SC State History Professor Releases Book, "Border War: Fighting over Slavery before the Civil War"

Friday, November 5, 2010

Dr. Stanley HarroldSC State University history professor, Dr. Stanley Harrold, has released the book, “Border War,” published by the University of North Carolina Press. It hit bookstore shelves this week and is already available via the world-wide web. “Border War” examines the previously neglected violent cross-border clashes between the Lower North and Border South that began several generations before the Civil War. By the 1840s and 1850s, a dangerous ferment afflicted the North-South border region, pitting the slave states of Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri against the free states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. In “Border War,” Harrold explores many facets of this conflict. “In ‘Border War,’ I depict aspects of the slavery struggle, including the Underground Railroad, enforcement of the fugitive slave laws, mob actions and sectional antagonism,” Harrold explains.

Harrold, who began teaching history at SC State University more than 30 years ago, wrote seven books prior to “Border War.”  Most of them portray the complex dynamics leading to the Civil War. “My books have been a progression,” notes Harrold.  “My first book, which was published in 1986, is about a man {Gamaliel Bailey} who edited anti-slavery newspapers, first in Cincinnati, Ohio and then in Washington, D.C.  In writing about him, I discovered that there was a lot taking place on the border between the North and South, stretching westward from around Washington to Illinois, western Kentucky, and later on to Missouri and Kansas.” 

Continuing to explore this topic, in 1995, Harrold wrote a book entitled “The Abolitionists and the South,” which examines historians’ perspective on the American anti-slavery movement in the South, particularly in the region that bordered the free states. Fifteen years later, “Border War” has resulted from Harrold’s contemplation of yet another idea.“More and more I started wondering what the role of fugitive slaves was and what the role of the Underground Railroad was in the North-South conflict. “Border War” deals with these questions.  It discusses events beginning in the 1780s and continuing into the Civil War.”

“Border War’s” cover depicts a scene from the 1830s when a pro-slavery mob set Philadelphia’s Pennsylvania Hall on fire.  The story the book tells rests on extensive research.  “I like researching and going through old newspapers, which are my main source,” says Harrold. Other sources for “Border War” include private letters and a lot of government documents.

An avid historian, Harrold is {co-author} with Clark Hine and William C. Hine of The African-American Odyssey, a textbook which is in its fifth edition. He is also the author of 11 journal articles on the subjects of anti-slavery, southern history and African-American history.  He currently teaches a variety of history courses.  They include American civil war and reconstruction, United States constitutional history, colonial and revolutions America.  Harrold also teaches U.S. history survey.

In July 2010, Harrold served as chair and commentator for a session at The Society of Historians of the Early American Republic annual meeting in Rochester, N.Y. The title of the session was “Slavery and the Evolution of Politics.”  Harrold is a member of the Organization of American Historians, Phi Alpha Theta, the Society of Civil War Historians, Southern Historical Association and the South Carolina Historical Society. He has served on the program, award and membership committees for the Southern Historical Association.  Harrold and his wife, Judy, reside in Orangeburg, S.C. and have one daughter, Emily, who attends New York University in New York, N.Y.

Border War” is available for purchase at,,, and other online book sellers. It will also be featured as a history book club, military book club, and online book of the month club ( selection. An electronic (Kindle) edition is available at Amazon and a large print edition will be published in January 2011.

For more information, contact Dr. Stanley Harrold via email at