Antebellum: “Liberty of Power” by Harry L. Watson

Pages: 1
Words: 333

Certain books are granted with exceptional value, as they capture pivotal moments in the history of the world. Liberty of Power writer by Harry L. Watson is one of such pieces that are integral to the past of the United States. This book is devoted to the political evolution of the country that occurred in the so-called Antebellum period. It encompasses the time after the 1812 war and before the American Civil War. Throughout this era, the United States experienced major transformations in the political, economic, and social spheres. It reshaped the image of the country forever, culminating in the infamous military confrontation between the North and the South. Watson (2006) conducts a thorough examination of America’s public life between 1816 and 1848, providing detailed explanation regarding the causes of the events to follow. In fact, the author of Liberty of Power makes a meaningful attempt to prove that these decades became a turning point in the history of the United States.

The contents of the book serve to prove the stance taken by Harry L. Watson. As the author explains in its pages, this period is characterized by the increase in the public engagement with domestic politics. The previous, post-revolutionary era saw a higher level of popular indifference toward major political decisions. Even though the foundation of the American state-building was laid by the Founding Fathers during and immediately after their pursuit of independence, they took shape in the period vividly described by Watson. Jacksonian America is the time of disputes that erupted on several levels. As Watson (2006) proves, this period saw a strong development of the party competition within the government.

Simultaneously, the tensions between different societal groups rose, as well, along with the surge in immigration that spurred the expansion to the West. The clash of ideas shortly transcended the political stage of the country and translated into a direct confrontation. The Civil War became an immediate consequence of the described period, forever changing the United States of America.


Watson, H. L. (2006). Liberty and power: The politics of Jacksonian America (2nd ed.). Hill and Wang.