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James Buchanan and the Coming of the Civil War ed. by John W. Quist and Michael J. Birkner (review)

James Buchanan and the Coming of the Civil War ed. by John W. Quist and Michael J. Birkner (review) REVIEWS the book explains why some of his contemporaries believed he was insane. In short, this biography offers a fair assessment of Torrey's real contributions to the abolitionist movement, without making him appear larger than life or perfect. The author provides a very engaging story that makes this an easy read. Still, there are a few weaknesses. First, the book does not adequately examine how Charles Torrey felt about women's role in the abolitionist movement, nor does it detail his interaction with female abolitionists. Because this was a time when women's issues intersected with the abolitionist movement at every turn, this is a glaring oversight. Second, the author repeats many oft-cited myths about the Underground Railroad when he depicts it as being led by Quakers and white men like Torrey, Levi Coffin, and John Rankin. African American agents like Torrey's friend and chief UR collaborator Thomas Smallwood, and even William Still are portrayed as pawns of, or assistants to, white agents. Moreover, the system itself is presented as static, with fixed locations and conductors rather than the richly dynamic biracial social movement with many layers that historians such as Keith Griffler have convinced us it was. Finally, the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of the Early Republic University of Pennsylvania Press

James Buchanan and the Coming of the Civil War ed. by John W. Quist and Michael J. Birkner (review)

Journal of the Early Republic , Volume 34 (3) – Aug 12, 2014

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Publisher
University of Pennsylvania Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Society for Historians of the Early American Republic.
ISSN
1553-0620
Publisher site
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Abstract

REVIEWS the book explains why some of his contemporaries believed he was insane. In short, this biography offers a fair assessment of Torrey's real contributions to the abolitionist movement, without making him appear larger than life or perfect. The author provides a very engaging story that makes this an easy read. Still, there are a few weaknesses. First, the book does not adequately examine how Charles Torrey felt about women's role in the abolitionist movement, nor does it detail his interaction with female abolitionists. Because this was a time when women's issues intersected with the abolitionist movement at every turn, this is a glaring oversight. Second, the author repeats many oft-cited myths about the Underground Railroad when he depicts it as being led by Quakers and white men like Torrey, Levi Coffin, and John Rankin. African American agents like Torrey's friend and chief UR collaborator Thomas Smallwood, and even William Still are portrayed as pawns of, or assistants to, white agents. Moreover, the system itself is presented as static, with fixed locations and conductors rather than the richly dynamic biracial social movement with many layers that historians such as Keith Griffler have convinced us it was. Finally, the

Journal

Journal of the Early RepublicUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: Aug 12, 2014

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