The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, July 1967 - April, 1968

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

of the volume is a collection of basic information concerning the roll-
call responses employed, source material which should be of enormous
value to other historians working in the period.
Although dividends will be reaped from Professor Alexander's study
for years to come, the immediate result is to confirm the importance
of sectional stress in Congress in the two decades preceding the Civil
War. So long as the slavery question could be held in the background,
both major parties could maintain a high level of cohesion and inter-
sectional comity, but consistently throughout the period the interjec-
tion of the slavery issue forced party loyalties to take a back seat
to sectional interests. "Little evidence exists in the sequence of
scalograms or in the profiles of agreement scores," writes Professor
Alexander, "that the people of any section of the country, or their
representatives in Congress, substantially altered their views on slavery
during these years." Alexander's investigations would seem to indi-
cate that as early as the late 183o's civil strife could be avoided only
by unusually able political leadership. That such leadership was
lacking is made abundantly clear by the events of the 185o's and
186o's.
Lamar State College RALPH A. WOOSTER
William Henry Seward. By Glyndon G. Van Deusen. New York
(Oxford University Press), 1967. Pp. xi+666. Illustrations,
bibliography, index. $12.50.
William H. Seward, truly "an extraordinary man" (p. ix), must
have presented an inviting opportunity and a serious challenge to his
biographer. The attractiveness of the opportunity stemmed from the
scope and richness of the sources available for a much needed study
that no modern scholar had undertaken. The challenge lay in the
complex nature of the man to be examined, in the many ramifications
of his long political career, and in the existence of a tremendous
volume of documentary materials, private and public, from which
to gather information.
A man of wide-ranging interests, Seward was a highly successful
lawyer, an author, world traveler, reformer, politician, and, in his
handling of foreign affairs during the Civil War, a statesman. He
was fascinated by politics and, with the help of the master manipu-
lator, Thurlow Weed, rose to power in the political sphere through

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, July 1967 - April, 1968. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117145/. Accessed August 28, 2014.