Prevailing explanations of the US secession crisis trace the latter’s origins to slavery and slaveowners’ interests. The central problem with all such explanations, however, is that the Whig Party, the party of the largest slaveowners, opposed secession until the mid-1850s. Why did southern Whigs and their planter base resist secession through the political crisis over slavery only to fold by 1861? Drawing on archival electoral returns by precinct, party newspapers, speeches, and personal correspondence from antebellum Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, I argue for an institutional and sequential approach to the secession crisis that does not take social actors’ individual interests as given, but rather as naturalized and denaturalized in the back and forth struggle of political parties to advance competing solutions to the problem of preserving slavery.
de Leon, C. (2019), "The Unbroken South: Political Parties and the Articulation of White Supremacy", Race, Organizations, and the Organizing Process (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 60), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 49-68. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0733-558X20190000060004Download as .RIS
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