Henry Clay, Stephen A. Douglas,
and the Compromise That Preserved the Union
By Fergus M. Bordewich
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2012, 398 pp.
Reviewed by Publishers Weekly
Outraged Southern leaders refused to accept this, paralyzing Congress for months. A compromise designed by an aged Henry Clay failed, but was quickly revived and passed thanks largely to Stephen Douglas. It admitted California as a free state, put off the status of the remaining territory, and strengthened the fugitive slave law. Despite narrow passage and wildly abusive debate, it was a dazzling achievement that temporarily staved off civil war. Political history is often a hard slog, but not in Bordewich's gripping, vigorous account featuring a large cast of unforgettable characters with fierce beliefs.
Fergus Bordewich is a member of the Civil War Round Table of the District of Columbia (cwrtdc.org). His other books include America’s Great Debate: Henry Clay, Stephen A. Douglas, and the Compromise That Preserved the Union and Bound for Canaan: The Underground Railroad and the War for the Soul of America.