Across Five Aprils

by Irene Hunt

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What kinds of things were troubling the adult world on that April morning in chapter 1?

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Trouble has been brewing between the North and South for many, many years, and when this novel begins, the adults are worrying about the possibility of war between the North and South. Abraham Lincoln has just been elected president and it is well known that he is personally against slavery. There is more that separates the interests of the North and South than slavery, however. There are issues of tariffs, trade between the states, how to decide whether new states admitted to the United States will be free states or slave states. When the novel opens, Jethro is working in the garden with his mother, Shadrach is getting ready to go to the next town to get news about what is going on and everyone is on edge. Jethro's parents are also worrying about his sister's Jenny's relationship with Shadrach. Jethro's father thinks Jenny is too young to think about romance.

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