Military history

A Disease in the Public Mind: A New Understanding of Why We Fought the Civil War

A Disease in the Public Mind: A New Understanding of Why We Fought the Civil War

By the time John Brown hung from the gallows for his crimes at Harper’s Ferry, Northern abolitionists had made him a "holy martyr" in their campaign against Southern slave owners. This Northern hatred for Southerners long predated their objections to slavery. They were convinced that New England, whose spokesmen had begun the American Revolution, should have been the leader of the new nation. Instead, they had been displaced by Southern "slavocrats" like Thomas Jefferson. This malevolent envy exacerbated the South’s greatest fear: a race war. Jefferson’s cry, "We are truly to be pitied," summed up their dread. For decades, extremists in both regions flung insults and threats, creating intractable enmities. By 1861, only a civil war that would kill a million men could save the Union.

PREFACE

PROLOGUE: John Brown’s Raid

Chapter 1. Slavery Comes to America

Chapter 2. Slavery’s Great Foe—and Unintended Friend

Chapter 3. The First Emancipation Proclamation

Chapter 4. One Head Turning into Thirteen

Chapter 5. The Forgotten Emancipator

Chapter 6. Thomas Jefferson’s Nightmare

Chapter 7. New England Preaches—and Almost Practices—Secession

Chapter 8. How Not to Abolish Slavery

Chapter 9. New England Rediscovers the Sacred Union

Chapter 10. Another Thomas Jefferson Urges Virginia to Abolish Slavery

Chapter 11. The Abolitionist Who Lost His Faith

Chapter 12. Abolitionism Divides and Conquers Itself

Chapter 13. Enter Old Man Eloquent

Chapter 14. The Slave Patrols

Chapter 15. The Trouble with Texas

Chapter 16. Slave Power Paranoia

Chapter 17. From Uncle Tom to John Brown

Chapter 18. The Real Uncle Tom and the Unknown South He Helped Create

Chapter 19. Free Soil for Free (White) Men

Chapter 20. The Whole World Is Watching

Chapter 21. An Ex-President Tries to Save the Union

Chapter 22. The Anguish of Robert E. Lee

Chapter 23. The End of Illusions

Chapter 24. The Third Emancipation Proclamation

Chapter 25. The Hunt After the Captain

EPILOGUE: Lincoln’s Visitor

NOTES