Towers, Frank 1964–

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Towers, Frank 1964–


Born 1964. Education: University of Wisconsin, B.A., 1986; University of California, Los Angeles, M.A., 1988; University of California, Irvine, Ph.D., 1993.


Office—Department of History, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive N.W., Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4, Canada. E-mail—[email protected].


Writer, educator. Clarion University of Pennsylvania, Clarion, assistant professor of history, 1993-97; Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey, assistant professor of history, 1997-99; Colorado State University, Fort Collins, assistant professor, 1999-2002, associate professor of history, 2002-04; University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, associate professor of history, 2004—.


Faculty Professional Development Council grants, 1994 and 1995; Faculty Professional Development Council grant, Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, 1996; career enhancement grant, Colorado State University; university research grant, University of Calgary, 2005; starter grant, University of Calgary, 2006-07.


The Urban South and the Coming of the Civil War, University of Virginia Press (Charlottesville, VA), 2004.

Contributor to books, including Encyclopedia of the War of 1812, ABC-Clio (Santa Barbara, CA), 1997; From Mobtown to Charm City: New Perspectives on Baltimore Past, edited by Jessica I. Elfenbein, John R. Breihan, and Thomas L. Hollowak, Maryland Historical Society Press (Baltimore, MD), 2002; and The Oxford Encyclopedia of African American History: The Early Republic, edited by Graham Hodges, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2005. Contributor to periodicals, including Arkansas Historical Quarterly, Civil War History, Maryland Historical Magazine, Journal of American Culture, and Journal of Southern History. Member of editorial board, Journal of American Studies in Turkey, 1997—.


Frank Towers is an associate professor of history at the University of Calgary in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He previously taught at Clarion University of Pennsylvania, Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey, and at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. He has been the recipient of grants from the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, Colorado State University, and the University of Calgary.

In The Urban South and the Coming of the Civil War, Towers explores the political, economic, and ideological shifts in the South's three largest cities—Baltimore, New Orleans, and St. Louis—during the antebellum period. As he states in his introduction: "This book examines the interaction between urbanization and the sectional politics of the 1850s in the slave South. More specifically, it analyzes the growing power of working-class voters in slave-state cities, particularly the three largest, Baltimore, St. Louis, and New Orleans, and its consequences for Southern secession." Towers contends that a growing urban population gave rise to a system of class-based politics that threatened the landand slave-owning society. According to H-Net reviewer Jonathan M. Atkins, Towers argues that the size of the three cities "made their economies and politics more like those of the Northern urban centers and sharply distinguished them from the society and politics of the rural South. The existence of large working classes and workers' influence in urban politics provided Southern nationalists with concrete examples of the dangers presented by the connection with the North."

The Urban South and the Coming of the Civil War was published to critical acclaim. "The author has extensively researched his topic and presents a sophisticated argument that should stand as a significant contribution to the literature on secession," Atkins stated. "He presents a persuasive case demonstrating that a politically active working class of the kind usually associated with Northern cities had also developed in the South's largest urban centers." "In very rich detail," remarked H-Net contributor Patricia E. Gower, "Tower traces the complicated evolution of partisan politics, working-class demands, and electoral conditions that sets the three cities apart and raised southern anxieties about these cities as spearheads of northern social, economic, and political relationships." Journal of Southern History Sean Patrick Adams called Towers's effort "a sensational book that contributes to our increasingly complex view of southern society on the eve of the Civil War by focusing on one of the most elusive cases of intraregional dissension: the white, urban working class."



Journal of Southern History, August, 2006, Sean Patrick Adams, review of The Urban South and the Coming of the Civil War, p. 670.

Journal of the Early Republic, winter, 2006, Bridget Ford, review of The Urban South and the Coming of the Civil War, p. 707.

Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, summer, 2005, Robert C. Kenzer, review of The Urban South and the Coming of the Civil War, p. 323.


H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online, (June, 2005), Jonathan M. Atkins, review of The Urban South and the Coming of the Civil War; (May, 2006), Patricia E. Gower, review of The Urban South and the Coming of the Civil War.

University of Calgary Web site, (May 10, 2008), biography of Frank Towers.