Charles B. Dew. Apostles of Disunion: Southern Secession Commissioners and the Causes of the Civil War. Charlottesville and London: University Press of. Apostles of Disunion: Southern Secession Commissioners and the Causes of the Civil War. Front Cover. Charles B. Dew. University Press of Virginia, Apostles of Disunion has ratings and 70 reviews. Charles B. Dew, Apostles of Disunion: Southern Secession Commissioners and the Causes of the Civil.

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Apostles of Disunion

Any questions about reasons for Southern secession should be resolved in the mind of any intelligent, reasonable, clear-thinking reader.

Slavery was at the center of the secession movement. Davis leaves slavery for his discussion of secession. See all reviews. If you wonder how much slavery and race had to do with Southern secession, you should read this book.

Apostles of Disunion

I disagree, not with the book’s contention that racism was important, but in divorcing it from the economics and politics of the era in order to fashion a moralizing history about a wicked South.

Nevertheless, in his stated goal Dew makes a convincing and well-supported argument. Unfortunately, that’s not the world we live in today, and the ones who would benefit most from reading this – those who continue to deny slavery as a secession cause or to defend their “Southern heritage” at the expense of the history of enslaved workers – are either unwilling or unable to accept facts.

The author’s treatment to the economic considerations is also rather trivial, considering the enormous value of the slave assets held by the South.

The correspondence and speeches of the secessionist commissioners, sent out by Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina, to the remaining slave states, clearly illustrated this point. Racial rhetoric did not advance much in the South between andas the same arguments that got trotted around the dog and pony show for secession were also used by racists in the 20th century against integration.

HubPages and Hubbers authors may earn revenue on this page based on affiliate relationships and advertisements with partners including Amazon, Google, and others. Neo-Confederates may have a “problem” with this interpretation In the aftermath of the Charleston, S.

He offers a compelling and clearly substantiated argument that slavery and race were absolutely critical factors in the outbreak of war–indeed, that they were at the heart of our great national crisis.

University Press of Virginia- History – pages. They repeatedly espoused the view that the Southern states must disassociate themselves from the Union, or face the complete breakdown of their society. Together, they represented the breadth of the moderate and radical political factions within the Democratic and Whig parties. Contrastingly, Dew implicitly assumes the war as the inevitable result of secession. Mar 12, Adrianna added it Shelves: Few appreciate this better than Charles Dew.


Dew directs attention to a neglected source of insight. Yet the Republicans would have the slaves freed and enfranchised, made equal to whites in every way.

Undoubtedly there were a great many people in this country at the time, on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line who were extremely uncomfortable with the idea of complete equality between Blacks and Whites.

Lest we fall for that tired argument, I would highly recommend the following books: It was the mere incident of a sectional animosity, the causes of which lay far beyond the domain of morals.

Provides plenty of evidence that the Civil War was a war fought over slavery rather than states’ rights, but unfortunately doesn’t really engage the other side.

Page 1 apoostles 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. See links to these documents at the end of review. Given the frank language contained in this body of evidence, it would be difficult to arrive at a conclusion other than that put forth by Dew. Nov 12, John rated it it was amazing.

Apostles of Disunion | The University of Virginia Press

I appreciated his inclusion of the entirety of two of the documents upon which he places apostlws emphasis, as it allowed me to see the full context from which Dew was drawing quotations. Thus, according to Dew, Calhoun believed that the Republican-based Union would ignite revolutionary ideals that would lead to the destruction of the not just the institution of slavery, but the South itself.

In late and earlystate-appointed commissioners traveled the length and breadth of the slave South carrying a fervent message in pursuit of a clear goal: Not only does Dew frame the debate over abolition improperly, but he cherry picks only for quotes on slavery while ignoring portions of speeches from commissioners that emphasized the tariff. To accomplish this, he examines speeches and documents from the commissioners, who were men sent from the lower southern states for the purpose of convincing other states of the necessities of disunion and forming a Southern Confederation.

By the end of Novembereven before seceding, Mississippi moved to send out commissioners to other slave states; Alabama followed suit in December. They repeatedly espoused the view that the Southern states must disassociate themselves fro Dew’s conclusion in Apostles of Disunion, that white supremacy was at the core of the ardent secessionist movement in the winter ofis well founded and completed supported by the body of evidence consulted.


These documents were both explanatory and persuasive in function, and thus were not merely reflections of the seceders’ mindset but indications of what they thought would move their white Southern audiences.

However, Dew, as is apparent throughout the text, pays close attention towards the language of the commissioners in their speeches that explain why they favor of succession. Rather, these were part of the public case that state-sponsored commissioners made in order to persuade other slave-states to secede.

Popular memory is like the postwar Jefferson Davis, who claimed disingenously in that “sectional hostility” would have “manifested” anyway “even if there had not been a negro in America.

But at the core of it, they would be considered just charlrs racist in our day. The commissioners included in their speeches a constitutional justification for secession, to be sure, and they pointed to a number of political “outrages” committed by the North in the decades prior to Lincoln’s election. Alabama and Mississippi dispatched the first wave of commissioners, which Dew outlines in his second de.

ComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. We are still feeling the reverberations of such arguments today in one way or another. To ask other readers questions about Apostles of Disunionplease sign up.

We must own and acknowledge our shameful past, or we will never rid ourselves of the racist scourge of slavery and white supremacy, our nation’s original sins. After reading, it is difficult to divorce slavery and willful ethnic protectionism from the ex post facto “Lost Cause”. But it strains credulity that even the poorest white Southern upland non-slaveholding farmer who fought for the Confederacy did not know that he was also fighting for the “Southern way of life,” which included a defense of its “peculiar institution.

The current version of that test, updated in Januaryincludes this question: A native of St.

After all, if the Rebels were evil racists, then they do not edw deserve cemetery monuments, much less public ones. The result was a study into the letters and speeches of the secession commissioners from the first states that seceded to the remaining slave owning states in the attempt to form a new nation.