James Oakes

James Oakes teaches history at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. The Radical and the Republican was published in 2007.

Jackson Lears writes that ‘in October 1861, when General John C. Fremont freed the slaves in the parts of Missouri his troops had occupied, Lincoln publicly repudiated him and the larger goal of abolition’ (LRB, 19 May). Fremont issued his abolition decree in August 1861 not October. It applied only to the slaves of rebels and only in areas over which Fremont had no control. Lincoln sent a private...

Best of All Worlds: Slavery and Class

James Oakes, 11 March 2010

In 1965 Eugene Genovese published his first book, The Political Economy of Slavery, a stunning reinterpretation of the antebellum South. Although he wrote as a Marxist, he revived the bourgeois critique of slavery most closely associated with Adam Smith. The class conflict that might have driven the history of the South was stifled, he argued, by the slave owners’ paternalism towards...

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