increase in the estimate of total casualties) and a foreword by John Majewski, a rising star of Civil War studies.

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Review: Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men: A History of the American Civil War

User Review  - SP - Goodreads

Interesting short history of the Civil War and Reconstruction, largely from a libertarian perspective (as the tendentious title may suggest). Unlike most of the books I've read on the Civil War, this ... Read full review

Review: Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men: A History of the American Civil War

User Review  - Patrick Peterson - Goodreads

Can't find my original review, so am trying to recreate. Have only read 2-3 chapters, but this book is fantastic. Very well written, the book is clear, compelling and persuasive. The notes and ... Read full review


Foreword to the Second Edition
Slavery andStates Rights in the Early Republic
The Political Economy of Slavery and Secession
TheSlave Power
The Confederate States of America
Mobilizing for Conflict
Republican NeoMercantilism Versus Confederate War Socialism
Dissentand DisaffectionNorth and South
The Ravages of Total
Bibliographical Essay
American Society Transformed
Americas Turning Point

TheMilitary Struggle
The War to Abolish Slavery?

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About the author (2013)

Jeffrey Rogers Hummel is Associate Professor of Economics at San Jose State University, where he teaches both economics and history.

John Majewski is Professor of History at the University of California Santa Barbara. He is author of Modernizing a Slave Economy: The Economic Vision of the Confederate Nation (University of North Carolina Press, 2009) and A House Divided: Economic Development in Pennsylvania and Virginia Before the Civil War (Cambridge University Press, 2000).

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