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This book describes the impact of the American Civil War on the development of central state authority in the late nineteenth century. The author contends that intense competition for control of the national political economy between the free North and slave South produced secession, which in turn spawned the formation of two new states, a market-oriented northern Union and a southern Confederacy in which government controls on the economy were much more important. During the Civil War, the American state both expanded and became the agent of northern economic development. After the war ended, however, tension within the Republican coalition led to the abandonment of Reconstruction and to the return of former Confederates to political power throughout the South. As a result, American state expansion ground to a halt during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This book makes a major contribution to the understanding of the causes and consequences of the Civil War and the legacy of the war in the twentieth century.
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Contending that intense competition for national political economy control produced secession, this study describes the impact of the American Civil War upon the late nineteenth century development of central state authority.Review:
"Bensel's work is impressive because he keeps his eye on the interrelationship of two broad issues: state formation and political economy. These issues are now at the forefront of the best new writing on the history of American politics, and Bensel's manuscript definitely marks a step forward for a discussion now associated with the writings of Skocpol, Skowronek and others...The reader comes away from the book with a deepened understanding of how political structures evolved during the Civil War era, and how this evolution was related both to class relations and broad issues of political economy." Eric Foner, Columbia University
"Bensel's perspective on the political economy of sectionalism seems inexhaustible as a source of fresh insight into the struggles of the Civil War era. In Yankee Leviathan, the irresistable conflict of the 1850s is not simply resolved in the North's favor, it is transposed into the structure and operations of new state formation." Stephen Skowronek, Yale University
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