Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Border War by Stanley Harrold

Reading about the extent that people went through in order to maintain slavery, and reading about the lengths that people went through to end slavery was both disturbing and liberating. It was disturbing that many people did not see humans who were turned into slaves as human and wanted to use them to economically prosper the country and liberating because it is good to know that there was so much fuss about humans who were turned into slaves.

"Harrold defines the border as nineteenth-century contemporaries did, encompassing Missouri, Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware in what he calls the “Border South,” and New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa in what he terms the “Lower North” (p. xi). He describes the borderland more generally as a site where “contrasting economic, political, and cultural forces compete, interact, and clash. They are most volatile when residents on each side of the border may easily pass to the other” (p. 2). Contrary to Michael Holt’s assertion that controversies over the peculiar institution had not led to violence, this book focuses on the violent clashes that occurred in this region. The border struggle may not have reached the proportion of full-scale, organized warfare, but it was a protracted quarrel arising from the tension between free and slave societies existing in close quarters.” (

I absolutely love John Brown, and after I read James McBride's historically fiction novel The Good Lord Bird I fell more in love with John Brown. It was surprising to read in Border War that John Brown and his raid at Harper's Ferry escalated already heighten tension over slavery and basically put the fire under the movement toward the beginning of The Civil War. And, at Fort Sumter, South Carolina on April 12, 1861 The Civil War began... HALLELUJAH!!!!!!!

This is a book that reads more like a textbook, and it took quite awhile to get through it. Not that it was not a good read, but it was dense with information, and my brain was forced to actively engage the entire time.

In the times that we are living in with much ado about the Confederate flag, it may be helpful to read books like Border War to understand the history of the Confederate flag and be able to put it in its proper context.

The more that I read about what led up to The Civil War, the more excited I get, and I CAN’T WAIT to spend three weeks discussing, learning, and exploring Abolitionism and the Underground Railroad... with other teachers and the great Dr. Graham Hodges.

Tonight, I am going to start reading Heart Beating for Liberty: Women Abolitionist in the Old Northwest by Stacey M. Robertson.

Happy Summer, My People!

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