BECK index

Summary & Evaluating United States 1845-1865

by Sanderson Beck

United States & Mexican War 1845-1852
United States 1853-1859
US Western Expansion & Indian Tribes 1845-65
United States Slavery & Division 1845-60
United States Civil War 1861-1862
United States Civil War 1863-1865
American Reformers & Literature 1845-65
What Could Have Prevented US Civil War?
Evaluating the United States in 1845-65

United States & Civil War 1845-1865 has been published as a book. For ordering information, please click here.

United States & Mexican War 1845-1852

      The process of the United States annexing the Republic of Texas had started before the inauguration of the Democratic President James A. Polk in March 1845 and was completed with the admission of Texas as a state by the end of the year. Polk emulated President Andrew Jackson but promised to serve for only one 4-year term. Polk accepted the idea that Americans had a “manifest destiny” to spread across the continent to the Pacific Ocean, and he was eager to annex California and the Oregon Territory as well as everything else west of the Mississippi River. A US offer to buy New Mexico and California from Mexico was rejected. John C. Frémont’s expeditions explored and mapped the western mountains and valleys, opening the way for more immigrants from the US. In his first annual message to Congress in December 1845 Polk claimed Oregon and California for the United States.
      Mexico’s new President Paredes began 1846 with an inaugural address swearing he would defend Mexican territory. US President Polk in January ordered General Zachary Taylor to move his forces across the Nueces River to the Rio Grande, and Whig newspapers criticized it as aggression. Taylor had Fort Texas built by the Rio Grande in April. Mexican General Ampudia asked the Americans to withdraw; but Taylor ordered the Rio Grande mouth blockaded, and the US Navy also guarded Vera Cruz and Mazatlán on the east and west coasts. Paredes sent reinforcements, and the Mexican Army crossed the Rio Grande and attacked an American force on April 25. Polk signed a bill annexing Oregon, and the US and Britain agreed on 49° for the US northern border. The Americans defeated the Mexicans who retreated south. President Polk gave his war message on May 11 blaming Mexico for starting the fighting. The United States had three times as many people and a much stronger economy. The desertion rate of 8.3% would be the highest for any US war, and Mexico tried to recruit American Catholics. Henry Clay argued that if he had been elected President, there would be no war. The US Army captured Monterrey in September and Saltillo in November. A treaty gave the US transit rights across Panama in December.
      During the Mexican War the United States took over the Mexican territories of California and New Mexico. Captain Frémont, guided by Kit Carson, headed expeditions that explored the region. Before hearing about the war in August 1846, Frémont led the founding of the Bear Flag Republic of California. Then US Commodore Stockton proclaimed California a US Territory and put Frémont in command. Col. Stephen W. Kearney commanded the Army of the West, and also in August at Santa Fé he claimed for the US the New Mexico Territory. Kearney put Doniphan’s force in charge there and went to help complete the conquest of California. Doniphan’s force was later sent to fight in Chihuahua, Mexico. Kearney had Frémont court martialed, but President Polk canceled the sentence.
      Whigs gained a majority in the US House of Representatives in 1847, and some criticized the war; but Democrats added five more seats to their large majority in the US Senate. South Carolina’s Senator John C. Calhoun argued for protecting the institution of slavery. US General Zachary Taylor led his troops farther into Mexico and defeated Santa Anna’s army in a major battle at Buena Vista on February 23. Livermore’s The War with Mexico Reviewed criticized US aggression. General Winfield Scott led an armada that landed at Veracruz in March and killed many civilians and Mexican soldiers as they took that port and marched to Mexico City which surrendered on September 14. Whigs gained 14 more seats in the Congressional elections by November. Polk said the US should take over the territories of New Mexico and Alta California, and Congressman Abraham Lincoln of Illinois challenged where the war began. Samuel Colt began manufacturing revolvers.
      In January 1848 Lincoln spoke in favor of the right of people to “revolutionize.” Polk dismissed General Scott and the envoy Nicholas Trist who nonetheless negotiated in February the treaty that gave the United States half of Mexico’s territory for $18.25 million. Both sides ratified the treaty on May 30, and the US Army left Mexico in August. Most of the American losses were from diseases, and the death rate was the highest in US history. Mexico also suffered serious economic damages. Lt. Ulysses S. Grant called it the most unjust and “wicked war.” Horace Mann helped Massachusetts found fifty common schools. In the presidential election the Whig candidates Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore defeated the Democrat Lew Cass and Martin Van Buren of the new Free Soil Party. The US Congress approved the Oregon Territory without slavery. Polk’s last annual message encouraged the California gold rush. He had replaced most of the postmasters. Potato famines in Ireland and Germany led to more immigrants in the US. Pennsylvania limited factory work to ten hours per day. Wisconsin multiplied its population and became a state, and Minnesota became a US Territory. Amelia Bloomer sold pants to women.
      President Zachary Taylor was a southern slaveowner, but he and most of his cabinet opposed the extension of slavery. He let his cabinet make his decisions with a majority vote. Senator William Seward of New York became a close advisor. He and anti-slavery Salmon Chase of Ohio had just been elected to the US Senate. In May 1849 a riot with Irish gangs in New York city killed 25 people. Taylor used diplomats to resolve conflicts in Central America. He was prepared to use the army to prevent an unauthorized invasion of Canada, and he stopped a filibustering expedition to Cuba. In California men drafted and approved a constitution and elected a civilian governor. In Texas the US Army attacked the Navaho, and Taylor sent a military governor to the New Mexico Territory. Senator Calhoun planned a convention for slave states at Nashville for June 1850. The Fox sisters introduced Spiritualism with a public séance in Rochester, New York. Most newspapers cost only two cents, and they were widely distributed by railways. The US Congress in December for the first time had a majority in both chambers by the party (Democrats) who opposed the President. The attorney Charles Sumner used the case of a black girl to try to integrate segregated schools in Massachusetts. He also urged peace with international law and a Congress of Nations. Edward Kellogg published Labor and Other Capital to help the poor.
      Southern Senators introduced a Fugitive Slave bill in January 1850, and on the 29th Senator Henry Clay Of Kentucky proposed a comprehensive compromise on slavery and territorial issues. The Georgia legislature threatened to secede. An angry debate ensued with the South defending slavery and northern abolitionists opposing its extension in the territories. Senator Daniel Webster of Massachusetts spoke as an American and supported Clay’s compromise. Stephen Douglas of Illinois was made chairman of the Senate committee on territories, and he argued for letting people in the territories decide about slavery. Calhoun’s last speech had been read aloud for him, and he died on March 31. On April 17 Senator Henry Foote of Mississippi pointed a pistol at Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton who dared him to shoot. The US Treasury paying the Secretary of War George Crawford $94,176 for working out the Galphin claim caused a scandal. Clay’s committee presented their compromise bill in May. Diplomats brought the US and British together in the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty by neutralizing any canal across the isthmus of Central America. General Narciso López led filibusters to Cuba and burned the Governor’s palace, and the United States confiscated his ship and arrested him. People in New Mexico voted overwhelmingly for an anti-slavery constitution. Delegates from nine slave states met at Nashville in June and agreed to extend the Missouri Compromise line west to the Pacific Ocean as southerners criticized Taylor’s policies. Taylor unwisely ate raw vegetables and cherries, and he died of cholera on July 9.
      Vice President Millard Fillmore had been presiding over the Senate during the debates, and he understood the issues. As President he made Daniel Webster Secretary of State and Clay’s friend John Crittenden the Attorney General, and he replaced every cabinet member with Whigs. Clay pleaded for his compromise and warned about the danger of a civil war, and he criticized southern secessionists and northern abolitionists. Douglas persuaded Clay to accept popular sovereignty in territories. A conflict between New Mexico and Texas was resolved, and in August the Senate accepted the admission of California as a state and the New Mexico Territory. They also passed the Fugitive Slave Act. The House approved those bills in September, and then both houses agreed to abolish the slave market in the District of Columbia. Fillmore signed all the Great Compromise bills. In the 1850s many more captured fugitive slaves would be returned to their owners instead of being freed. In the next three months about 3,000 blacks would flee to Canada. The US banned the flogging of sailors. Fillmore gained a library for the White House, and he corresponded with Dorothea Dix about asylums for the insane.
      Georgia Congressmen promoted the Compromise, but most opposed it at a state convention. Texans generally accepted the Compromise which settled their borders and let them keep El Paso. Senator Henry Foote defeated Jefferson Davis in Mississippi’s election for Governor. The US Army improved fortifications in Charleston, South Carolina. In elections for Congress the Whigs and Free-Soil Party lost 27 seats while Democrats gained 17. Senators Benton of Missouri and Frémont of California were defeated. Unitarian minister Theodore Parker praised democracy on Thanksgiving Day. In his December message Fillmore defended the Union and peace. He reduced postage and the public debt and modified tariffs. The American Colonization Society helped 1,121 Negroes emigrate to Liberia in 1848, 1849, and 1850, but most free blacks opposed African colonization. The US Census showed more Irish immigrants than Germans in the previous decade, but this would be reversed in the next decade. By 1850 telegraph lines had connected many more towns. The United States was the only nation with as many girls as boys in primary schools. Northern states had much more manufacturing than the South and more canals and railroads.

