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Liberty and Union: The Civil War Era and American Constitutionalism by Timothy S. Huebner (review)

Liberty and Union: The Civil War Era and American Constitutionalism by Timothy S. Huebner (review) This is a fine blueprint for scholars seeking to study the interplay of legal thought and legal practice. Brophy’s outstanding introduction is comprehensive and precise, but I would have liked a clearer analytical voice within the individual chapters themselves, as occasionally the weight of quotations and evidence eclipses their connection to the book’s overall argument. This analytical lacuna also means that Brophy misses some opportunities to refine the overall argument about the overwhelmingly economic, instrumentalist motive behind southern proslavery legal thought. Regionalism is one clear example. Did Ruffin’s sense of the commonweal in North Carolina comport with Thomas Cobb’s sweeping communal moral sensibilities in Georgia? Washington College in Lexington, Virginia (later Washington and Lee University), and Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, may both have been on the legal “borderlands” (61), but Brophy is too quick to collapse their experiences into a single narrative without noting likely differences. Finally, it is difficult to not be convinced by Brophy’s idea that capitalism fueled “proslavery sentiments” and that the market was a key rationale that justified proslavery legal thought (17). Yet was this the same market, and indeed the same capitalism, that primed the pump of northern property and contract law http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of the Civil War Era University of North Carolina Press

Liberty and Union: The Civil War Era and American Constitutionalism by Timothy S. Huebner (review)

The Journal of the Civil War Era , Volume 7 (3) – Aug 24, 2017

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright @ The University of North Carolina Press
ISSN
2159-9807
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Abstract

This is a fine blueprint for scholars seeking to study the interplay of legal thought and legal practice. Brophy’s outstanding introduction is comprehensive and precise, but I would have liked a clearer analytical voice within the individual chapters themselves, as occasionally the weight of quotations and evidence eclipses their connection to the book’s overall argument. This analytical lacuna also means that Brophy misses some opportunities to refine the overall argument about the overwhelmingly economic, instrumentalist motive behind southern proslavery legal thought. Regionalism is one clear example. Did Ruffin’s sense of the commonweal in North Carolina comport with Thomas Cobb’s sweeping communal moral sensibilities in Georgia? Washington College in Lexington, Virginia (later Washington and Lee University), and Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, may both have been on the legal “borderlands” (61), but Brophy is too quick to collapse their experiences into a single narrative without noting likely differences. Finally, it is difficult to not be convinced by Brophy’s idea that capitalism fueled “proslavery sentiments” and that the market was a key rationale that justified proslavery legal thought (17). Yet was this the same market, and indeed the same capitalism, that primed the pump of northern property and contract law

Journal

The Journal of the Civil War EraUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Aug 24, 2017

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