The book Wolf by the Ears authored by John Van Atta explicitly describes the events of the sectional conflict that proliferated to the American Civil War and later triggered the balkanizing war over Missouri statehood (Atta 30). The author notes that the Louisiana territory purchase was organized to position it entirely on the Northwest of Ohio and West of Mississippi; however, the Missouri crisis bore a strategic significance based on anti-and pro slavery movements. In particular, the congressional representatives from North supported the expansion of slavery, while those from South expressed outrage and fired sectional attack to the Northerners. Despite the fact that Missouri confrontation in and outside congress seemed to have an amicable end due to the entry of Henry Clay of Kentucky, the aspersions that it caused triggered vicious, perpetual and widespread ramifications to emancipations and war against slavery.
On the contrary, the Southern states affirmed their stand that slavery was a vice that needed to be eliminated at all costs with immediate effect. John R. Van Atta is quick to say that the sectional conflict which culminated into the civil war came to be as a result of the struggle over who was supposed to take over Missouri Statehood. Missouri was a matter of great concern for the anti-slavery advocates.
At some point in history, the matter caused leaders to engage in arguments and heated discussions. The Northern Congressmen are the first ones to rise and show their dissatisfaction with the motive of their counterparts to further and expand slave trade (Atta 74).The slave state politicians expressed their anger and disgust at the idea of their counterparts advocating for the fall of the slave “empire.”
Seemingly, the Missouri matter confrontation between the parties apparently appeared to end in an amicable manner following the hitting of a compromise between the two sides. The author in writing the book takes the reader through the cultural, social and the economic factors that re-ignited the confrontation with such a high sense of urgency. John R. Van Atta also moves ahead to enlighten the reader on the assumptions, beliefs, as well as the fears that the contending parties held in the struggle to win at the end of it all.
Exploring how the author has succeeded in coming up with such an excellent literary piece is important. This volume has brought out John Van Atta quite differently. Any reader can easily see how the author has a firm grip of the Missouri crisis. In a way, John Van Atta seems to beat the record set earlier by Glover Moore, who most of the people thought had covered the matter exhaustively. John Van Atta’s literary piece has awakened most of the people to notice the flaws in the piece by Glover Moore study (Atta 96).
When John Van Atta writes showing that the concerns associated with the Missouri Crisis went beyond the political elite, the reader follows the tactical coverage and suddenly notices Glover’s flaw. Van Atta’s work is quite different, and one can’t help but agree to the fact that he draws on recent historiography which evidently brings out the widespread and deeply renowned engagement with matters presented. This happens to be just one among the multiple interpretations the author provides the reader.
A closer look into the book reveals that the Missouri conflict and the associated compromises culminated into a total over haul of the way the republic operated. The author stipulates that there developed a general convergence of economic, political and social disturbances. The desirable part about the matter lies in the fact that the old order of American lifestyle came to a sudden halt and at the same time Americans witnessed a broad new way of doing things (Atta 59).
Sustaining his thesis throughout the book forces the author to resort to the complicated roots of the controversy. The congress at some point agrees upon bringing the evil of slavery in Missouri to a standstill. It is easy to notice how the author spends more than a third of the text formulating and presenting the Missouri debate. A keen and intelligent reader on looking at the authors way of doing things discover the great role the background plays towards establishing the stage the best way.
Van Atta’s extended treatment helps air out the pre-existing concerns as well as the grievances associated with politicians and the common citizens. Making a successful transition is a matter that forces the writer to pick on the kind of anecdote that insinuates that all Americans get surprised by the happening of the Debate at Missouri (Atta 108). Many people might think about that as a misleading insinuation whereas others may observe it as a kind of deviation that downplays the much work he does developing groundwork.
Some critics might argue that Van Atta in advancing the thesis fails at making it clear in the best way possible. However, the author makes efforts to show how much slavery had contributed towards taking America to the next level in terms of economic development. In a statement, he asserts, “Fueled both anti-and pro-slavery convictions (Atta 132).”The reader observes his occasional mention of the national building angle. There appears to be very minimal shedding of light on the true meaning of this. However, towards the end, the author moves closer showing the reader his exact perspective. In Overall, the author does a great task in handling this section of the literary piece (Atta 43).
The book may appear quite appropriate to an undergraduate audience considering its acumen and mastery of Missouri crisis. One would be wrong to describe the literary work as a boring one. At the same time, describing it as a page-turner would be giving it a standard it doesn’t match up to. The author is faced by the challenge of combining the broad synthesis of scholarship content and the kind of text that grips the reader. Van Atta settles for the first option. Many people see it as quite a responsible choice.
In conclusion, the arguments in this book about Missouri crisis are compelling, and it is agreeable that they are founded on logical or sensible grounds. However; credit needs to be given where it is due. Any fair person will quite agree that the strengths of this work by far outweigh the drawbacks. As a book set in a wide context, it is an amazing coverage and presentation of the Missouri crisis. Van Atta is one of the top authors, and his work is a real presentation of his literary prowess and success as a writer.
Atta, John. “Wolf by the Ears: The Missouri Crisis, 1819-1821.” Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2015. Print.