       Abolitionists took the fugitive slave Shadrach Minkins from a federal marshal in Boston and transported him to Canada in February 1851. In Syracuse 15 people were indicted for freeing a fugitive slave, and they were acquitted. Two members of a posse in Pennsylvania were killed while trying to arrest a fugitive slave. Yet most people in the North and South accepted the Great Compromise. Fillmore supported internal improvements. Twelve states starting with Maine in June prohibited alcohol in the next four years, but ten repealed it by 1861. The filibuster López led another attack on Cuba, but he was tried and executed. Secretary of State Webster apologized to Spain and worked out a prisoner release. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe was serialized and became the best-selling book in 1852. A Virginia convention revised their constitution, and voters approved it in October 1851. Fillmore’s message in December urged peace with other nations, and his administration paid down the debt and made trade treaties with Latin American nations. Whigs nominated General Winfield Scott for President, but the Democrats’ Franklin Pierce, a former General and Senator from New Hampshire, defeated him in 1852.

United States 1853-1859

      In 1853 a secret society began in New York to oppose immigrants. President Franklin Pierce selected only Democrats for his cabinet with Jefferson Davis of Mississippi as Secretary of War, and they increased military spending. His Attorney General Caleb Cushing of Massachusetts favored southerners. Democrats controlled both houses of the Congress, and the Washington Union newspaper ran their editorials. The Pierce Administration raised money by selling public land and reduced the national debt by more than half to $31 million. Abolitionists in New England argued for women’s rights. Some people in Cincinnati and New York protested against Catholics. The US purchased much land from Indian tribes in the Nebraska Territory. Pierce outlawed filibustering in Mexico, and envoy James Gadsden bought for the US 29,640 square miles from Mexico.
      In January 1854 Illinois Senator Stephen Douglas introduced a bill to create the Nebraska Territory with people in future states allowed to decide on slavery, and an amendment was added to repeal the Missouri Compromise. Giddings, Chase, and Sumner appealed to independent Democrats, and several northern states opposed this; but Pierce’s cabinet persuaded him to back the bill. The Senate passed the Kansas-Nebraska bill in March. The House approved it in May, and Pierce made it law and appointed a governor for the Kansas-Nebraska Territory. Abolitionists supported white settlers who opposed slavery in the Kansas Territory and started the town of Lawrence while slaveholders from Missouri crossed the border into Kansas to vote for slavery. Northern protests stopped Pierce from purchasing Cuba. Nativists opposing Catholic immigrants became the basis for the “Know Nothing” Party, and abolitionists began the Republican Party in July; both these parties gained many seats in Congress by 1855. Commodore Matthew Perry in March 1854 had opened up ports in Japan to US ships.
      In 1855 the conflict escalated in Kansas between slave-owners from Missouri and abolitionist Free Soilers from other northern states. Missourians formed secret societies and at first outvoted the Free Soil settlers. Proslavery men threatened Governor Reeder with weapons, and he accepted the votes of transient Missourians in elections. The legislature then adopted Missouri laws and over-rode Reeder’s vetoes. President Pierce replaced Reeder with a proslavery governor, and the proslavery legislature moved to Lecompton in August. In the fall the Free Soil Party met at Topeka and adopted a constitution banning slavery, and voters approved it overwhelmingly but also banned free blacks. Proslavery men formed the Law and Order Party in November. A feud led to violence, and both sides began raising armed forces. William Walker with 60 armed Americans invaded Nicaragua and made himself dictator. President Pierce condemned this but recognized their government in May 1856. Walker took over the steamboats owned by Vanderbilt who hired mercenaries that helped defeat Walker in 1857. In the US the Know Nothings became the American Party, and nativists rioted in Cincinnati and Louisville. Samuel Colt sold revolvers to Texas Rangers and 9,000 to the British.
      In January 1856 President Pierce supported the proslavery government in Kansas and criticized the free-staters, and the US Senate blocked the Free Soil government’s constitution that the House had approved. Both sides sent weapons into Kansas. Judge Lecompte got a grand jury to indict free-state officers, and former Missouri Senator Atchison raised an army of Missourians who arrested people in Lawrence. Then Sheriff Jones deputized a posse and pillaged the town. Abolitionist John Brown and his sons murdered five proslavery settlers at Pottawatomie Creek in May. Many condemned the killing, but violence continued. Federal troops forced the Topeka legislature to disperse, and small armies battled near Bull Creek in August. Pierce appointed John White Geary the Kansas Governor. He had helped California become free and acted impartially to prevent violence and had federal troops protect Lawrence.
      The American Party of Know Nothings split into northern and southern factions. Governor Chase of Ohio argued that a small number of slaveholders should not dominate. Senator Sumner exposed the crimes in Kansas and blamed immoral slavery for them, and he urged Congress to overthrow that tyranny; but he was severely beaten with a cane in the Senate. Democrats nominated the returning diplomat James Buchanan for President, and the new Republican Party chose the explorer John C. Frémont who hoped to abolish slavery. Ex-President Fillmore was the candidate for two smaller parties and won only one state. Senator Douglas campaigned for Buchanan who with 45% of the votes won the Electoral College 174-114 over Frémont. In the US Congress the Democratic Party was also divided by North and South members while all the Republicans were northerners. Lincoln noted that those who did not vote for Buchanan were a majority.
      James Buchanan was a successful lawyer and created a fortune. He became a US Senator in 1834 and was Polk’s Secretary of State 1845-49 and was ambassador to Britain 1853-56. In 1856 Democrats opposing Republican Frémont and disunion elected Buchanan US President and had control of Congress and the Supreme Court. New-York Tribune editor Horace Greeley believed a new tariff caused an economic depression in 1857. Buchanan promised he would serve for only one term, and he selected four southerners out of seven in his cabinet which he let govern by majority vote. He hoped that the Kansas-Nebraska Act would settle the slavery issue. The US Supreme Court under Chief Justice Taney decided in the Dred Scott case that he was not free, and Taney wrote that Negroes had no rights and could be treated as property and that no legislature could ban slavery in US territories. Speculation and European wars also damaged the economy which had been stimulated by gold from California. New York banks failed in August and caused stocks to fall. The speculation resulted in 4,932 US companies failing. Unemployment spread in the North, and textile workers went on strike. The South could store unsold cotton and tobacco. Free states lost $142 million, slave states $17.5 million. Tuberculosis and cholera spread in crowded cities.
      Conflict continued in Kansas as the proslavery government at Lecompton dominated. Buchanan sent Mississippi’s ex-Senator Robert J. Walker to govern. Free-staters in Kansas refused to cooperate with that government and their corrupt elections. Free-state voters elected a Republican by 4,000 votes as their Congressional Delegate. The Lecompton convention approved a proslavery constitution which was opposed by Walker and all but one of 20 newspapers in Kansas. Senator Douglas exposed the fraudulent Lecompton regime. Finally in January 1858 Kansas voters rejected the Lecompton constitution 10,336 to 162. Yet Buchanan asked Congress to admit Kansas with that constitution, but an amendment called for a popular vote on it in Kansas that rejected it 11,812 to 1,926. The filibustering William Walker tried to take over Nicaragua again in 1858, but Nicaraguans executed him in September 1860. The Ohio case of those tried for freeing the recaptured slave Price was upheld by the Ohio Supreme Court and provoked large protests in 1859.
      Abraham Lincoln was a self-made man who became a skilled lawyer and politician. He served in the Illinois legislature, and as a one-term Congressman he opposed the Mexican War. He admired Henry Clay, and in 1854 Lincoln opposed Senator Douglas’s Kansas-Nebraska Act that caused conflict in Kansas. In 1856 Lincoln supported the Republican Party, and he criticized the Supreme Court’s terrible Dred Scott decision in 1857 and the support for it by Douglas. Lincoln opposed making Kansas a slave state. In June 1858 he made his “house divided” speech and won the Republican nomination for the US Senate seat held by the Democrat Douglas. Both were making speeches, and Lincoln challenged Douglas to a series of seven debates in which he explained why slavery is wrong. He advised stopping the extension of slavery into territories and new states. Douglas was re-elected; but Lincoln argued that influencing public sentiment is more important, and he gained national recognition.
      In March 1858 US Senator Hammond of South Carolina argued “Cotton Is King,” and Senator Hamlin of Maine replied that northern manufacturing has exceeded cotton exports. Buchanan replaced pro-Douglas postmasters in Illinois. After Mormons massacred a wagon train in Utah, Buchanan replaced Governor Brigham Young and sent troops. Mormons destroyed Fort Bridger, and Young led 15,000 away from the Salt Lake. Buchanan offered pardons, and the conflict was resolved in the spring. Roads to the west coast were improved. After the British fired on eleven American ships and searched for slaves, Buchanan used diplomacy instead of war that two southerners advised. In 1858 elections Republicans made large gains in the North giving them a majority in the House and five more Senate seats. Tennessee, Kentucky, and Texas elected proslavery senators. Democrats were divided between North and South factions. Ruffin of Virginia, Rhett of South Carolina, and Yancey of Alabama urged secession. Senator Seward of New York gave a radical anti-slavery speech; but when he was criticized, he modified his position. Mississippi Senator Jefferson Davis also threatened secession. Senator Douglas spoke in southern cities and was disparaged. President Buchanan was relieved that the Kansas conflict ended even though it was to be a free state. He sent warships to Paraguay, and an agreement was made.
      In 1859 Democrats blocked a homestead bill, a land-grant college bill, and financing a Pacific railroad, but they passed a tariff, giving Republicans campaign issues. The Kansas legislature abolished slavery in the state. Oregon became a state, giving free states an 18-15 advantage over slave states. Northerners opposed the Fugitive Slave Law while the South was trying to revive the outlawed foreign slave trade. Former Senator Robert Rhett of South Carolina warned that the North would free the slaves, and he suggested they establish a Southern Confederacy. New-York Tribune editor Horace Greeley visited the West and interviewed Brigham Young in Utah. The US made a treaty with China. Douglas announced he was running for President, and Lincoln made speeches in several states. Republicans won elections in Ohio, Iowa, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania while Democrats controlled Mississippi, Georgia, and Florida. Sam Houston became Governor of Texas. Buchanan sent more ships to curtail the slave trade, but he praised the Supreme Court for allowing slaves in US territories. He warned the North and South of the danger of war and advised them to develop good will toward each other. The United States negotiated a treaty with Mexico in December, but the US Senate would reject it in May 1860. More railroads improved trade and the economy.
      John Brown became a minister, and in 1837 he dedicated his life to abolishing slavery. He organized resistance to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. In 1855 he joined his sons in Kansas, and they killed five pro-slavery settlers in May 1856. He raised money in the northeast. In December 1858 he led a raid that freed eleven slaves in Missouri and helped them get to Canada. Brown raised $4,000 in Concord. In October 1859 he led 17 men who occupied the Harper’s Ferry arsenal in an attempt to provoke a slave revolt that failed. During his trial John Brown explained his motives, but he was convicted and was hanged on December 2. Henry David Thoreau eulogized Brown in a speech at Concord, and the song “John Brown’s Body” would be sung by Union soldiers.

