It is not everyday that a 1000-page volume can find its way into a paperback version. Capitalizing on the commercial success of the publication, the University Press of Florida has issued a softcover version of The Denmark Vesey Affair: A Documentary History by Douglas R. Egerton and Robert L. Paquette. Egerton, a historian at Le Moyne College, and Paquette, President of The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI), describe their effort as an “exhaustive effort to reproduce and interpret all documents relevant to the Denmark Vesey affair.”
In 1822, Denmark Vesey, a freed black, allegedly masterminded a conspiracy that brought slaves in and around Charleston, South Carolina, into his ambit. Years went into the planning of the plot, which was betrayed by the slave of a wealthy planter. Two courts of magistrates and freeholders listened to evidence. Before their work was done, it had sentenced Vesey and thirty-four slaves to be hanged.
The Vesey plot had a momentous impact on the history of South Carolina and, indeed, the nation. South Carolina’s internal politics were reshaped in light of the event. Where once Charleston’s gentry had adopted the neo-Federalist orientation, they moved firmly into a states’ rights position after the Vesey affair. John Calhoun, among many others, flipped in the process. In a matter of 25 years, South Carolina would bring along ten other states into secession. As Egerton and Paquette maintain, “If the course of the South to secession can be encapsulated by the extension of South Carolina’s proslavery, states’ rights principles to the other slaveholding states, then the events set in motion by Vesey and his followers played a crucial role in shaping South Carolina’s political principles on the road to disunion.”
Choice had named Egerton’s and Paquette’s book an “Outstanding Academic Title” in 2017. Order now and use code AU822 at checkout, or order by phone, 800.226.3822. The discount is valid until August 31, 2022.
“Aims to prove that even if the revolt itself didn’t actually happen, the plot did exist, and that it was the most sophisticated collective plot against slavery in the U.S.”—Time
“A truly invaluable collocation of documents. Highly Recommended.”—Choice
“Presents a panoply of documents pertinent to the Vesey conspiracy’s origins, unraveling, and aftermath [and] . . . will provide specialists and lay readers alike with the tools they need to think critically about Denmark Vesey and his milieu.”—H-Net
“This is the most comprehensive collection of source materials related to Denmark Vesey ever assembled. . . . An exhaustively researched volume that will prove indispensable to historians of slavery in the United States.”—Slavery and Abolition
“A monumental achievement. . . . Essential reading for understanding not just race and slavery but also the entirety of the nineteenth-century Atlantic world.”—Journal of the Early Republic
“A major contribution to the study of not only the Denmark Vesey conspiracy but also how white people from both the North and the South responded to possibility of racial violence. . . . This book will be one that all scholars of this era will want to have on their shelves.”—Journal of Southern History