Edward Everett's career coincided with the beginning of industrialism, the coming of railroads, and a revolution in water transportation. It also coincided with the beginnings of large-scale immigration, the rapid development of urban centers, and the rise of the anti-slavery movement. These silent forces transformed society and brought about one of the most turbulent political eras in the nation's history. Divisive sectional interests, the rise of the new two-party system, and territorial expansion changed the political arena. Everett entered politics as this new era began. He was already a public man. He shone brightly as editor of the nation's first literary magazine, the North American Review, thrilled throngs with his oratory, and was accepted in the community as an intellectual. He rejected the narrow sectionalism of the New England Federalists and wholeheartedly accepted the political teachings of Edmund Burke. His strengths on entering office were impressive. He was well informed as to the political developments in Europe, had a command of several foreign languages, rejected orthodox theology, and achieved a broad outlook--and he had a marvelously free-flowing pen. He won the hearts of young people of Boston with his Phi Beta Kappa address, which portrayed a bright and rich cultural future for the nation. Certain points of view were already deeply ingrained. He was a nationalist, but his nationalism was not of the Fourth of July fervor variety. He dreamt that it was the destiny of the republic to demonstrate a people's representative government that could be successful. He valued the country's British heritage; more particularly its tradition of civil rights, its check and balance system, and British balance in a revolutionary age. Everett possessed three hatreds: he despised racism, he was disgusted with anti-Catholicism, and he had a dread of political demagoguery. He was soon to demonstrate one weakness: while he did not lack courage, he sometimes retreated when the going got rough. This book examines Everett's responses to the changes going on about him. How did these changes challenge him? Democratic institutions are slow to mature. The nation was entering the modern age. A national economy was emerging that called for a stronger Union--powerful enough to solve the conflict between states' rights and greater centralization. Everett was in the forefront in supporting these changes; however, he was at times demobilized by the unsolved problem of how to free the country of slavery without destroying the Union. This weighed heavily on Everett, and caused him to be unduly cautious. The Civil War emancipated him from his dilemma that, at times, stood in the way of his assuming a stronger leadership role.