US Western Expansion & Indian Tribes 1845-65

      By 1845 Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, and Creeks lived in the Indian Territory north of Texas. Cherokees had books and farmed; Choctaws had a newspaper, and Chickasaws had an Academy by 1848. Creeks were in boarding schools. Seminoles farmed and got a mission school in 1849. Chickasaws established an independent nation with a constitution in 1856, and that year the US ceded land for the Seminoles in the Indian Territory.
      Wars with Sioux, Kiowas, Apaches, Comanches, Cheyenne, and Arapahos had begun in 1849 and would last 40 years. The Sioux sold their land in the Minnesota area, and the Fort Laramie treaty with them and others in September 1851 promised 122,500 square miles in the Upper Platte agency.
      During the Mexican War the US General Kearney led an army that took over Santa Fé in August 1846. Military governors were there until the Great Compromise of 1850 created the New Mexico Territory. The Navaho made a treaty in 1851, and the Yuma made peace in October 1852. Comanches, Kiowas, and Apaches made a treaty with the US in 1853, but in 1854 Sauk and Foxes with rifles defeated them. In the New Mexico Territory battles occurred with the Jicarilla Apaches and the Utes. In 1859 Utes and Navajos raided each other. Navaho raids continued in 1860, and Col. Edward Canby’s army killed Navahos, burned crops, and took cattle before making a treaty. In February 1861 the United States obtained land from the Cheyenne and Arapaho, and in the Colorado Territory in 1861 they were forced on to a barren reservation. A Confederate force took over Fort Bliss in El Paso and defeated 380 Union soldiers in July, but in 1862 Union forces defeated the Confederates and drove them out of their “Arizona Territory.”
      The California gold rush began in 1848 and by 1856 would extract gold worth about $500,000,000. In 1849 more than 80,000 people came to California. In 1850 Americans imposed a tax on foreign miners. Some California laws violated the terms of the treaty that ended the Mexican-American War. The San Francisco Committee of Vigilance was organized in June 1851 to reduce homicides, and other towns followed that example. In 1851 and 1852 treaties restricted Indian tribes to 19 reservations. In 1845 California had about 150,000 Indians, but wars, disease, and other causes reduced their numbers to 75,000 by 1853 and to 35,000 by 1860. Whites discriminated against Indians, and they drove them out of some gold-mining counties. California was exporting about $60 million a year in gold; but in 1852 the legislature allotted $600,000 for the expenses of expeditions against Indians while they reduced the $120,000 to provide for the Indians to $20,000. In 1853 California vigilantes killed more Indians than the army. In 1859 silver was discovered near Virginia City, Nevada.
      Brigham Young led Mormons who were persecuted in Illinois to Iowa in 1846 and to the Great Salt Lake in 1847 and then a second exodus in 1848. He excluded blacks from the Mormon priesthood in 1849. Mormons tried to convert Indians by marrying them, and they bought children from the Utes who had threatened to kill the infants. In 1846 some Mormons had joined a US Battalion that marched from Iowa to Santa Fé and San Diego, and some took gold to Utah which became a Territory in 1850. Brigham Young was Governor of the Utah Territory 1851-58. Emigrants from Liverpool used hand-carts to get to Salt Lake City in 1856. Young had taken 46 wives by 1852 when the polygamy became known. Conflicts with soldiers led to the US Army occupying Utah until most troops were transferred in 1860.
      By 1848 the Oregon Trail had brought 11,512 people to that destination. Asahel Bush began the Democratic Oregon Statesman in March 1851 to oppose the Whigs’ Oregonian. The Cayuse had suffered from a measles epidemic in 1847 and murdered some settlers. The Cayuse War broke out in 1853 and lasted until 1855. From 1853 to 1857 the US Congress ratified 52 treaties in the Oregon, Washington, and Idaho territories which cost the tribes 157 million acres. The Rogue River Wars 1855-56 involved conflicts between miners and native tribes. In 1853 President Pierce appointed General Stevens to govern the new Washington Territory north of the Columbia River. He made treaties in 1855 with the Cayuse, Nez Perce, Umatilla, Walla Walla, Yakima, and other tribes, but the US Senate did not ratify them until 1859. In 1858 US General Newman Clarke punished Indians for using repeating rifles. The Yakima Wars 1855-58 also ended with a treaty in 1859.
      In 1862 President Lincoln created a Northwest Military Department in Minnesota and the Iowa Territory, and he sent General John Pope whose attacks led to sentencing 303 Santees to death; but Lincoln reduced the hangings to 38, the most in US history. In 1863 the US established its Arizona Territory, and the new forts Wingate and Canby were used against the Navaho who in 1864 were forced to make the “Long Walk” to a reservation in eastern New Mexico. Col. John Chivington’s army in November massacred more than 500 Cheyenne and Arapaho at Great Sandy Creek in the Colorado Territory. Nevada was admitted as a state just before the 1864 election.

