Guide The Black Hearts of Men: Radical Abolitionists and the Transformation of Race

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Who could imagine that Gerrit Smith, one of the richest men in the country, would give away his wealth to the poor and ally himself with Frederick Douglass, an ex-slave? And why would James McCune Smith, the most educated black man in the country, link arms with John Brown, a bankrupt entrepreneur, along with the others?

Distinguished by their interracial bonds, they shared a millennialist vision of a new world where everyone was free and equal. As the nation headed toward armed conflict, these men waged their own war by establishing model interracial communities, forming a new political party, and embracing violence.

Their revolutionary ethos bridged the divide between the sacred and the profane, black and white, masculine and feminine, and civilization and savagery that had long girded western culture. Distinguished by their interracial bonds, they shared a millennialist vision of a new world where everyone was free and equal.

As the nation headed toward armed conflict, these men waged their own war by establishing interracial communities, forming a new political party, and embracing violence. Their revolutionary ethos bridged the divides between sacred and profane, black and white, masculine and feminine, civilization and savagery. In so doing, it embraced a malleable and "black-hearted" self that was capable of violent revolt in order to usher in a kingdom of God on earth.

Tracing the rise and fall of their alliance, Stauffer reveals how radical reform helped propel the nation toward war even as it strove to vanquish slavery and preserve the peace. A story of politics, religion, sin, guilt, passion, murder and expiation. It begins in innocence and good intentions and ends in bloodshed and madness Stauffer knows what he has with this remarkable story. He deftly outlines the thinking of his subjects, and is especially good at showing the links between their religious beliefs and their politics-- New York Times More than an engaging history of antislavery, this volume restores James McCune Smith and Gerrit Smith to their historical positions as preeminent radical abolitionists and pioneer fighters against racism.