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Webster's Seventh of March Speech and the Secession Movement, 1850   By: (1863-1927)

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Webster's Seventh of March Speech and the Secession Movement, 1850 by Herbert Darling Foster offers readers a deep dive into one of the most significant speeches in American history. Foster meticulously dissects and analyzes Daniel Webster's famous address, delivered on March 7, 1850, which played a pivotal role in shaping the course of the nation during a tumultuous period.

One of the key strengths of this book is Foster's ability to provide historical context, setting the stage for understanding the political landscape of the time. He explores the debates surrounding slavery, states' rights, and the Union, presenting a comprehensive picture of the issues that fueled the secession movement in the mid-19th century.

Foster's prose is precise and scholarly, making the book accessible to both scholars and general readers interested in the subject matter. He expertly breaks down Webster's speech, examining its structure and rhetorical devices, offering valuable insights into the oratory skills and political strategies employed by the renowned senator.

Furthermore, Foster scrutinizes the impact of Webster's speech on the secession movement, shedding light on the perspectives and reactions of various key figures. He examines how Webster's stance on the Compromise of 1850, particularly his emphasis on preserving the Union, influenced the course of events leading up to the Civil War.

Moreover, Foster's extensive research is evident throughout the book. He includes a wide range of primary sources, such as letters, speeches, and historical documents, which enrich the narrative and provide readers with a more holistic understanding of the time period.

While Foster's work is undoubtedly comprehensive and thorough, some readers may find the level of detail overwhelming. The book presupposes a basic understanding of American history, and those seeking a more introductory exploration of the topic may need to consult additional resources.

In conclusion, Webster's Seventh of March Speech and the Secession Movement, 1850 is a captivating and insightful examination of a crucial moment in American history. Herbert Darling Foster's scholarly approach and meticulous analysis make this book an indispensable resource for anyone interested in understanding the complex dynamics that ultimately led to the division of the Union.

First Page:



By Herbert Darling Foster

With foreword by Nathaniel Wright Stephenson

American Historical Review Vol. XXVII., No. 2

January, 1922


It is very curious that much of the history of the United States in the Forties and Fifties of the last century has vanished from the general memory. When a skilled historian reopens the study of Webster's "Seventh of March speech" it is more than likely that nine out of ten Americans will have to cudgel their wits endeavoring to make quite sure just where among our political adventures that famous oration fits in. How many of us could pass a satisfactory examination on the antecedent train of events the introduction in Congress of that Wilmot Proviso designed to make free soil of all the territory to be acquired in the Mexican War; the instant and bitter reaction of the South; the various demands for some sort of partition of the conquered area between the sections, between slave labor and free labor; the unforeseen intrusion of the gold seekers of California in 1849, and their unauthorized formation of a new state based on free labor; the flaming up of Southern alarm, due not to one cause but to many, chiefly to the obvious fact that the free states were acquiring preponderance in Congress; the southern threats of secession; the fury of the Abolitionists demanding no concessions to the South, come what might; and then, just when a rupture seemed inevitable, when Northern extremists and Southern extremists seemed about to snatch control of their sections, Webster's bold play to the moderates on both sides, his scheme of compromise, announced in that famous speech on the seventh of March, 1850?

Most people are still aware that Webster was harshly criticized for making that speech... Continue reading book >>

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