The Slave's Cause A History of Abolition Manisha Sinha

Format:
Paperback
Publication date:
04 Apr 2017
ISBN:
9780300227116
Imprint:
Yale University Press
Dimensions:
784 pages: 235 x 156mm
Illustrations:
66 b-w illus.

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Winner of the 2017 Frederick Douglass Prize

A groundbreaking history of abolition that recovers the largely forgotten role of African Americans in the long march toward emancipation from the American Revolution through the Civil War


Received historical wisdom casts abolitionists as bourgeois, mostly white reformers burdened by racial paternalism and economic conservatism. Manisha Sinha overturns this image, broadening her scope beyond the antebellum period usually associated with abolitionism and recasting it as a radical social movement in which men and women, black and white, free and enslaved found common ground in causes ranging from feminism and utopian socialism to anti-imperialism and efforts to defend the rights of labor. Drawing on extensive archival research, including newly discovered letters and pamphlets, Sinha documents the influence of the Haitian Revolution and the centrality of slave resistance in shaping the ideology and tactics of abolition. This book is a comprehensive new history of the abolition movement in a transnational context. It illustrates how the abolitionist vision ultimately linked the slave’s cause to the struggle to redefine American democracy and human rights across the globe.

Honors include:
  • Longlist title for the 2016 National Book Awards Nonfiction category
  • Winner of the 2017 Best Book Prize by the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic
  • Winner of the 2016 Avery O. Craven Award given by the Organization of American Historians
  • Honorable Mention in the U.S. History category for the 2017 American Publishers Awards for Professional & Scholarly Excellence (PROSE)
  • Winner of the 2017 Frederick Douglass Book Prize, jointly sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at the MacMillan Center at Yale University
  • 2017 James A. Rawley Award for the Best Book on Secession and the Sectional Crisis published in the last two years, Southern Historical Association

Manisha Sinha is Draper Chair in American History at the University of Connecticut, and is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, among several others.

"It is difficult to imagine a more comprehensive history of the abolitionist movement. . . . [Sinha] has given us a full history of the men and women who truly made us free."—Ira Berlin, New York Times Book Review


"Lucidly written, compellingly argued and based on exhaustive scholarship, The Slave's Cause captures the myriad aspects of this diverse and far-ranging movement and will deservedly take its place alongside the equally magisterial works of Ira Berlin on slavery and Eric Foner on the Reconstruction Era. Ms. Sinha seems to have read just about everything ever written on the subject of antislavery, including diaries, broadsides, speeches and legal arguments by the famous and the obscure alike. It is a measure of her command of the material that even as she leads us through the deepest thickets of antebellum polemics she is rarely dull."—Fergus Bordewich, Wall Street Journal


"A powerfully unfamiliar look at the struggle to end slavery in the United States. . . . The Slave's Cause is as multifaceted as the movement it chronicles."—Matthew Price, Boston Globe


"A stunning new history of abolitionism. . . . Placing abolitionism in its international context is just one of the great strengths of The Slave’s Cause. . . . [Sinha] plugs abolitionism back into the history of anticapitalist protest."—Adam Rothman, Atlantic


"This well-written and accessible book has many strengths, but Sinha’s able deployment of so many sources makes it outstanding."—Olivette Otele, Times Higher Education


"Rich and comprehensive."—Stephanie McCurry, Nation


"[A] prodigious work of scholarship. . . . Manisha Sinha has cemented in place the last stone in the scholarly edifice of the past half century that has rehabilitated the abolitionists’ reputation."—James M. McPherson, New York Review of Books


"A powerful, ambitious  work of scholarship. The research is extraordinary. . . . Her prose is also careful and often elegant, her argument bold. . . . Sinha offers us a glimpse of a usable past: a diverse and inclusive story of abolitionism."—Ari Kelman, Times Literary Supplement


"Invites us to take a fresh look at the entire story. It’s an extraordinary story, which asks the reader to re-evaluate the very nature of abolition on both sides of the Atlantic. . . . It is shaped by historical imagination and anchored in extensive research, and will oblige future scholars to rethink the very nature of abolition itself."—James Walvin, BBC History Magazine


"The Slave’s Cause is valuable for a number of reasons. Primarily, it offers both the general reader and the specialist a literal catalogue of anti-slavery activities and their major writings — a who’s who of the movement."—Prof. Beverly Tomek, Reviews in History


Selected as a longlist title for the 2016 National Book Awards Nonfiction category


Won an Honorable Mention in the U.S. History category for the 2017 American Publishers Awards for Professional & Scholarly Excellence (PROSE)


Won the 2016 Avery O. Craven Award given by the Organization of American Historians


Winner of the 2017 Frederick Douglass Book Prize, awarded by the Gilder Lehrman Center


Winner of the 2017 Best Book Prize by the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic


"In emphasizing abolitionism’s long historical trajectory, its international perspective, and its interracial character, Sinha situates her story firmly within the most up-to-date trends in historical writing; and with her extensive research and broad command of the era, she has produced a work of high originality and broad popular appeal."—Eric Foner, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery


"A groundbreaking, brilliant book. The Slave’s Cause should be required reading for every scholar in the humanities and social sciences who is concerned with the American condition. It’s that important. No one does a better job describing how and why male and female, black and white abolitionists created the first civil rights movement."—John Stauffer, Harvard University


"A marvelous book long needed! Manisha Sinha’s The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition presents a revolutionary narrative that gives black activism long overdue acknowledgment. At the same time, Sinha erases needless color lines, revealing the comprehensive nature of abolitionism."—Nell Irvin Painter, author of The History of White People


"Beginning with the actions and arguments of enslaved people, Manisha Sinha masterfully reconstructs the evolution of this international, interracial movement to rescue humanity from a predatory and expansionist unfree empire."—Craig Steven Wilder, author of Ebony & Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities