Slavery, Capitalism, and Politics in the Antebellum Republic: Volume 1, Commerce and Compromise, 1820-1850

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The Civil War should be seen as America's 'bourgeois revolution'. So argues Dr John Ashworth in this novel reinterpretation, from a Marxist perspective, of American political and economic development in the forty years before the Civil War. This book, the first of a two-volume treatment of slavery, capitalism and politics, locates the political struggles of the antebellum period in the international context of the dismantling of unfree labor systems. With its sequel, the volume will demonstrate that the conflict resulted from differences between capitalist and slave modes of production. With a careful synthesis of existing scholarship on the economics of slavery, the origins of abolitionism, the proslavery argument and the second party system, Ashworth maintains that the origins of the American Civil War are best understood in terms derived from Marxism.