Men like Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis thought deeply about issues of patriotism and states' rights, issues which remain of great importance today. Women and black Americans were also passionate in their beliefs. Harriet Beecher Stowe felt so strongly about slavery that she wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin. Frederick Douglass and Charlotte Forten Grimk, wrote of their abhorrence of slavery and the need to end that 'evil institution.' The lives of Southern women were also affected as they were forced to confront the issue of slavery and the Northern effort to end it. The voices of these men and women are heard in this new volume.
At this time the North and South made decisions that resulted in two very different civilizations-the South embraced slavery and states' rights, while the North rejected the expansion of slavery and accepted the idea of an indivisible Union. These pre-Civil War years contain the key to understanding how the war came to be and also enable students to comprehend the modern North and South.
Voices from the Gathering Storm is the only text that uses primary sources to illustrate the conflicts that divided the nation before the war. This use of primary sources allows students to enter more deeply into the lives of Northerners and Southerners and to understand and appreciate the way in which they responded to this tense period in American history. The author provides chapter introductions that connect the different excerpts so that readers will easily grasp the transitions that occurred in the 1840s and 1850s.