Stephen Symchych, University of Oxford, reviews Dinah Mayo-Bobee, New England Federalists: Widening the Sectional Divide in Jeffersonian America (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2017)
Professor Mayo-Bobee’s work offers a fresh perspective on a somewhat under-followed area. By analyzing Federalists’ radicalism as a response to Republican policies beginning with the Haiti crisis of 1805–6, she effectively allows a re-thinking of the path of dissent that reached its anti-climax after the Hartford Convention. In addition, she provides a framework for enhancing our understanding of the role of slavery in the sectional divisions that eventually led to secession and Civil War. By extending the narrative beyond the death of Federalism and before the first Embargo bill, she has left room for additional work to be done in the decades after 1815, as well as before the Jeffersonian ascent in 1800. For these reasons, New England Federalists will doubtless hold interest to scholars and students. Readers in search of a less-concentrated writing style may also find that her original dissertation, which is more expansively and clearly written, remains well worth a look.
This is an extract from a longer piece published in Reviews in History in May 2018. Read the original review in full here.