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  • This Vast Southern Empire

  • Slaveholders at the Helm of American Foreign Policy
  • By: Matthew Karp
  • Narrated by: Tom Zingarelli
  • Length: 10 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Americas
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

For proslavery leaders like John C. Calhoun and Jefferson Davis, the 19th-century world was torn between two hostile forces: a rising movement against bondage and an Atlantic plantation system that was larger and more productive than ever before. In this great struggle, Southern statesmen saw the United States as slavery's most powerful champion. Overcoming traditional qualms about a strong central government, slaveholding leaders harnessed the power of the state to defend slavery abroad. During the antebellum years, they worked energetically to modernize the US military while steering American diplomacy to protect slavery in Brazil, Cuba, and the Republic of Texas. As Matthew Karp demonstrates, these leaders were nationalists, not separatists. Their "vast Southern empire" was not an independent South but the entire United States, and only the election of Abraham Lincoln broke their grip on national power. Fortified by years at the helm of US foreign affairs, slave-holding elites formed their own Confederacy - not only as a desperate effort to preserve their property but as a confident bid to shape the future of the Atlantic world.

©2016 Matthew Karp (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Karp's thorough and polished study will be eagerly welcomed by scholars, if not a wider public." ( Publishers Weekly)

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Worth a read!

This was an incredibly insightful book about the advent of the American civil war and the usually unread history of American foreign policy prior. It's terribly illuminating of the roles and motivations as to why the United States acted the way it did, with the limitation of historical evidence. However, the author makes note of these limitations and admits to some shortcomings in his analysis. I must admit I was very impressed with the commentary and the historical evidence. The pacing of the book is superb as it covers a period from British abolitionism to the civil war itself. The narration was sublime, a good choice to immerse yourself in America's history in the 19th century. Some might find the historical details a bit tedious and discussing the more intricate and legalistic aspects can be jarring. But the message of the book is clear and it's really a must for people interested in history.

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  • chris calabrese
  • 15-07-2018

Great little book

I really enjoyed this book and it gives you the mind set and future ideas of what a southern run United States would have been and looked like. The narrator did a great job good voice. Great little book 5 stars really enjoyed it. The book covers a period of time when the south dominated policy and our nation. It was very well written it has a nice flow. Great work Matthew Karp

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  • NCmom
  • 03-09-2017

Excellent Listen

Very powerful writing on a topic generally mistaught or overlooked. Clear and concise coverage of the power of Southern states in the years before Lincoln's election. Good narration as well.

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