Stanley Harrold: Prof examines role of border states in Civil War

Source: The Times and Democrat, 12-21-10

A South Carolina State University professor goes beyond the traditional understanding of the Civil War’s causes in his new book.

History professor Stanley Harrold explores the conflict and bloody violence over slavery in the border states in his latest book, “Border War” (University of North Carolina Press).

The author of seven previous books about the Civil War, Harrold offers documentation of incidents involving factions other than just pro- and anti-slavery forces.

“All of my books have dealt with the years leading up to the Civil War,” Harrold said. “These involved the abolitionist movement and the resulting conflict in the North-South border states.

“The usual assumption by most historians was the border region was conservative. That thinking held that it was the radical components in the upper North and the Deep South that pushed the country toward Civil War.”

Harrold contends the border states of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri were the tinderbox where people with varying views on slavery met face to face.

The book covers what Harrold says are two main phases to the border conflict.

“The first was, as time went by, the border slave states came to realize they needed to get slavery protection from the federal government,” Harrold said. “If they secede from the Union, they won’t be covered by federal laws allowing recovery of runaway slaves. That led them to stay with the Union.

“The second phase was the domino theory held by the Deep South. It held if slavery was weaker in the border states, then the next tier of states will fall, eventually pushing down to the Gulf of Mexico. Secession was the Deep South’s way to try and head off what it saw was that logical progression.”..READ MORE

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