Peter Wirzbicki Wins Book Prize for "Fighting for the Higher Law"

July 27, 2022

This year's recipient of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR) Best Book Prize is Fighting for the Higher Law: Black and White Transcendentalists against Slavery (University of Pennsylvania Press) by Peter Wirzbicki. The prize is awarded to the book that makes the best primary scholarly contribution to the history of the early American republic.

In their prize citation, the committee noted that Fighting for the Higher Law "beautifully fulfills the author’s intention 'to take seriously the traditional history of ideas—texts, arguments, writers—while simultaneously examining how those ideas left the page, so to speak, went out in the open air, and rambled around in the world of people and things.' Cogently argued and gracefully written, it brings new life to old topics. It details the confluence of two movements that, fueled by “nonconformist humanism and social optimism,” together pushed the possibilities of democratic progress."