Apostle of Union

A Political Biography of Edward Everett

By Matthew Mason

448 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 8 halftones, appends., notes, bibl., index

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-2860-8
    Published: September 2016
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-2861-5
    Published: September 2016

Civil War America

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Known today as “the other speaker at Gettysburg,” Edward Everett had a distinguished and illustrative career at every level of American politics from the 1820s through the Civil War. In this new biography, Matthew Mason argues that Everett’s extraordinarily well-documented career reveals a complex man whose shifting political opinions, especially on the topic of slavery, illuminate the nuances of Northern Unionism. In the case of Everett--who once pledged to march south to aid slaveholders in putting down slave insurrections--Mason explores just how complex the question of slavery was for most Northerners, who considered slavery within a larger context of competing priorities that alternately furthered or hindered antislavery actions.

By charting Everett’s changing stance toward slavery over time, Mason sheds new light on antebellum conservative politics, the complexities of slavery and its related issues for reform-minded Americans, and the ways in which secession turned into civil war. As Mason demonstrates, Everett’s political and cultural efforts to preserve the Union, and the response to his work from citizens and politicians, help us see the coming of the Civil War as a three-sided, not just two-sided, contest.

About the Author

Matthew Mason is associate professor of history at Brigham Young University.
For more information about Matthew Mason, visit the Author Page.

Reviews

"[An] eloquent biography. . . . A solid choice for American history buffs and those with a penchant for politics in the antebellum era."--Library Journal starred review

“Explores in full Everett’s life in politics, with special concentration on his stances on weighty national issues related to slavery and Union.”--Civil War Books and Authors

“Highly recommended for both a general and an academic audience.”--Gettysburg Magazine

“Decisively restores the political significance of Everett. . . . Political historians and scholars of culture and nationalism will learn much from this superbly crafted, intensely researched, engagingly written, and thoughtful book.”--Journal of American History

“Brings Everett back into focus with the fullest political biography of Everett since 1925.”--Journal of Southern History

“Anyone who thinks traditional political history is dead should read Matthew Mason’s magnificent biography of Edward Everett. Deeply researched and skillfully written."--New England Quarterly