The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War
The previously untold story of the violence in Congress that helped spark the Civil War. In The Field of Blood, Joanne B. Freeman recovers the long-lost story of physical violence on the floor of the U.S. Congress. Drawing on an extraordinary range of sources, she shows that the Capitol was rife with conflict in the decades before the Civil War. Legislative sessions were often punctuated by mortal threats, canings, flipped desks, and all-out slugfests. Many were beaten and bullied in an attempt to intimidate them into compliance, particularly on the issue of slavery.
The Field of Blood offers a front-row view of congressional mayhem and sheds new light on the careers of John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, and other luminaries, as well as introducing a host of lesser-known but no less fascinating men. The result is a fresh understanding of the workings of American democracy and the bonds of Union on the eve of their greatest peril.
By Joanne B. Freeman. Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018. 480 pages, hardcover.