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The Transforming Fire: The Civil War. “I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races.” How can this 1858 statement of Abraham Lincoln be reconciled with his 1862 Emancipation Proclamation? (88)

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“I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races.” How can this 1858 statement of Abraham Lincoln be reconciled with his 1862 Emancipation Proclamation? (88)

  • Evaluate the impact of the Civil War on political and economic developments in the following regions: The South, the North, the West. Focus your answer on the period between 1865 and 1900 (03)
  • In what ways did African Americans shape the course and consequences of the Civil War? (09B)
i abraham lincoln and the slave power conspiracy
I. Abraham Lincoln and the Slave Power Conspiracy
  • 1858 “House Divided” speech no compromise possible
  • “Slavocracy”/Slave Power renationalize slavery
  • 1) territories
  • 2) use territories to extend to North
Republicans both believed + pragmatic build support
  • 1) Abolitionists
  • 2) Racists, esp. workers (free soilers)
  • Not politics nor cultural hatred, but fear of extension to North
  • Lincoln: guilty politician combine morality + racism to win votes
1860 election
1860 Election
  • Split w/in Democrats Lincoln wins: minority, sectional Pres.
  • (60% voted for someone else: Douglas, Breckinridge, Bell)
  • No electoral votes from South
    • 109 counties in South, only 2 for AL
  • South (home GW, TJ, JM) faced w/anti-slavery Pres and loss of power in Fed gov
  • South threatened secession if AL wins don’t take seriously
  • South’s conspiracy: Repub willing to allow/motivate slaves to murder them in their sleep (party of John Brown)
ii the secession crisis
II. The Secession Crisis
  • A. Failure to Compromise
  • Crittenden Compromise: amendment extend Missouri Compromise + guarantee protection AL refuses: S bluffing to gain more, have to stand up now or what next, Cuba? (Breckinridge)
  • Dec. 20, 1860: SC convention to repeal ratification of Const.
    • Feb 1861: 6 others join (AL, MS, FL, GA, LA, TX) CSA; J. Davis (MS) elected Pres
      • Upper South (esp. VA) do not join until war starts
secessionist arguments
Secessionist Arguments
  • 1) “Despotism of numbers”
    • Loss of political power: “sectionalist” Republicans
  • 2) Northern interference: JD: “all we ask is to be left alone”
    • Free-soilers, UR, John Brown
  • 3) Break southern vassalage
    • Build southern economy
  • 4) Self-determination
    • Southern nationalism S. War for Independence
  • 5) Constitutionality
    • Constitution a confederation can leave if want
  • 6) North will not attack
    • Economic suicide: King Cotton
southern opposition to secession
Southern Opposition to Secession
  • Fear of war: where fought, who die?
  • Split slaveholders and non: yeoman farmers (esp. upcountry NC) not willing to support slavery Unionists
  • Elections very tight: planters overrepresented in convention
b lincoln s war
B. Lincoln’s War?
  • 1) Claim: AL nationalist: need war to create a nation, not just preserve union rejects Crittenden, keeps troops at Fort Sumter to provoke S attack
    • Other view of Sumter: stalling for pro-Union uprising
  • 2) Most N did not support forcing S to remain in Union; AL ordered call up of 75,000 militia (no need for Congress approval: not a war, putting down an insurrection)
    • (compare Vietnam/Iraq)
3) Economic: industrial strength requires national market (Repub party of industrial workers and business)
  • 4) Failure of republican gov’t and AR (Gettysburg Address): loss of election cannot be criteria for secession rejects South’s claim about Constitution

"Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."

iii war for union 1861 2 limited war and anaconda
III. War for Union, 1861-2: Limited War and Anaconda

A. Limited War Aims

  • War about slavery (provoked by N refusal to allow expansion) but NOTto abolish slavery
  • Slaves, blacks, some abolitionists thought it was, but majority white northerners no
  • South? Leaders presented war as about preserving liberty and the legacy of the AR, not as defense of slavery “‘cause y’all are down here”
  •  Limited goals limited war
Lincoln + Congress: explicit declaration war not to abolish only to return States
  • Why? Pragmatist: 1st job to win war needed border States (KY, MD, MO): "I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky.”
All presumed war short + limited
  • Battle of Bull Run (July 1861): untrained Union routed by Rebels
    • Capture some spectators
  •  Citizen Army of 500,000 for 3 years
b anaconda and the shield of the union
B. Anaconda and “The Shield of the Union”
  • ’61-62: no conclusive results, esp. in East
  • Gen. Winfield Scott: Anaconda Plan + blockade: public clamor
  • Gen. George McClellan: great organizer/trainer, poor fighter: overestimates foe 2-3x (esp. REL)
  • March ’62 Peninsular Campaign (Richmond, VA) N appears on verge of victory Battle 7 Days (20,000 Confed. casualties to 16,000 Union) withdraws
  • McClellan never seemed to understand that victory = invasion of S
iv war for freedom 1862 1865 antietam and emancipation
IV. War for Freedom, 1862-1865: Antietam and Emancipation

