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The Long Emancipation : the Demise of Slavery in the United States (Nathan I Huggins lectures)

by Berlin, Ira, 1941- (Author)

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Perhaps no event in American history arouses more impassioned debate than the abolition of slavery. Answers to basic questions about who ended slavery, how, and why remain fiercely contested more than a century and a half after the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment. In The Long Emancipation, Ira B... Full description

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Summary: Perhaps no event in American history arouses more impassioned debate than the abolition of slavery. Answers to basic questions about who ended slavery, how, and why remain fiercely contested more than a century and a half after the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment. In The Long Emancipation, Ira Berlin draws upon decades of study to offer a framework for understanding slavery's demise in the United States. Freedom was not achieved in a moment, and emancipation was not an occasion but a near-century-long process - a shifting but persistent struggle that involved thousands of men and women. Berlin teases out the distinct characteristics of emancipation, weaving them into a larger narrative of the meaning of American freedom. The most important factor was the will to survive and the enduring resistance of enslaved black people themselves. In striving for emancipation, they were also the first to raise the crucial question of their future status. If they were no longer slaves, what would they be? African Americans provided the answer, drawing on ideals articulated in the Declaration of Independence and precepts of evangelical Christianity. Freedom was their inalienable right in a post-slavery society, for nothing seemed more natural to people of color than the idea that all Americans should be equal. African Americans were not naive about the price of their idealism. Just as slavery was an institution initiated and maintained by violence, undoing slavery also required violence. Freedom could be achieved only through generations of long and brutal struggle.
Physical Description: 227 pages ; 19 cm.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN: 9780674286085
0674286081
Author Notes: Ira Berlin was born in New York City on May 27, 1941. He received a bachelor of science degree in chemistry in 1963, a master's degree in history in 1966, and a Ph.D. in history in 1970, all from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle and Federal City College in Washington before becoming a professor at the University of Maryland in 1974.

He wrote numerous books including Slaves Without Masters: The Free Negro in the Antebellum South, Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America, and The Long Emancipation: The Demise of Slavery in the United States. He also edited several books including Remembering Slavery: African Americans Talk About Their Personal Experiences of Slavery and Emancipation with Marc Favreau and Steven F. Miller. He died from complications of multiple myeloma on June 5, 2018 at the age of 77.

(Bowker Author Biography)

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