Letters and Politics

Fugitive Slaves and the Struggle for America’s Soul From the Revolution to the Civil War

For decades after its founding, America was really two nations–one slave, one free. There were many reasons why this composite nation ultimately broke apart, but the fact that enslaved black people repeatedly risked their lives to flee their masters in the South in search of freedom in the North proved that the “united” states was actually a lie. We talk about the history and role of the fugitive slaves with professor Andrew Delbanco author of the book The War Before the War: Fugitive Slaves and the Struggle for America’s Soul from the Revolution to the Civil War.

Guest: Andrew Delbanco is the Alexander Hamilton Professor of American Studies at Columbia University.  Author of many books including The Real American Dream, and The Puritan Ordeal.

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