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Freedom's DelayFreedom's Delay

America's Struggle for Emancipation, 1776-1865

Allen Carden

Narrated by Gerald Zimmerman

Available from Audible

Book published by University of Tennessee Press

The Declaration of Independence proclaimed freedom for Americans from the domination of Great Britain, yet for millions of African Americas caught up in a brutal system of racially based slavery, freedom would be denied for ninety additional years until the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Freedom’s Delay: America’s Struggle for Emancipation, 17761865 probes the slow, painful, yet ultimately successful crusade to end slavery throughout the nation, North and South.

This work fills an important gap in the literature of slavery’s demise. Unlike other authors who focus largely on specific time periods or regional areas, Allen Carden presents a thematically structured national synthesis of emancipation. Freedom’s Delay offers a comprehensive and unique overview of the process of manumission commencing in 1776 when slavery was a national institution, not just the southern experience known historically by most Americans. In this volume, the entire country is examined, and major emancipatory efforts—political, literary, legal, moral, and social—made by black and white, free and enslaved individuals are documented over the years from independence through the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment.

Freedom’s Delay dispels many of the myths about slavery and abolition, including that racial servitude was of little consequence in the North, and, where it did exist, it ended quickly and easily; that abolition was a white man’s cause and blacks were passive recipients of liberty; that the South seceded primarily to protect states’ rights, not slavery; and that the North fought the Civil War primarily to end the subjugation of African Americans. By putting these misunderstandings aside, this book reveals what actually transpired in the fight for human rights during this critical era. Carden’s inclusion of a cogent preface and epilogue assures that Freedom’s Delay will find a significant place in the literature of American slavery and freedom.

With a compelling preface and epilogue, this volume will be of great value not only in courses on American history and African American history but also to the general reading public.

Allen Carden is professor of history at Fresno Pacific University in Fresno, California. He is the author of Puritan Christianity in America: Religion and Life in Seventeenth-Century Massachusetts.


Freedom’s Delay is really the first effort to bring together in one volume the entire history of the formal struggle to end slavery in the United States. This book will be very useful in undergraduate American history surveys and in undergraduate and even graduate courses focusing on the early national/antebellum period.”

—Joanne Melish, author of Disowning Slavery: Gradual Emancipation and ‚ÄòRace‚Äô in New England, 1789‚Äì1860

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University Press Audiobooks