By Eric H. Walther
Within the first entire biography of William Lowndes Yancey (1814-63), one of many top secessionists of the outdated South, Eric H. Walther examines the character and political lifetime of the uncompromising fire-eater.
Born in Georgia yet raised within the North by means of a fiercely abolitionist stepfather and an emotionally risky mom, Yancey grew up believing that abolitionists have been merciless, meddling, and hypocritical. His own trip led him via a chain of mentors who reworked his political opinions, and upon relocating to frontier Alabama in his twenties, Yancey's penchant for rhetorical and actual violence was once quickly channeled right into a campaign to guard slaveholders' rights.
Yancey defied Northern Democrats at their nationwide nominating conference in 1860, rending the occasion and environment the level for secession after the election of Abraham Lincoln. chosen to introduce Jefferson Davis in Montgomery because the president-elect of the Confederacy, Yancey additionally served the Confederacy as a diplomat and a senator ahead of his dying in 1863, simply wanting his forty-ninth birthday.
More than a portrait of an influential political determine ahead of and through the Civil battle, this learn additionally offers a nuanced examine the roots of Southern honor, violence, and understandings of manhood as they constructed within the 19th century.
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Extra resources for William Lowndes Yancey and the Coming of the Civil War
54 Yancey described accurately how most states’ laws passed all legal control of the wife to the husband. 56 To Yancey, the ideal marriage embodied a rough equality between the sexes. He conceded that many marriages might appear calm, ‘‘but it is more often the stillness and deadness of the atmosphere, which precedes the storm, than that healthy repose, which can alone be relied upon for serenity. ’’ Once liberated, he believed, ‘‘Pleasure would no longer be the only business of womans life.
7 It did not take long for Yancey to test some of these rules. Faculty minutes record that on February , , Yancey and his fellow student and friend, Horace Clark, both left town without permission and that Yancey got drunk and used profane language. The faculty ﬁned him a dollar and issued a stern warning. Neither did much good. On March the faculty ﬁned him ﬁve dollars for playing cards. A month later, Yancey and Clark again teamed up for some mischief, breaking glass windows on campus (a ﬁfty cent ﬁne).
The incident secured Yancey a suspension from the last few weeks of the spring term, but he incurred no criminal punishment. ’’ 8 n Rebellion and Union Yancey’s punishment did not change him. On July , , Yancey, Clark, and others skipped religious services on campus in favor of celebrating their nation’s birth by breaking glass on campus. Yancey’s name appeared frequently thereafter in the faculty records, usually for skipping prayers. 9 Yancey almost went too far in challenging school authority in the late summer of .
William Lowndes Yancey and the Coming of the Civil War by Eric H. Walther