Too Long for a Tweet, Too Short for a Blog Post VI

http://media.npr.org/assets/bakertaylor/covers/t/team-of-rivals/9780684824901_custom-910beccb7d9cd635a803cef71bdcc6bd739197b9-s6-c30.jpgHere's an excerpt from a book I've been reading, Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin:

"The devastating reverses on the Peninsula, which made it clear that extraordinary means were necessary to save the Union, gave Lincoln an opening to deal more directly with slavery. Daily reports from the battlefields illuminated the innumerable uses to which slaves were put by the Confederacy. They dug trenches and built fortifications for the army. They were brought into camps to serve as teamsters, cooks and hospital attendants, so that soldiers were freed to fight in the fields. They labored on the home front, tilling fields, raising crops and picking cotton, so their masters could go to war without fearing that their families would go hungry. If the Rebels were divested of their slaves, who would then be free to join the Union forces, the North could gain a decided advantage. Seen in this light, emancipation could be considered a military necessity, a legitimate exercise of the president's constitutional war powers. The border states had refused his idea of compensated emancipation as a voluntary first step, insisting that any such action should be initiated in the slave states.  A historic decision was taking shape in Lincoln's mind.

"Lincoln revealed his preliminary thinking to Seward and Welles in the early hours of Sunday, July 13, as they rode together in the president’s carriage to the funeral of Stanton's infant son. The journey to Oak Hill Cemetery, where Stanton's child was to be buried, must have evoked painful memories of Willie, whose body remained there in the private vault awaiting final internment in Springfield.  Despite such personal torment, the country's peril demanded Lincoln's complete concentration.  During the journey, Welles recorded in his diary, the president informed them that he was considering “emancipating the slaves by proclamation in case the Rebels did not cease to persist in their war.” He said that he had “dwelt earnestly on the very gravity, importance, and delicacy” of the subject, and had "come to the conclusion that it was a military necessity absolutely essential for the salvation of the Union, that we must free the slaves or be ourselves subdued.” Thus, the constitutional protection of slavery could and would be overridden by the constitutionally sanctioned war powers of the president."

Post a Comment