Nonfiction > James Ford Rhodes > History of the Civil War, 1861–1865 > Page 172
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James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927).  History of the Civil War, 1861–1865  1917.
 
Page 172
 
 
His warrant was the war powers of the Constitution. There must be a reasonable probability that the proclamation would help the operations of his army in spite of the strong opposition among many officers of high rank to a war for the negro; that it would weaken the Confederates by fostering in the slaves their inborn desire for freedom and so making of them all the secret friends of the North; that it might further lead to the employment of blacks as soldiers. But these considerations being granted, Lincoln must then satisfy himself that public opinion at the North would sustain him in the action. He could not doubt that the cavilling support of the Radicals would turn to enthusiasm and that their influence in the work of raising men and money would be very powerful. But was the sentiment of the plain people, the mass of steady Republicans and war Democrats, ripe for an edict of freedom? Again, the possibility that the policy might alienate the border slave States which had clung to the Union was in Lincoln’s mind a serious objection; “but the difficulty was as great not to act as to act.” On the other hand, emancipation would help him in Europe. England and France could not recognize the Southern Confederacy when the real issue between the two sections was thus unmasked. Yet there was reason to fear that an avowed war against slavery would revive the opposition of the Democrats and give them a “club” to use against the administration; but the President did not regard this an objection of great moment, since party opposition in the North must be expected in any event. In sum, it was only by turning the question over and over in his mind that he finally settled his doubts. He believed that a proclamation of freedom was a military necessity and that the plain people of the North would see this necessity even as he did. As the days went on, he was
 

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