Land, labor, and freedom are among the major issues detailed in the American history. Foner dwelled on these aspects to discuss modern realities such as employment, gender, economic developments, and political evolutions. The most important point that the book asserts is that the American Civil was caused by several events. Most historians point at the slavery at the North as the main catalyst. But Foner provides a picture that determines various reasons of the war that are beyond slavery. The need for freedom, employment, and free soil aggravated the developing conflict between the North and the South.
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Politics was indeed as major contributor to the war. During that time, the Republican Party was starting to manifest its power. Before the party was established, there were different ideologies brought by various members. Each belief pushed the group towards the creation of the Party. These ideologies were vital in electing Abraham Lincoln to become U.S. President. Moreover, the ideologies push the Republicans towards Civil War. The clamor for the end of slavery is evident. But there are doubts as to the capacity of the regions to develop once these slaves are freed.
Free men were only limited to businessmen and farmers because of their capacity to make decisions. Most men are wage earners and controlled by their employers. After the civil war, the guarantee of freedom, land, and employment remained promises. This was evident among the Blacks who suffered a great deal of discrimination. Until today, there are instances when freedom is curtailed and land and employment are still elusive.
There were several good points that Foner (2005) made in the book. Foner made a good account of the Civil War and the deemed cause of it. Although it is logical to focus on slavery, Foner decided to make a stretch. In that exploration, it was revealed the Civil War was caused by events and issues. There is a factual accuracy in the process in which the personalities and ideals were presented. Foner made a good impression at the start and sustained that initial reaction with arguments and evidences. The language used by Foner fits the current readers’ preference when accounting historical events.
Foner emphasized on the formation of the Republican Party. Moreover, Foner linked the Party’s development to the budding conflict. It is true that the Party is composed of diverse ideas and people. These differences in ideals and beliefs sum up the party known as Republicans. In addition, the Republicans were critical figures during the Civil War. Its anchor, Abraham Lincoln is viewed as one of the most important leaders of the North. The contrasting ideologies being maintained by the Republicans triggered the war.
The promise of free soil, jobs, and independence has yet to go full circle. This means that the prevalence of poverty, discrimination, and homelessness are observed. There were several significant changes that happened between the periods of the Civil War and the current era. Foner, however, underlines the events that remained existent. At present, the U.S. is led by the Republican President. Perhaps the ideologies that were passed through the years are intact. No wonder the U.S. is in an unending war.
Foner, E., (2005), Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Part before the Civil War, New York: Oxford University Press.