By illuminating the connection between absolutist state formation and shifts in emotional regimes, Norbert Elias pioneered the history of emotions as it relates to political histories, now a growing fi eld.1 While building on Elias’s insights, this chapter questions the assumption that shifts in emotional regimes require a complete transformation of political structures and many centuries in which to mature. Certainly, the growth of absolutism profoundly infl uenced early modern European emotional norms and styles. But similarly dramatic shifts have advanced more rapidly and without a reordering of political structures. An investigation of the interplay between politics and emotion conducted on a narrower time scale may help to bridge the methodological gap between Elias and some of his critics. Elias’s sweeping arguments have been criticized by specialists who point to exceptions, discontinuities, and nuances overlooked in Elias’s bird’s-eye view of history.2 This essay, however, uses the rapid reordering of middle-class conceptions of jealousy that took place in the nineteenth-century Northern (nonslaveholding) region of the United States as a case study to explore how specialists, especially historians, might draw on Elias to explore the powerful mutual impact of political confl ict and emotional styles. This transformation occurred within two generations and was propelled not by a revolution in US political structures, but by severe ideological confl ict within an existing political framework. The sharp discontinuity in Northern understandings of jealousy becomes comprehensible when situated in the context of the furious political struggle over slavery.