The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 17, July 1913 - April, 1914 Page: 428
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428 The Southwestern Historica.l Quarterly
BOOK REVIEWS AND NOTICES.
The Life of Robert Toombs, by Ulrich Bonnell Phillips, Ph. D.,
Professor of American History in the University of Michigan.
(New York: The Macmillan Company, 1913. Pp. xi., 281. $2.00.)
A good life of Robert Toombs has long been needed, partly be-
cause too. little has been known of the man who, from the death of
Calhoun to 1860, was the foremost representative of southern in-
terests in Congress, and partly because a study of his career reveals
so much of interest to the student of the ante-bellum conditions
and problems of the South. It is, therefore, gratifying that the
task of revealing Toombs has been undertaken by one so competent
as Professor Phillips. Disclaiming any leaning toward hero-
worship, Professor Phillips has endeavored "to use the career of
Toombs as a, central theme in describing the successive problems
which the people of Georgia and the South confronted and the
policies which they followed in their efforts at solving them."
Beginning with a brief but interesting account of conditions in
"Middle Georgia" in the early nineteenth century, the author
traces Toombs's early career through college, the beginnings of
his law practice, and his entry into politics as a Whig member of
the state legislature, where he became conspicuous as a leader who
was more concerned with sound policy than with party advantage.
The chapter entitled "A Southern Whig in Congress" contains a
most excellent account of the difficult position of the party which
stood as the champion of the planting interest when Toombs be-
came a member of Congress in 1844. The next four chapters-
"The Proviso Crisis and the Compromise of 1850," "The Georgia
Platform," "A Senator in the Fifties," and "Toombs on the Slave-
holding Regime"-caxry us to 1860. These chapters set forth
clearly the very conspicuous part taken by Toombs in bngress and
in the affairs of his state during this momentous period, and they
also reveal the true quality of the man. The popular estimate of
Toombs at that time and afterwards would hardly include conserva-
tism as one of his marked characteristics, yet Professor Phillips has
shown that, fundamentally, the great Georgia tribune was con-
servative. It was the natural result of his habit of looking carefully
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 17, July 1913 - April, 1914, periodical, 1914; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101061/m1/435/: accessed April 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.