The American Party Battle: Election Campaign Pamphlets, 1828-1876
Joel H. Silbey (Editor)
Harvard University Press
August 31, 1999
6.37 X 9.19 X 0.88 inches | 0.01 pounds
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About the Author
Joel H. Silbey is President White Professor of History, Cornell University.
Silbey's preface, introduction and head notes are excellent. In accordance with his previous work, Silbey is emphasizing campaign rhetoric while politicians work up issues both substantive and circumstantial as they seek to persuade the electorate that their particular position on affairs of state is the correct one. In making their case, they describe their achievements and their goals in positive terms while they view the opposition negatively. One would expect this dialogue to prevail in a heated political campaign, but the style of the argument and the facts presented give major clues to the state of the society at any given time. Thus the pamphlets serve as a useful probe to a better understanding of the basic tensions that were developing in American culture that led to the Civil War and the ensuing Reconstruction. Silbey has made a good selection of pamphlets to reflect the partisan mood over nearly fifty years of contention or, as he puts it in one of his topical heads, 'the culmination of the battle for the soul of America.'