The War Before The War

How often do we hear it said that history repeats itself? And yet, we continue to make the same mistakes over and over. Or we allow our past mistakes to still effect our presence. Slavery, segregation, unequal rights, all have a negative impact on our society today. So. How did we get here?

The War Before The War, written by Andrew Delblanco follows the narrative of America’s biggest smear in history; slavery and the continued fight to keep slave states. With two parallel viewpoints to consider this epidemic throughout US history, the author delves into both the moral compromises and injustices made by our nation in a country that was divided in its belief of slavery and the direct outcome of slavery in America (i.e. the Compromise of 1850, FSA, etc.).

The Compromise of 1850 was apart of a package of five bills passed by Congress in 1850 that attempted to defuse tension between slave states and free states regarding certain territories acquired during the Mexican-American War. During this settlement with the territories, the Fugitive Slave Law was created. This law created a way for slave owners to gain back their escaped slaves. It required the return of slaves to their owners, even if they made it to a free state or territory at the dime of the federal government.

Delblanco takes this all a step further than timeline events, as the book looks beyond just the contradictions within the US Constitution and state laws. It examines the struggles of those trying to be freed and those who tried to aid them. This descriptive and captivating insight into what led to the Civil War is not just a great read for history buffs, but also a great read for every American to delve into the history of our country, how we faced this great injustice, and how it still effects us today.

The War Before the War focuses on the effect the Fugitive Slave Clause in the US Constitution had on American politics, economics, and culture from the Revolutionary War to the end of the Civil War. This book was an eye opening experience since it illuminated how complex the issue of slavery was for the fledgling nation. Instead of the oversimplified idea that some people thought slavery was good and others thought it was bad, the author discusses a wide range of point of views held by people all across America. Some abolitionist were not fighting to defend the African-American population but to support job opportunities for white men.