United States Slavery & Division 1845-60

      Free Negroes in the northern states and in the South could work for wages and strive to get an education. Many abolitionists helped runaway slaves from the South with the Underground Railroad that guided them to find freedom in the North or move on to Canada. The Free Soil Party and the Liberty Party were organized to keep slavery out of the territories and future states. Abolitionists also challenged the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act by rescuing runaway slaves who had been recaptured. The Free Soil Party nominated an abolitionist for President in 1852. Some blacks went to Liberia, but most blacks and abolitionists opposed emigration. Abolitionists in the North organized to try to keep slavery out of Kansas by supporting Free-Soil settlers. New Hampshire and Vermont followed by Wisconsin and others passed personal liberty laws that outlawed bringing a slave into their states. The 1860 Census found 488,070 free Negroes in the US. In the 20 years before the Civil War about 30,000 slaves escaped to Canada. Abolitionists boycotted products made from unpaid slave labor. Quakers and the peace churches led the way in renouncing slave-holding, and liberal Methodists and Presbyterians joined them. Lydia Maria Child and her husband published several books and pamphlets on how to abolish slavery.
      Slave states in the South and Missouri passed laws that outlawed helping slaves. The United States census of 1850 counted 3,204,313 slaves with more than half the free Negroes in the US in the slave states. Less than 6% of whites in the South owned slaves. The income from products made by slave labor was $136,505,435. The book Pro-Slavery Argument was published in 1853. The Dred Scott decision in 1857 held that Negroes were not citizens and that the US Congress could not ban slavery in US territories. That year Hinton Helper’s Impending Crisis argued that slavery made most whites in the South poorer. Other southerners held that white workers in the North were worse off. In the late 1850s Tennessee, Texas, and Louisiana passed laws allowing the re-enslavement of free Negroes. In 1859 Arkansas banned free Negroes. The 1860 Census showed that there were 3,953,762 slaves, and in the South 37% of the people were black. In 1860 the Democratic Party supported the Fugitive Slave Law and the Dred Scott decision.
      Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery in 1849 and as “Moses” became the most skilled guide leading escaping slaves with the Underground Railroad. She supported the efforts of the radical abolitionist John Brown. During the Civil War she worked in Union camps cooking, washing and training others. Harriet became a nurse and used herbs for healing. In June 1863 she guided a black regiment that rescued 756 slaves without losing a man. She also worked for women’s rights.
      Solomon Northup was raised in a free black family in New York and became a fiddler; but he was tricked and abducted into slavery, suffering under some cruel masters for 12 years in the South. Eventually he got a message out, and prominent men helped prove his case and freed him. A journalist helped him publish the successful book 12 Years a Slave in 1853.
      A slave woman in New York did not get her freedom until she was nearly 30 years old after New York freed its slaves. She liked to pray, experienced different religious groups, and took the name Sojourner Truth in 1843. She joined abolitionists and dictated her autobiography that was published in 1850. Harriet Beecher Stowe endorsed a reprinting, and Sojourner toured lecturing and became an inspiring speaker. She met President Lincoln and worked in a hospital. Mrs. H. B. Stowe published a long article about her in the Atlantic Monthly. Lincoln sent her to counsel freed people in Virginia.
      Harriet Jacobs was raised by her enslaved parents in North Carolina. They taught her they are human beings, and she learned to read and write. She described how masters abused their female slaves, and her autobiography Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl was edited by Lydia Maria Child before it was printed in 1861.
      Frederick Douglass in 1845 with the support of the abolitionists Garrison and Wendell Phillips published the first of his three autobiographies. He had become a well known speaker and toured Ireland, Scotland, and England where he spoke on abolition, peace, suffrage, and temperance. He criticized the US war against Mexico as an effort to extend slavery. He raised money to buy his freedom so that he could not be enslaved again. He also returned with $4,000 so that he could start a newspaper. He toured with Garrison and then started The North Star in Rochester, New York. He accused the US of robbing territory from Mexico. Douglass supported women’s right to vote at the Seneca Falls convention in 1848. He helped many escape to Canada by the Underground Railroad. In 1851 his paper merged with the Liberty Party Paper and became the Frederick Douglass’ Paper with the motto “All Rights For All.” He exposed the injustices of the Fugitive Slave Act. He wrote a novella about Madison Washington who led a revolt on a slave ship. Douglass supported John Brown’s efforts to free slaves but not his plan to attack Harper’s Ferry and take hostages. Douglass went to Britain again but returned to promote emancipation of all slaves, the enlistment of black soldiers, and to help Lincoln get re-elected in 1864. In April 1865 he spoke in favor of Negroes and women getting the right to vote.

