From the introduction to this volume:
It has been nearly half a century since Benjamin Quarles published his first scholarly article in the field of Afro-American history. With the appearance of his biography of Frederick Douglass in 1948, Quarles became a major contributor to the history of the black experience from the Revolutionary War through the Civil War. His leading works include the standard volumes on the role of Negroes in both of those conflicts, pioneering studies on black participation in the abolitionist movement, and two monographs on the interrelation between blacks and major white antislavery figures. Given the collective importance of this corpus of work, including the essays reprinted herein, we are all greatly in his debt.
Quarles served as a model to a whole generation of scholars in Afro-American history, white and black alike. His syntheses of Civil War and abolition, his authoritative book and articles on the Revolution, his sensitive analysis of Lincoln and the blacks are all works that remain unequaled or unsurpassed. Even his pioneering Frederick Douglass remains a solid and highly respected monograph. The present and the next generation of historians are, and will be, writing from a later perspective and addressing themselves to different questions, but Quarles's works not only plowed new ground; they will live as standard treatments of topics for years to come.