Lincoln and the Decision for War

Lincoln and the Decision for War

The Northern Response to Secession

Book - 2008
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When Abraham Lincoln's election in 1860 prompted several Southern states to secede, the North was sharply divided over how to respond. Some argued that disunion must be prevented, even if it meant going to war; others insisted that responding with force would only render reunion impossible. In this groundbreaking book, the first major study in over fifty years of how the North handled the secession crisis, Russell McClintock follows the decision-making process to the one man who could ultimately make the call fro war: Lincoln. From small towns to big cities and from state capitals to Washington, D.C., McClintock highlights individuals both powerful and obscure to demonstrate the ways ordinary citizens, party activists, state officials, and national leaders interacted to influence the Northern response to what was essentially a political crisis. he argues that although Northerners' reaction to Southern secession were understood and expressed through partisan newspapers and officials, the actual decision fell into the hands of an ever-smaller handful of people until finally it was Lincoln alone who would choose whether the future of the American republic was to be determined through peace or a sword. McClintock shows that only after a desperate struggle to peaceably prevent the nation's disintegration did Lincoln opt for war. At that point, in his most controversial move of the long secession winter, Lincoln arranged events in such a way that Northerners could not help but place the blame for opening hostilities where he believed it belonged: on the seceding states. With the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter, Northern partisan rancor dissolved into consensus on the critical issue of national survival, making war all but inevitable.
Publisher: Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, c2008
ISBN: 9780807871546
Branch Call Number: 973.7 L638mr 2008
Characteristics: xii, 388 p. ; 24 cm


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