Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men | Jeffrey Rogers Hummel

Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men
by Jeffrey Rogers Hummel

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Quick Review

A century and a half after it ended, the Civil War remains one of the most important and least understood episodes in American history. In Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men, Jeffrey Rogers Hummel sets out to illuminate some of the forgotten aspects of the war and to provide a unique interpretation of its legacy. Hummel’s primary assertion is that the war was the key event in transforming American government into the oppressive, centralized system we have today and on this point his case is compelling. He further argues that while the South did secede over slavery, that was not the reason that the North entered the war. Hummel’s most controversial statement, that southern slavery was doomed even without the war, is also compelling and brilliantly argued. Most importantly, Hummel’s analysis shows that a revisionist accounting of the war can be perfectly consistent with the abolitionist cause. This book is the most balanced, important and complete work of Civil War revisionism available.

Praise for Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men

“With its insightful analysis…Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men will supply both the academic and the Civil War buff with an added perspective on the causes and consequences of the Civil War.” – Publishers Weekly

“Hummel . . . presents some uncomfortable truths for both sides of the Civil War. For the South, Hummel builds a case that the war was indeed about slavery. For the North, he shows that a war to preserve the union was morally bankrupt and that freeing the slaves was the only justifiable reason for fighting. Yet Hummel demonstrates that even a war for such a noble cause was probably unnecessary, since slavery was politically doomed in an independent South. Hummel also illustrates some of the cost of the war, such as Lincoln’s suppression of political opposition, the closing of dissenting newspapers, and the creation of big government under Republicans Lincoln, Johnson, and Grant. Here, Hummel steps on some toes.” – Library Journal

“. . . a lucid, edifying account of the Civil War era. Mr. Hummel has an impressive command of the relevant contemporary literature. His interpretations are thoughtful, often provocative, always well worth considering.” – Kenneth M. Stampp, author of The Peculiar Institution

What to Read First

The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History | Tom Woods

What to Read Next

The Real Lincoln | Tom DiLorenzo


History // The Civil War