      In the winter of 1859-60 several southern states increased their military spending. Although the US House of Representatives had 109 Republicans to 101 Democrats, most of the 27 Know-Nothings were from the South. In the US Senate most of the committee chairmen were from the South. Congressmen and visitors in the gallery were armed. The Chicago Tribune endorsed Abraham Lincoln for President. He made a major speech at Cooper Union in New York, and Mathew Brady distributed his photograph. Lincoln was the first presidential candidate to support striking workers. President Buchanan vetoed the Homestead Bill, and again Democrats blocked a tariff bill. A House committee investigated the corruption of Democrats in the cabinet. The Pony Express speeded up mail between Missouri and California. The 1860 census counted 31,443,500 people including 3,953,762 slaves and 482,122 free blacks. By 1860 US railroads extended 30,600 miles. The top 10% owned 60% of US wealth while the bottom half had only 1%. The price of slaves increased 72%. Senator Charles Sumner returned in June to speak on ““The Barbarism of Slavery.” The South had seven military academies while the North had only West Point. New breech-loading rifles and explosives for cannons were being manufactured.
      By January 1860 Democrats in six northwestern states were committed to Senator Douglas of Illinois for President; but in the convention at Charleston, South Carolina that began on April 23 the 303 delegates were divided. President Buchanan and southerners refused to back Douglas. Before voting for candidates seven southern delegations walked out. Democrats still required two-thirds (202) of all delegates for nomination, and Douglas got a majority of those voting on all 57 ballots but never got near two-thirds. On May 3 they agreed to meet again at Baltimore and dispersed. The Constitutional Union Party met at Baltimore on May 9 and nominated the elderly John Bell of Tennessee and Edward Everett of Massachusetts. The Republican convention gathered in Chicago on May 16. Senator Seward of New York led on the first ballot with 173 to Lincoln’s 102; but on the second ballot they were only three votes apart, and with 231 delegates on the third ballot Lincoln soon won the nomination. Democrats met at Baltimore on June 18; but most southerners left after five days, and those remaining nominated Douglas with Herschel Johnson of Georgia for VP. Then southern Democrats met at the Maryland Institute and nominated Vice President Breckinridge of Kentucky with Senator Joseph Lane of Oregon for VP. Lincoln did not campaign, but his supporters gave 50,000 speeches for him. Douglas campaigned in most states but won only in Missouri. Lincoln won a plurality of the popular votes and 180 electors. Breckinridge got 72 electors and Bell 39. Lincoln’s name was not even on the ballot in ten southern states.
      After the election South Carolina began preparing for war. Horace Greeley editorialized in the New-York Tribune that the Cotton States had a right to secede and that it would be wrong to go to war against them. Southern states planned the election of delegates for conventions, and they began withdrawing their assets from the North. President Buchanan opposed war, but Lincoln’s spokesman said that disunion is treason. Buchanan considered secession to be unconstitutional, but he opposed forcing states to remain. He noted that the 1787 Constitutional Convention rejected that option. A Congressional committee’s compromising proposals got little support. South Carolina seceded on December 20, and they sent three commissioners to Washington. Buchanan ordered a warship to Charleston, and the attacked ship retreated on 9 January 1861.
      That month five more southern states took over federal forts and arsenals. Southern US Senators planned a convention for a confederacy at Montgomery. On January 8 Buchanan declared that Federal officers would be defended. He recognized that a revolution was occurring, and he asked Congress to act responsibly. Mississippi, Florida, and Alabama seceded by the 11th. Buchanan decided not to recognize secession. Kentucky voted against secession and opposed northern coercion. Georgia seceded. Kansas was admitted as a free state, and the Dakota, Colorado, and Nevada territories were established. Louisiana seceded on the 26th. Seward had agreed to be Lincoln’s Secretary of State, and he urged a peaceful separation.
      Six southern states adopted a constitution for the Confederate States of America (CSA) on February 8, and they elected Jefferson Davis provisional President and Alexander Stephens as Vice President. Virginia’s new Governor Letcher had suggested that a national peace conference meet in Washington in February; but 12 states were not represented, and a Senate committee and the House rejected their compromise. Texas seceded by referendum on February 23. Voters in Tennessee and North Carolina voted not to have a secession convention. Davis was inaugurated on the 18th and asked “to be left alone.” There had been no aggression, but he said they would defend their harbors and trade. Orville Browning persuaded Lincoln not to take back places already taken by seceding states so that it would not look like he was starting the war. Lincoln agreed. Seward also advised caution so that Virginia and Maryland would not secede, and Lincoln stopped using the word “treason.” Fearing an assassination, Lincoln entered Washington secretly before dawn.
      President Davis sent three commissioners to Washington to negotiate a peaceful separation, but Seward refused to recognize them or meet with them. Lincoln appointed the Republicans Seward, Salmon Chase, Edward Bates, Simon Cameron, Gideon Welles, and Montgomery Blair to be his cabinet. Although the US Congress proposed a constitutional amendment to prohibit interfering with slavery in the states, it would be ratified by only two states.
      In his Inaugural Address President Lincoln tried to assure southerners that slavery would be protected where it was, but it would not be extended. He criticized secession and affirmed his duty to collect duties and imposts and to protect the Federal government. He did not want enemies and hoped they would not start a civil war. Two days later Confederate President Davis called for 100,000 volunteers. Many men pestered Lincoln asking for jobs. He refused to recognize Confederate commissioners or allow any conversation with them. Lincoln and his cabinet discussed Fort Sumter, and they decided to send a ship to resupply the troops there.

