The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832

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9780393349733: The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832

Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for History

"Impressively researched and beautifully crafted...a brilliant account of slavery in Virginia during and after the Revolution." ―Mark M. Smith, Wall Street Journal

Frederick Douglass recalled that slaves living along Chesapeake Bay longingly viewed sailing ships as "freedom’s swift-winged angels." In 1813 those angels appeared in the bay as British warships coming to punish the Americans for declaring war on the empire. Over many nights, hundreds of slaves paddled out to the warships seeking protection for their families from the ravages of slavery. The runaways pressured the British admirals into becoming liberators. As guides, pilots, sailors, and marines, the former slaves used their intimate knowledge of the countryside to transform the war. They enabled the British to escalate their onshore attacks and to capture and burn Washington, D.C. Tidewater masters had long dreaded their slaves as "an internal enemy." By mobilizing that enemy, the war ignited the deepest fears of Chesapeake slaveholders. It also alienated Virginians from a national government that had neglected their defense. Instead they turned south, their interests aligning more and more with their section. In 1820 Thomas Jefferson observed of sectionalism: "Like a firebell in the night [it] awakened and filled me with terror. I considered it at once the knell of the union." The notes of alarm in Jefferson's comment speak of the fear aroused by the recent crisis over slavery in his home state. His vision of a cataclysm to come proved prescient. Jefferson's startling observation registered a turn in the nation’s course, a pivot from the national purpose of the founding toward the threat of disunion. Drawn from new sources, Alan Taylor's riveting narrative re-creates the events that inspired black Virginians, haunted slaveholders, and set the nation on a new and dangerous course. 35 illustrations; 4 maps

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About the Author:

Alan Taylor is Thomas Jefferson Professor of History at the University of Virginia. He is the author of many acclaimed books in early American history and has twice been awarded the Pulitzer Prize in History. His most recent book, The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772–1832, won the Pulitzer Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Award.

From Booklist:

Escape from slavery in the antebellum South evokes images of secretive flight on the Underground Railroad or bizarre efforts like that of “Box Brown,” who hid in a small shipping crate sent north. Taylor, a Pulitzer Prize–winning historian, teaches at the University of California, Davis. In this revealing and engrossing study, he illustrates that a great factor in the liberation of thousands of slaves was the policy and intervention of the British government and military. Taylor concentrates on the six decades between the American Revolution and the slave revolt of Nat Turner, and he focuses on the Chesapeake region of Virginia. The area is dotted with numerous rivers flowing to the bay, and here hundreds of slaves paddled out to British warships, especially during the War of 1812. British naval officers, through a combination of military practicality and, in some cases, antislavery sentiments, encouraged and facilitated their flight. This, of course, served to reinforce the slaveholders to view their slaves as “internal enemies.” This is a well-written and scrupulously researched examination of an important aspect of the struggle against American slavery. --Jay Freeman

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Book Description WW Norton Co, United States, 2014. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. Frederick Douglass recalled that slaves living along Chesapeake Bay longingly viewed sailing ships as freedom s swift-winged angels. In 1813 those angels appeared in the bay as British warships coming to punish the Americans for declaring war on the empire. Over many nights, hundreds of slaves paddled out to the warships seeking protection for their families from the ravages of slavery. The runaways pressured the British admirals into becoming liberators. As guides, pilots, sailors, and marines, the former slaves used their intimate knowledge of the countryside to transform the war. They enabled the British to escalate their onshore attacks and to capture and burn Washington, D.C. Tidewater masters had long dreaded their slaves as an internal enemy. By mobilizing that enemy, the war ignited the deepest fears of Chesapeake slaveholders. It also alienated Virginians from a national government that had neglected their defense. Instead they turned south, their interests aligning more and more with their section. In 1820 Thomas Jefferson observed of sectionalism: Like a firebell in the night [it] awakened and filled me with terror. I considered it at once the knell of the union. The notes of alarm in Jefferson s comment speak of the fear aroused by the recent crisis over slavery in his home state. His vision of a cataclysm to come proved prescient. Jefferson s startling observation registered a turn in the nation s course, a pivot from the national purpose of the founding toward the threat of disunion. Drawn from new sources, Alan Taylor s riveting narrative re-creates the events that inspired black Virginians, haunted slaveholders, and set the nation on a new and dangerous course. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780393349733

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Book Description WW Norton Co, United States, 2014. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. Frederick Douglass recalled that slaves living along Chesapeake Bay longingly viewed sailing ships as freedom s swift-winged angels. In 1813 those angels appeared in the bay as British warships coming to punish the Americans for declaring war on the empire. Over many nights, hundreds of slaves paddled out to the warships seeking protection for their families from the ravages of slavery. The runaways pressured the British admirals into becoming liberators. As guides, pilots, sailors, and marines, the former slaves used their intimate knowledge of the countryside to transform the war. They enabled the British to escalate their onshore attacks and to capture and burn Washington, D.C. Tidewater masters had long dreaded their slaves as an internal enemy. By mobilizing that enemy, the war ignited the deepest fears of Chesapeake slaveholders. It also alienated Virginians from a national government that had neglected their defense. Instead they turned south, their interests aligning more and more with their section. In 1820 Thomas Jefferson observed of sectionalism: Like a firebell in the night [it] awakened and filled me with terror. I considered it at once the knell of the union. The notes of alarm in Jefferson s comment speak of the fear aroused by the recent crisis over slavery in his home state. His vision of a cataclysm to come proved prescient. Jefferson s startling observation registered a turn in the nation s course, a pivot from the national purpose of the founding toward the threat of disunion. Drawn from new sources, Alan Taylor s riveting narrative re-creates the events that inspired black Virginians, haunted slaveholders, and set the nation on a new and dangerous course. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780393349733

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Book Description WW Norton Co, United States, 2014. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Frederick Douglass recalled that slaves living along Chesapeake Bay longingly viewed sailing ships as freedom s swift-winged angels. In 1813 those angels appeared in the bay as British warships coming to punish the Americans for declaring war on the empire. Over many nights, hundreds of slaves paddled out to the warships seeking protection for their families from the ravages of slavery. The runaways pressured the British admirals into becoming liberators. As guides, pilots, sailors, and marines, the former slaves used their intimate knowledge of the countryside to transform the war. They enabled the British to escalate their onshore attacks and to capture and burn Washington, D.C. Tidewater masters had long dreaded their slaves as an internal enemy. By mobilizing that enemy, the war ignited the deepest fears of Chesapeake slaveholders. It also alienated Virginians from a national government that had neglected their defense. Instead they turned south, their interests aligning more and more with their section. In 1820 Thomas Jefferson observed of sectionalism: Like a firebell in the night [it] awakened and filled me with terror. I considered it at once the knell of the union. The notes of alarm in Jefferson s comment speak of the fear aroused by the recent crisis over slavery in his home state. His vision of a cataclysm to come proved prescient. Jefferson s startling observation registered a turn in the nation s course, a pivot from the national purpose of the founding toward the threat of disunion. Drawn from new sources, Alan Taylor s riveting narrative re-creates the events that inspired black Virginians, haunted slaveholders, and set the nation on a new and dangerous course. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780393349733

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