Rachel Shelden, Washington Brotherhood: Politics, Social Life, and the Coming of the Civil War

This is a terrific interview of Rachel Sheldon by Liz Covart at Ben Franklin’s World. It’s about the world of politicians in Antebellum Washington, D.C., which is something we don’t normally see.

From the website:

What You’ll Discover

  • The political parties of the 1840s and 1850s
  • Political divisions in antebellum American society
  • Life in antebellum Washington D.C.
  • How antebellum congressmen and senators lived
  • The F-Street Mess
  • The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854
  • Social society in antebellum Washington D.C.
  • Where women fit into lawmaking and Washington D.C. society
  • African Americans in Washington D.C. society
  • Washington drinking culture
  • Religious life
  • Abraham Lincoln and the Young Indian Club
  • How antebellum congressmen and senators dealt with intense, personal political debates
  • Buncombe speechmaking
  • Lobbyists and the Compromise of 1850
  • How southern secession affected Washington D.C. social society
  • Jefferson Davis’ departure from Washington D.C.
  • Lessons from antebellum Washington D.C. that might help today’s politicians solve our political divide

You can access the podcast here.



  1. Thanks for posting about my conversation with Rachel, Al. Good luck with your study of the Civil War.

    1. Thanks, Liz. By the way, I have more of your outstanding conversations with great historians in the queue for posting. 🙂

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