United States Civil War 1861-1862

      Two ministers advised Lincoln to let the states secede in peace. After Major Anderson refused to surrender, on April 12 Confederate forces attacked Fort Sumter which capitulated. The city of Washington was garrisoned, and newspapers announced that war had begun. On the 15th Lincoln called up 75,000 militia for 90 days to put down insurrection. Four days later a mob in Baltimore attacked a Massachusetts regiment, and Lincoln ordered the ports of the seven seceded states blockaded. Virginia seceded, and General Robert E. Lee decided to fight for the Confederacy. Lincoln negotiated with Maryland officials, and they decided to be neutral. Lincoln extended the blockade to Virginia and North Carolina on April 27.
      The Confederate States of America (CSA) President Jefferson Davis made a speech to the Confederate Congress on April 29 in which he described in detail the reasons why they set up this confederacy, and he compared it to the colonists who rebelled against the British Empire. He noted that 12 of those 13 colonies had slaves then and that the United States Constitution recognized slaves. He explained how the North increased its power over the South and then elected a new administration that opposed slavery and claimed that the majority had a right to dominate the minority. The new Confederacy organized a government with a constitution approved by state conventions, and they sent commissioners to negotiate the differences between them and the United States. Davis complained that the US President went to war against them without the constitutional authorization of the US Congress and that they ignored the commissioners that the Confederacy sent to resolve the differences between the two nations. He noted that the US President also ordered a blockade of their ports and called forth 75,000 men for the war. Although they sought no conquest and only wished “to be left alone,” he believed they had to defend themselves. Two days later the Confederate Congress authorized $50 million in bonds and treasury notes.
      In May 1861 the North and South mobilized troops for war, though Nichols in The Age advised recognizing the Southern Confederacy. Davis called up 400,000 men for the duration of the war, and the US Navy began enlisting 400,000 men for three years. Kentucky was neutral while Missouri armed for the Confederacy. Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia joined the Confederate States. Lincoln did not want to antagonize Kentucky or Virginia, and he pursued General Winfield Scott’s strategy of strangling the southern economy. Taney and the US Supreme Court ruled that the President could not suspend habeas corpus without Congressional approval, but Lincoln ignored that. US mail service to the south ended on May 31. Frederick Douglass urged freeing the slaves so that they could fight against the South, but New York rejected that effort.
      Civil War broke out in Missouri on June 15. Unionists won all but one of 12 House elections in Maryland and Kentucky. Dorothea Dix was put in charge of US military hospitals. A convention at Wheeling in western Virginia seceded from Virginia and formed a government. Horace Greeley’s Tribune urged the US Army to attack the CSA capital at Richmond, Virginia. The US Congress met on July 4 with Republicans in control, and they approved 500,000 soldiers. Treasury Secretary Chase estimated they needed $320 million, and he suggested $80 million in taxes and $250 million in treasury notes. In the first major battle at Bull Run (Manassas) on July 21 most Union soldiers turned and fled while Confederate General Thomas Jackson earned his nickname “Stonewall.” Casualties were about even, but the Confederates gained equipment. Lincoln sent for General McClellan who had won some battles in western Virginia, and the President appointed Frémont in Missouri. Congress passed a moderate resolution to defend the Constitution and “preserve the Union.” General McClellan drilled 50,000 soldiers in Washington but was reluctant to fight. General Butler asked if he could use the escaped slaves which he referred to as “property” or “contraband.”
      In August the US Congress passed a tax of 3% on personal incomes over $800 a year, and they approved freeing slaves who had worked for the Confederate military. The Union Army began giving nurses 40 cents and one ration per day. The Secret Service arrested Rose O’Neal Greenhow for being a Confederate spy in Washington. General Frémont declared martial law in Missouri and freed slaves, but President Lincoln reprimanded him and eventually had him replaced by scholarly General Halleck. The Confederate Army lacked men and gunpowder. Lincoln in September had a third of Maryland’s Assembly arrested. US Navy Secretary Welles began enlisting “persons of color.” The Confederacy claimed the Indian Territory, but the Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Seminoles were neutral. Western Union in October extended the telegraph from Denver to Sacramento, California.
      The resignation of the elderly Winfield Scott on November 1 made McClellan commander of the Army of the Potomac, but he believed he needed 300,000 troops against a Confederate army of about 126,600 men in Virginia. A Union force landed in South Carolina and occupied the east coast for the duration. The capture of the Confederate commissioners Mason and Slidell on their way to England threatened a military conflict with the British until Lincoln was persuaded to let the diplomats go in December. Kentucky, Missouri, and North Carolina each had two governments. Confederate elections lacked opposition candidates and gave Davis and Vice President Stephens 6-year terms and made the Confederate Congress no longer provisional. Lincoln in his message to Congress asked for an Agriculture Department. His suggesting African colonization was opposed by Frederick Douglass and others. The Confederate Army forced those in the Arkansas Peace Society to enlist or face trial for treason. By the end of the year the Army of the Potomac had about 220,000 men challenged by a Confederate Army of 57,337. Cotton exports to Britain would fall drastically in 1862.
      The US War Secretary Cameron resigned in January 1862, and the House of Representatives censured him for corruption. Lincoln replaced him with the attorney Edwin Stanton. Kansas Governor Robinson reported that 5,000 fugitive slaves had found refuge in his state, and slaves from Missouri also went to Illinois and Iowa. The West Virginia Constitutional Convention excluded slaves and free blacks. US General Ulysses S. Grant led a successful attack on Fort Donelson, Tennessee. The newly elected Confederate Congress met in Richmond in February. President Davis suspended habeas corpus and declared martial law in some places. Lincoln made Senator Andrew Johnson the Military Governor of Tennessee, and Union troops occupied Nashville for the rest of the war. Julia Ward Howe wrote the lyrics of the Union’s “Battle Hymn of the Republic” using the melody of “John Brown’s Song.”
      The United States declined to assist France, Spain, and Britain in collecting debts from Mexico, and Lincoln warned that monarchies would not survive in Mexico. In March the US Congress passed Lincoln’s resolution to help states abolish slavery. Both sides used iron-clad ships, and the USS Monitor defeated the CSS Virginia. Stanton told Lincoln that the US military had 672,878 men. A machine gun was invented but proved to be too inefficient and unsafe for this war. General McClellan led 121,500 men and attacked Yorktown. Grant led 44,895 troops against 20,000 Confederates at Shiloh in which nearly 3,500 men were killed, and more than 16,400 were wounded.
      In April the US and Britain agreed to suppress the slave trade. The Confederacy lost the port of Savannah when Fort Pulaski surrendered. The US abolished slavery in the District of Columbia and compensated slave-owners, and the government also financed black emigration to Liberia and Haiti; but a large colony in Haiti failed. The Confederate Congress conscripted white men between the ages of 18 and 35, but many professions were exempted. Issuing treasury notes inflated Confederate money. US General Butler led the take-over of New Orleans and seized $80,000 in gold from the Netherlands Consulate. Admiral David Farragut’s Union warships captured Natchez, Mississippi, but the rebels reinforced Vicksburg. Confederate General Jackson captured ammunition at Winchester in May. Joseph Johnston’s CSA Army attacked McClellan’s army at Seven Pines near Richmond on May 31. Neither side won as over 11,000 men were killed, wounded or missing.
      On June 19 the United States banned slavery in its territories. McClellan’s army of 114,691 men battled Lee’s 92,000 Confederates for seven days near Richmond. Then McClellan ordered a retreat and lost the chance to take the CSA capital. The total killed was 5,128 with 23,820 wounded. The US had a deficit since the 1857 panic and for the war was borrowing at 7.3% interest. The US Congress passed luxury taxes and increased the income tax to 3% over $600 and 5% over $10,000. They were also financing the transcontinental railroad from Omaha to San Francisco. Morrill’s Homestead Act provided land grants for colleges of agriculture and mechanical arts. Lincoln called for 300,000 more volunteers for three years. France’s Napoleon III declined an alliance with the Confederacy. The Union Army paid Negro soldiers less than whites. Lincoln put Grant in command of the army in the West. Women were good nurses, and the Union Army increased their numbers. In this war twice as many men died of diseases than from combat.
      By the end of 1862 the Union had enlisted 509,000 men. Republicans began calling Democrats who opposed the war “Copperheads.” Lincoln met with black leaders, implied the races could not get along, and urged African emigration. He asked for their opinion, and they responded that all people are the same race and that they love the country with its rights and did not want to leave. After a battle between starving Santee Sioux and the US Army, 303 Indians convicted of murder and rape were given a death sentence. Lincoln reviewed the cases and pardoned all but 38 who were hanged. In August the Union Army began recruiting black soldiers on the South Carolina Sea Islands. After Jackson’s Confederate Army captured the Manassas railroad depot in August, US General John Pope led 77,000 men against Lee’s army of 50,000; 2,843 were killed, and 14,654 were wounded. Union forces abandoned Frederick. General Lee’s army invaded Maryland in September. Christians of all denominations petitioned Lincoln for emancipation, and after the bloody battle of Antietam he issued his Emancipation Proclamation that would free slaves in Confederate states which did not rejoin the United States by the end of 1862. Then Lincoln threatened to punish “any disloyal practice.” In October the Democrats made gains in US elections as war expenses reached $1,000,000,000.
      In November elections Democrats gained seats in the House of Representatives, but they were still outnumbered by Republicans and Unionists 110 to 72 and by 23 to 8 in the US Senate. Lincoln finally replaced McClellan with General Ambrose Burnside. He also had General Banks take over for Butler in New Orleans. Lincoln proposed three constitutional amendments to free slaves by compensating their owners and to fund black emigration, but they were not popular. Burnside’s forces suffered heavier casualties at Fredericksburg, Virginia than the Confederates. General Sherman’s Army of Tennessee took a beating near Vicksburg, and US General Rosecrans with 43,400 men fought a bloody battle against 35,000 Confederates led by General Bragg near Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

