b o o k rev i ews The Problem of Democracy in the Age of Slavery: Garrisonian Abolitionists and Transatlantic Reform. By W. Caleb McDaniel. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2013. Pp. 334. Cloth, $48.00.) Historian W. Caleb McDaniel provides an important reappraisal of leading Garrisonian abolitionists by exploring their political thought and behavior while also detailing the transatlantic nature of their movement. Where others have painted Garrisonians as apolitical moral perfectionists, McDaniel contends that they were unmistakable political activists. Garrisonians, he argues, thought deeply about democracy and sought to reform its imperfect American form by ceaselessly agitating apart from the ballot box. At stake for them, McDaniel contends, was not only the destruction of slavery at home but also the global flourishing of what they saw as the world's most promising political form. Indeed, McDaniel shows that William Lloyd Garrison and his followers' enduring belief in the planetary significance of American democracy undergirded their project of and approach to destroying slavery. Grounded in a thorough investigation of abolitionists' public and private writings, this insightful monograph should find a wide audience among historians of abolition and reform, nineteenth-century political and intellectual historians, scholars of social movements, and
The Journal of the Civil War Era – University of North Carolina Press
Published: Nov 8, 2014
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