Wide Awake The Forgotten Force that Elected Lincoln and Spurred the Civil War

Jon Grinspan (Author)

Special Price $24.00 was $32.00

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Format: Book
Binding: hb
Pages: 352
Released: May 14, 2024
ISBN-13: 9781639730643

At the start of the 1860 presidential campaign, a handful of fired-up young Northerners appeared as bodyguards to defend anti-slavery stump speakers from frequent attacks. The group called themselves the Wide Awakes. Soon, hundreds of thousands of young white and Black men, and a number of women, were organizing boisterous, uniformed, torch-bearing brigades of their own. These Wide Awakes—mostly working-class Americans in their twenties—became one of the largest, most spectacular, and most influential political movements in our history. To some, it demonstrated the power of a rising majority to push back against slavery. To others, it looked like a paramilitary force training to invade the South. Within a year, the nation would be at war with itself, and many on both sides would point to the Wide Awakes as the mechanism that got them there.

In this gripping narrative, Smithsonian historian Jon Grinspan examines how exactly our nation crossed the threshold from a political campaign into a war. Wide Awake bears witness to the power of protest, the fight for majority rule, and the defense of free speech. At its core, Wide Awake illuminates a question American democracy keeps posing, about the precarious relationship between violent speech and violent actions.

AK press

Join the Friends of AK Press and
automatically receive every new book
we publish!

Join Today

GET EMAIL UPDATES

FOLLOW US