Book cover of This Vast Southern Empire: Slaveholders at the Helm of American Foreign Policy by Matthew Karpby Matthew Karp

When the United States emerged as a world power in the years before the Civil War, the men who presided over the nation’s triumphant territorial and economic expansion were largely southern slaveholders. As presidents, cabinet officers, and diplomats, slaveholding leaders controlled the main levers of foreign policy inside an increasingly powerful American state. This Vast Southern Empire explores the international vision and strategic operations of these southerners at the commanding heights of American politics.

For proslavery leaders like John C. Calhoun and Jefferson Davis, the nineteenth-century world was torn between two hostile forces: a rising movement against bondage, and an Atlantic plantation system that was larger and more productive than ever before. In this great struggle, southern statesmen saw the United States as slavery’s most powerful champion. 

Interview with the Author

Podcast Art for the New Book NetworkNew Books Network
Matthew Karp, “This Vast Southern Empire: Slaveholders at The Helm of American Foreign Policy” (Harvard UP, 2016)
5/14/18       67 min

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2/23/18        50 min

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1/1/18        42 min

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