United States Civil War 1863-1865

      Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation went into effect in January 1863 by freeing slaves in Confederate territory which made conquest the way to liberate slaves. The war for the Union had become a war to dominate the South and free their slaves, though he advised slaves to avoid violence. Winter rain caused quagmires and spread diseases. Union desertions averaged 4,650 per month in 1863. The Ohio Democrat Vallandigham opposed the war and Lincoln’s illegal suspension of habeas corpus, and he suggested solutions. The abolitionist Higginson commanded the first Negro regiment from South Carolina, and Harriet Tubman helped their 2nd regiment liberate 727 slaves. Massive rallies in England deterred the British from recognizing the Confederacy. For the third time the US created a National Bank.
      In March the US began drafting men between the ages of 20 and 45, though many provided or hired substitutes. In the Confederacy food prices had multiplied by ten since the war began. Efforts were made in the North to help free blacks get an education. Union Leagues were started to promote loyalty. Lincoln met with Indian chiefs, and he suggested they grow food. The New-York Tribune noted that blacks were showing courage and dispelling prejudice. Confronted by hungry people, President Davis urged them to grow vegetables to prevent scurvy in the army. Thurlow Weed raised $15,000 to elect Republicans. Francis Lieber wrote a code for more humane military laws. Union forces occupied Fort Gibson in the Indian Territory.
      In early May the battles near Chancellorsville, Virginia caused heavy casualties, and Stonewall Jackson died. More men were joining black regiments in the US Army. General Burnside had Vallandigham arrested, tried, and imprisoned for treason, and then Lincoln banished him to the Confederacy. Burnside also had troops shut down the Chicago Times, but Lincoln reversed his order. West Virginia became a state in the Union in June. In early July the Union armies won a major victory with the highest casualties at Gettysburg, and Grant accepted the surrender of Vicksburg. Confederate currency depreciated 1,000%. On July 13 draft riots broke out in New York City and spread. In August 20,000 troops enforced the draft. Lincoln warned the Confederacy not to enslave black prisoners of war.
      William Quantrill led 450 outlaws who burned Lawrence, Kansas in August; but in September the Union forces took over Fort Smith, Arkansas, and Burnside’s army occupied Knoxville, Tennessee. Union soldiers overwhelmed the Sioux in the Dakota Territory, and 600 Sioux fled to Canada. Lincoln falsely claimed that Confederate leaders had made no peace proposals. In bloody battles at Chickamauga Creek a Confederate Army captured many despite heavy losses, and the army led by US General Rosecrans was then besieged at Chattanooga. North Carolina Standard editor Holden in Raleigh changed to side with the Union. In a letter Lincoln explained his war policy to General Schofield in Missouri. The Union Army began recruiting black soldiers and compensating loyal slaveowners. Lincoln declared the last Thursday in November Thanksgiving Day. By October the Union Army had 59 black regiments with 37,482 men while the Massachusetts 54th and 55th were protesting to get equal pay. Most abolitionists opposed compensating slaveowners who had stolen labor from slaves.
      Lincoln in November gave a short speech, which later became famous, at the Gettysburg Cemetery where bodies of about 20,000 soldiers had been buried. Grant’s army defeated a Confederate army near Chattanooga and captured many soldiers. By early December most armies had gone into winter quarters. The US Navy had 588 ships with 75 ironclad steamers. Lincoln proclaimed amnesty and reconstruction, restoring rights and property except slaves who were freed; but Confederate officers were not pardoned. The Confederacy stopped accepting rations for 13,000 Union prisoners at Richmond.
      In January 1864 a Missouri convention voted to abolish slavery. Senator Sumner presented women’s petitions and proposed a constitutional amendment to make everyone “equal before the law.” Lincoln called for the conscription of 500,000 more men. General Sherman commanded the Union Army of the West and took over railways for supplies and had Confederate railways and buildings destroyed. The Confederacy conscripted men from 17 to 50. Lincoln worked to make Florida a state to aid his re-election. He appointed a military governor in Louisiana. Sherman’s army rescued more than 5,000 fugitive slaves. The US Congress provided conscientious objectors for noncombatant service. Lincoln pardoned many deserters to prevent executions. He wanted a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery and worked to make Nevada a state to aid ratification. Lincoln made Grant commander of all Union armies. Citizens loyal to the Union voted for an Arkansas constitution. VP Stephens criticized President Davis for violating civil rights.
      In April 1864 General Grant commanded a Union Army of 535,000 men, and they occupied 100,000 square miles of the Confederacy. Many 3-year enlistments were ending, and about 100,000 men did not re-enlist. The Union’s Red River campaign in Louisiana failed. A Union investigation found that Confederates had killed over 300 men at Fort Pillow, Tennessee after they had surrendered. Grant and the Confederates stopped cooperating on prisoner exchanges, and more than 56,000 men would die in those prisons including about 13,000 at Andersonville in Georgia. In many battles in Virginia between the armies led by Grant and Lee in May and June both sides lost about 90,000 men. General Sherman led three armies that marched toward Atlanta. Republicans nominated Lincoln again and chose Andrew Johnson of Tennessee for Vice President. In June the US Congress agreed to give Negro soldiers equal pay, and pay for privates was increased. Both the US and the CSA raised taxes on income. Sumner got the Fugitive Slave Acts repealed.
      A radical Wade-Davis bill for a more severe reconstruction passed the US Congress in July but was vetoed by Lincoln. The Congress passed a bill to encourage immigration and replace workers who had become soldiers. Lincoln called for 50,000 more troops. Sherman’s army defeated a larger Confederate force at Atlanta and then besieged the city. Union troops assaulted Petersburg with heavy losses. Lincoln insisted on reunion and emancipation as prior conditions to peace negotiations, and CSA President Davis would not give up independence. Grant’s army surrounded Lee’s army at Petersburg. US Admiral Farragut’s ships attacked and captured the forts protecting Mobile Bay. Lincoln asked Grant to avoid loss of lives and to negotiate with Lee an end to house-burning and destruction of property. The Democratic Party nominated McClellan for President, and his policy was to end the war even if it meant preserving slavery.
      Sherman’s army took over Atlanta in September, and he expelled civilians and organized a prisoner exchange. Lincoln extended the suspension of habeas corpus to the entire United States for the rest of the war. Frémont made a deal with Lincoln and withdrew from the presidential contest. Sheridan’s US cavalry burned crops and barns and destroyed flour mills. Grant refused to exchange prisoners who could fight again. Lee’s army at Petersburg was being depleted. By the end of the war the US Army and Navy would have about 208,000 blacks fighting under 7,122 mostly white Army officers. Sherman decided to march his army across Georgia to Savannah. Nevada became a state on October 31 just in time for the election. US Chief Justice Taney died in October, but Lincoln waited until after the election to nominate Salmon Chase. Lincoln had already replaced three justices, and the Congress added a tenth justice that gave the North the advantage.
      Lincoln easily defeated McClellan in the presidential election, and Republicans made gains in Congress. Sherman had his army live off the land as they confiscated food and destroyed crops, railroads, mills, factories, and other things worth $80 million. He took over Savannah. Lincoln reported in December that the War and Navy departments had spent $776 million and that the public debt had passed $1,740 million. The US Navy had increased during the war from 42 ships to 671. The US Supreme Court certified a black lawyer. A Union Army assaulted and captured Nashville. In 1864 the Union Army had drafted 168,649 men, but Lincoln called for 300,000 more volunteers. Thomas Low Nichols wrote several books advocating progressive causes while criticizing America for its Mammonism and selfishness.
      In January 1865 the US Navy took over the main CSA port for blockade-running ships at Wilmington, North Carolina. The abolitionist General Saxton supervised 40,000 ex-slaves who settled in South Carolina. Grant agreed to exchange prisoners to get back suffering Union prisoners. A two-thirds vote was needed in the US House of Representatives to pass the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery, and Lincoln got it by giving lame-duck Democrats lucrative jobs. Lincoln and Seward met with three top Confederate leaders in February to discuss peace, and Lincoln insisted on reunion and the abolition of slavery; but they did agree to exchange prisoners. General Lee persuaded President Davis to pardon deserters who returned to the army within a month. Sherman’s army punished South Carolina for having been the first state to secede by burning buildings and bridges. The US Navy helped the army take over Charleston, and the capital at Columbia also surrendered. Tennessee amended its constitution to abolish slavery, but ratification of the US amendment banning slavery required 27 states which would not be accomplished until December 1865.
      Lincoln and War Secretary Stanton informed General Grant in March that he was not to meet with Lee except to discuss his capitulation or only military matters. On the last day of its session the US Congress created the Bureau for the Relief of Freedmen and Refugees, but the House and Senator Sumner blocked recognizing the new Louisiana government. During his presidency Lincoln replaced 1,457 of the 1,639 officials he could appoint. His second inaugural address reviewed the Civil War that was worse than most expected; but he argued that the heavy costs of the war were worth eradicating the evil of slavery, and he expressed hope that they could heal the nation’s wounds. Then at the White House he shook hands with thousands of people. He pardoned deserters who would return within two months. Confederate forces fought losing battles, and the Union Army and Navy attacked Mobile, Alabama. Both Lincoln and Grant wanted to end the war quickly.
      General Lee withdrew his army from Petersburg by April 2. President Davis moved the CSA Government from Richmond to Danville while the retreating army burned military supplies and bridges. The Union army took over Richmond, and Lincoln visited it on April 4. Grant’s army occupied Petersburg, and General Sheridan’s army pursued Lee’s army and captured their supplies at Appomattox. There on April 7 CSA General Lee and US General Grant agreed to end the war. Grant let soldiers keep their horses and mules, and he provided food for 28,231 who were paroled. The last two forts in Mobile surrendered on April 11. The next day Confederate troops formally surrendered at Appomattox. On April 14 Lincoln had a busy day meeting with members of Congress and his cabinet, and they discussed reconstruction. That evening while watching a play Lincoln was shot in the head by John Wilkes Booth, and the President died the next morning. Chief Justice Chase swore in Vice President Andrew Johnson as President. Sherman and CSA General Johnston signed an armistice on April 18, and eight days later Johnston surrendered. Booth was killed, and President Johnson appointed a military tribunal that tried other conspirators. Michigan cavalry captured Jefferson Davis on May 10. Johnson ended the blockade on May 22, and five days later he declared a general amnesty and pardon. In the Civil War about 755,000 Americans died. Around 2,100,000 men fought for the Union against about 880,000 Confederates.