A. “Taking off the Kids’ Gloves”

  • Summer ’62: gains in West (KY, TN, Miss, NO) by Grant + E momentum, but S continuing to fight
    • Growing discontent: Copperheads and War Democrats; upcoming 1862 congressional elections (Nov)
  • Sept. ’62: abandon attrition strategy Lee invades MD Sept 17, 1862: Battle of Antietam
6,300-6,500 killed, 15,000 wounded
  • 4x US casualties D-Day; more than War of 1812, Mex-Am War, Spanish-American War, Indian wars combined
  • Robert Gould Shaw: “It seems almost as if nothing could justify a battle like that of the 17th, and the horrors inseparable from it.”
impacts of antietam
Impacts of Antietam
  • 1) Military: shattered Confederate momentum
    • K. Marx (Oct ’62): Antietam “has decided the fate of the American Civil War”
  • 2) Political:
    • a) domestic: limited Repub losses Nov. election maintained control Congress (lost 34 seats House + governorships, but gained 5 Senate)
    • b) international: ended chances recognition + support Europe (esp. Britain)
3) Moral: AL: Antietam sign God “had decided this question in favor of the slaves” Emancipation Proclamation
b emancipation
B. Emancipation
  • AL: “Without slavery the rebellion could never have existed; without slavery it could not continue.”
  • Sept 22, 1862 to take effect Jan 1 1863: “freed” slaves Confed controlled areas (not border states or areas under U control)
    • Attempt bring S back in: rejoin or lose slaves (cont. faith Unionist feeling)
  • Still participation blacks
1) Incentive slaves spy for Union
  • 2) 500,000 slaves fled massive manpower shortage (+ desertion to protect homes)
  • Free blacks + runaways military
    • By end: 180,000 had served, 10% total enrollment
  • Remarkable: 2nd class soldiers: segregated units, 1/3 less pay, work details
  • Immense courage + effectiveness: fighting for liberty + terrible treatment as POW
divisions over emancipation
Divisions over Emancipation
  • McClellan: could not “make up my mind to fight for such an accursed doctrine as that of a servile insurrection.”
  • “The remedy for political errors, if any are committed, is to be found in the action of the people at the polls.”
    • Ran against AL in 1864, nearly won
  • July 1863: NYC draft riots rage focused on blacks
c war is hell
C. “War is Hell”
  • No longer respect prop right southern civ.destroy anything might be used by enemy Sherman March to the Sea
  • 1) cut supply line S + Lee; 2) shatter economic system + break civ will
  • Balance shifts permanently to U at Gettysburg (July 1-3): of 75,000 Rebels, 28,000 casualties (1/3+)


  • Grant’s success West Chief
    • AL’s response to criticism: “He fights”
  • S: short on manpower, supplies, morale, + desertion Confed collapse J. Davis used racism to try to motivate: whites reduced to slavery (fails) proposed arming blacks in last months (never implemented)
  • April 9 ’65: Lee surrenders at Appomattox
    • Still other S armies, but basically end
S handicap: seceded for independence, but then had centralize authority to wage war
  • Union victory: proved indivisibility, but how unite nation + issue of race?
  • Lincoln assassination (JW Booth) lesser men left to resolve
v the butcher s bill
V. The Butcher’s Bill
  • 750,000 dead on both sides > WWI + WWII
  • Total casualties: 1 million in nation 31 million
  • Why? Overlap new tech + old tactics; new transportation (faster replacement); old medicine: 2 die of disease for every 1 die battlefield
  • Communications tech horrors send graphically + quickly to nation mental/psychological cost
how explain
How Explain?
  • 1) Political sectionalism (struggle over West)
  • 2) Slavery (moral conflict)
  • 3) Clash antithetical systems
  • 4) Failure of politicians (Douglas, Buchanan, etc.)
  • 5) Extremists (Garrison, Calhoun)
  • 6) No basic causes: “needless” war of a “blundering generation”
Came out of forces at work in American society
  • Forces for Division
  • 1) Frontier society: in West and in East (immigration + urbanization)
  • 2) Materialism: divisions of wealth
  • 3) Individualism: attacks on old institutions: 2nd GA, utopians, Jacksonians
  • 4) Democracy: erosion elite candidates chosen for appeal not statesmanship
Forces for Cohesion
  • 1) Nationalism: AR, 1812, Manifest Destiny
  • 2) Market + Transportation Revolutions
  • 3) Political System: based on compromise
  • 4) 2nd GA: national evangelical movement (product of disorder seeking new system of control: self-discipline)
  • 5) Common experience of dislocation
Nation torn apart because at moment of greatest weakness (crisis West) hit by series shocks (Dred Scott, J. Brown, etc.)
  • Humiliating defeat S + industrialization of S + N willingness turn against blacks/reject emancipationist vision of CW Reunion over Reconstruction
    • The Lost Cause, Gone With the Wind, Civil War reenactments