The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 16, July 1912 - April, 1913

The Southwestern Historical Quarterly

BOOK REVIEWS
Statesmen of the Old South, or From Radicalism to Conservative
Revolt. By William E. Dodd, Ph. D., Professor of American
History in the University of Chicago. (New York: The Mac-
millan Company, 1911. Pp., 235.)
The substance of these studies of Jefferson, Calhoun, and Davis
was originally presented, the author tells us, in the form of popular
lectures. The sub-title indicates the general trend of the book.
Jefferson, the idealist, the organizer of a political party which
refused to adopt his political philosophy, except in part, was
succeeded by Calhoun, the nationalist, who was forced by circum-
stances into a particularist attitude; and Calhoun, in turn, was
succeeded by Jefferson Davis, who was identified by earliest
environment with the cotton planting and slavery interests of the
lower South. These interests were now on the defensive, and
therefore gathered about them all the forces of social and consti-
tutional conservatism, just as the great corporate interests of our
own day have done.
The author constantly keeps in view the influence of the West,
of the frontier, of which in a sense all three men were products,
and his comments on this influence are always illuminating. We
cannot always agree with his conclusions, as, for instance, those
on the nature of the development of pro-slavery sentiment during
the twenty years following Jefferson's retirement from the presi-
dency. It would seem, in this case, that Professor Dodd does not
sufficiently appreciate the powerful economic forces that impelled
the South to the extension of cotton planting and its accompani-
ment, negro slavery. The author points out that the breakdown
of the early alliance between the South and West, due partly to
Clay's "American system," partly to Jackson's dickering for
eastern support after his break with Calhoun, was what first forced
the South into a particularist attitude. Calhoun's rupture with
Jackson he regards as a fatal thing both for the great South
Carolinian and for the South; for it drove Calhoun, who in the
nullification episode had been striving to hold his state in check,
back upon the necessity of consolidating the South upon the pro-

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 16, July 1912 - April, 1913. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101058/. Accessed December 28, 2014.