JOURNAL OF THE EARLY REPUBLIC (Fall 2011) Slavery, Freedom and Expansion in the Early American West. By John Craig Hammond. (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2007. Pp. 245. Cloth, $39.50.) Reviewed by Gwynne Langley Rivers In John Craig Hammond's Slavery, Freedom and Expansion in the Early American West, the debate over the politics of slavery is moved out of Washington and into the territories of the Louisiana Purchase and the Northwest Territory. Hammond traces the debates over slavery in Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois from the passage of the Northwest Ordinance in 1790 until the Missouri Crisis in 1820. As these states were admitted into the Union, each contended with the question of whether to allow slavery within their borders. Hammond argues that the decisions made in local political arenas were far more important in securing the nation as a slaveholder's republic than any laws passed in Congress. Because the federal government was rather weak and overextended in the early republic, ample room was left for legislators and advocates in the territories to lobby for proslavery legislation that would take effect when the territories were admitted as states. Further, proslavery legislation was seen as critical to the
Journal of the Early Republic – University of Pennsylvania Press
Published: Aug 11, 2011
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