History of Black Americans: From the Compromise of 1850 to the End of the Civil War

History of Black Americans: From the Compromise of 1850 to the End of the Civil War

History of Black Americans: From the Compromise of 1850 to the End of the Civil War

History of Black Americans: From the Compromise of 1850 to the End of the Civil War


"Philip Foner adds to his impressive body of work on US history with this third volume of his History of Black Americans. Like his previous scholarship, it draws upon a remarkably wide range of sources and presents information in a direct and readable form. Foner advances his own interpretation of many of the issues discussed, but he presents the views of other scholars with clarity and fairness, and he always take care to delineate the basis for his views. Even those completely opposed to his views will find this book invaluable as a bibliographic resource and a survey of the literature on the subject.... Foner's Achievement should not be taken lightly. He has produced the single best volume on what may have been the single most important decade in US history. Recommended for all academic and public libraries." - Choice


This is the third volume in the projected multivolume History of Black Americans. The second volume (From the Emergence of the Cotton Kingdom to the Eve of the Compromise of 1850) concluded on the eve of the Compromise of 1850. This volume begins with the enactment of the Compromise, including one of the most vicious pieces of legislation in U.S. history--the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850--and concludes with the victory of the Union in the Civil War and the abolition of slavery. The volume stresses four themes: (1) black resistance to the Fugitive Slave Act; (2) black emigration during the 1850s; (3) black participation in the political struggles over slavery during the same decade; and (4) the role of blacks in the Civil War.

Although a number of these subjects have been dealt with in detail in general and specialized American historical works, the black dimensions, except for specialized doctoral and master's dissertations and articles in scholarly journals, have been neglected. This volume seeks to fill this important gap in our historiography. The role of blacks in the Civil War has been the subject of a number of important studies, but no general history of black Americans has, in my judgment, heretofore done justice to this vital subject.

Although they are personally offensive, I have retained words that are scurrilous so as to keep the record intact.

I wish to express my gratitude to Professor Jon Wakelyn of Catholic University of America for taking the necessary time from his schedule and reading the entire manuscript and offering valuable suggestions.

I have received the kind cooperation of many libraries and historical societies in the preparation of this volume. I wish to take this opportunity to thank the staffs of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Library Company of Philadelphia, Library of Congress, National Archives, Free Library of Philadelphia, Cincinnati Historical Society, Boston Public Library, Rare Book Room, New- York Historical Society . . .

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