The Rivals: William Gwin, David Broderick, and the Birth of California

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9780803288515: The Rivals: William Gwin, David Broderick, and the Birth of California

“This is the story of two men—of how they achieved great power and how through their implacable rivalry they destroyed each other,” writes Arthur Quinn. Anticipating California’s admission to the union, both came to the state in 1849 seeking a seat in the U.S. Senate. William McKendree Gwin, an aristocratic Southerner, and David Broderick, a veteran of the bare-knuckle politics of New York, struggled for control of California’s Democratic Party during the 1850s. Their feud, personal as well as political, ended in violent death for one and disgrace for the other.

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About the Author:

Arthur Quinn is the author of numerous books including Hell with the Fire Out: A History of the Modoc War.

From Library Journal:

Unlike most political histories of the antebellum period, this work does not focus on events in the eastern United States. Instead, it examines the slave-free soil struggle in California through the eyes of two of the young state's prominent public figures and rivals, who each went west to seek his political and financial fortunes. William Gwin was an aristocratic Mississippi planter with a dubious past, and David Broderick was a veteran of the bareknuckle politics of New York City. Each sought and obtained a seat in the U.S. Senate, but their conflicting views spilled over into personal animosity that led to Broderick's death in an illegal duel and Gwin's subsequent dishonor. Quinn (Broken Shore, Redwood Pr., 1987) presents more than a well-crafted tale of two rivals; he works in the dual contexts of a state in the making and a nation breaking apart as the Civil War looms closer. A balanced work for history collections.
Daniel Liestman, Seattle Pacific Univ. Lib.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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