352 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 4 halftones, notes, bibl., index
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-5639-7
Published: April 2020
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-5640-3
Published: February 2020
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Operating on personal, partisan, and national levels, Woods traces the deep roots of Democrats' internal strife, with fault lines drawn around fundamental questions of property rights and majority rule. Neither belief in white supremacy nor expansionist zeal could reconcile Douglas and Davis's factions as their constituents formed their own lines in the proverbial soil of westward expansion. The first major reinterpretation of the Democratic Party's internal schism in more than a generation, Arguing until Doomsday shows how two leading antebellum politicians ultimately shattered their party and hastened the coming of the Civil War.
About the Author
Michael E. Woods is associate professor of history at the University of Tennessee and director of the Papers of Andrew Jackson project.
For more information about Michael E. Woods, visit the Author Page.
"Speaks to the internal tensions within party organizations, the blinding force of ambition, and the ways distrust of democratic processes and institutions can destroy democracy itself. In that, it is a book for our time."--Library Journal
“Even readers who find the Civil War or politics boring could find this well-written narrative gripping. It helps especially now for readers needing to escape the present. All this solid but entertaining history really lacks for is background music.”--New York Journal of Books
"Vividly portraying the political and personal rivalry between Stephen Douglas and Jefferson Davis, Arguing until Doomsday paints a clear picture of the inner workings of the Democratic Party before and during the Civil War. Penning a history that crosses sectional and ideological lines, Michael E. Woods provides a blueprint for understanding American politics in this era."--Rachel A. Shelden, author of Washington Brotherhood: Politics, Social Life, and the Coming of the Civil War
"Today, we remember Stephen Douglas as Abraham Lincoln’s Illinois rival. But this fine book juxtaposes Douglas, the quintessential western promoter, against Mississippi’s Jefferson Davis, champion of the proslavery South. Their epic clash, expertly narrated by Michael E. Woods, ruptured the Democratic Party and set the stage for civil war."--Daniel W. Crofts, author of Lincoln and the Politics of Slavery: The Other Thirteenth Amendment and the Struggle to Save the Union
"This extraordinarily well-researched, clearly argued, and well-written book reaps many dividends from placing Douglas and Davis in contentious conversation. Woods’s nuanced treatment of the Democratic Party as a dynamic and troubled coalition offers a valuable corrective, and his joint biographical treatment reveals the longer-term context for the well-known debates of the Civil War era."--Matthew Mason, author of Apostle of Union: A Political Biography of Edward Everett