American Reformers & Literature 1845-65

      The lawyer Charles Sumner wrote about peace and disarmament before he became a US Senator. Lewis Tappan and others including the American Peace Society opposed the United States’ war against Mexico. Pacifists attended International Congress meetings. In 1850 Ariel Livermore published The War with Mexico Reviewed. George Curtis lectured on liberty and criticized slavery. Charles K. Whipple opposed violence and helped slaves escape by the Underground Railroad. He noted which churches were opposing slaveholding.
      Elihu Burritt was a blacksmith, but he wrote and worked for peace and brotherhood. He helped organize the League of Universal Brotherhood in England and America. His essay on “Passive Resistance” suggested that courageous nonviolence can overcome war-making with greater moral power by decreasing or preventing fighting. He believed that peacemaking is patriotic and must oppose military despotism.
      Adin Ballou was an abolitionist, and in 1846 he published Christian Non-Resistance. He believed that “uninjurious physical force” could restrain the disturbed without harming them. He urged people to avoid killing, injuring, war, slavery, and capital punishment and not to support organizations that promote these things. He gave examples of how those who refused to support either side in a war often escaped danger because of their good will. He prophesied that when two-thirds of the people support non-resistance, then government will be able to dispense with military forces and violent punishments.
      Henry David Thoreau was well educated and spent his time studying himself and nature while teaching or doing other jobs to make a modest living for his frugal lifestyle. He and Emerson were good friends. He opposed slavery and put into practice Emerson’s transcendental philosophy. Thoreau‘s best book is Walden; or, Life in the Woods which he published in 1854. During the Mexican War he refused to pay a small tax and spent a night in jail. His 1849 essay “Resistance to Civil Government” later became “Civil Disobedience.” This brilliant work since it was discovered by Tolstoy and Gandhi has influenced many activists who want to change evils without imitating them. He urged individuals to use their conscience to be an example to all. When enough people oppose wrongs in this ethical way, then governments and other abusive organizations can be transformed.
      Ralph Waldo Emerson commended his friend Thoreau for opposing the Mexican War, and his fellow transcendentalist Theodore Parker also opposed war. Emerson supported peacemaking Americans who do not cooperate with evils and practice the non-resistance that Jesus taught. He suggested that living the law of love and justice can bring about a “clean revolution.” Emerson taught that the soul transcends conflict and has no enemies. War is mass murder and suicidal. Emerson looked at great men and urged individuals to develop their own genius. Like Thoreau he admired integrity rather than wealth, and he criticized hypocritical religions. He suggested being true to oneself and paying all one’s debts.
      Margaret Fuller died in a shipwreck in July 1850, but her Woman in the Nineteenth Century was published in 1852. Her spiritual philosophy suggests that men and women are equally important, but men have used their strength to keep women down. When women become educated equally, then they will be able to express their moral power and help perfect nature through spirit.
      Lucretia Mott was a Quaker who worked for women’s rights to bring about harmony, peace, and justice. Elizabeth Cady Stanton worked with Mott to organize a Woman’s Rights Conference at Seneca Falls, New York in July 1848. Their “Declaration of Sentiments” described women’s complaints against men and demanded equality. They passed twelve resolutions including one for the right to vote. They also organized conventions in Ohio, Massachusetts, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. Mott published her Discourse on Women in 1850. That year more prominent men joined the women at Worcester, Massachusetts, and Lucy Stone and Abby Kelley Foster emerged as capable speakers. Stanton adopted trousers, and Amelia Bloomer made them popular so that women could work better. During the 1851 convention at Akron, Ohio the ex-slave Sojourner Truth made an inspiring speech. National woman’s rights conventions were held throughout the 1850s, and new states such as California, Minnesota, Oregon, and Kansas adopted laws that were better for women. Stanton spoke to the New York legislatures. The abolitionist Wendell Phillips presented a “A Plea for Woman Suffrage” in 1861, but no conventions were held during the Civil War.
      Susan B. Anthony was raised as a Quaker and became a teacher and a skilled speaker for temperance, the abolition of slavery, and women’s rights. She began working with Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1851. In 1853 Anthony helped organize a convention in Rochester, New York for married women’s right to own property. She often spoke at the annual New York State Teachers’ Association conventions. In 1863 she and Stanton founded the Loyal Women of the Nation, and Anthony led the effort that gathered 100,000 signatures that were presented by Sumner for the US Senate in February 1864.
      Lydia Maria Child continued her extensive writing with stories and in 1855 with her 3-volume The Progress of Religious Ideas Through Successive Ages. She opposed war and slavery, and she declined to use violence to abolish slavery. In 1860 she co-authored The Right Way the Safe Way, Proved by Emancipation in the British West Indies, and Elsewhere. In 1865 she helped put together The Freedman’s Book to help emancipated slaves.
      Dorothea Dix extended her work on behalf of the insane and those in prisons. Her research persuaded New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina to improve these conditions in the late 1840s. The US Congress took six years to pass a bill, and then President Pierce vetoed the project, though a Hospital for the Insane of the Army and Navy was built in Washington DC by 1857. During the Civil War she became the first Superintendent of United States Army Nurses. Dix influenced Secretary of War Stanton to improve the military hospitals.
      John Humphrey Noyes was converted by the revivalist Charles Grandison Finney, and he accepted his theory of perfectionism. In 1846 Noyes began experimenting with communal living and sexual freedom, and the community in Oneida, New York began in 1848. This and related communities achieved economic success and distributed various publications for donations. Through temperance, anti-slavery, and Perfectionism they sought to end sin. Noyes advocated “complex marriage” with cohabitation based on mutual consent.

      James Russell Lowell’s extraordinary poem “The Present Crises” describes and foretells the moral dilemmas of human life that would follow in the Mexican War and the Civil War.
      Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote his epic poem Evangeline during the Mexican War, and it portrays British soldiers abusing men and women in the 18th century. In Longfellow’s epic Song of Hiawatha the Great Spirit advises the hero Hiawatha to avoid war and appreciate life, and he taught the nations to live as brothers.
      Walt Whitman edited a free-soil newspaper and published his Leaves of Grass in 1855. Readers can find his spirit in his “Song of Myself.” Whitman worked as a journalist, visited soldiers in hospitals, and worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
      Harriet Beecher Stowe published Uncle Tom’s Cabin as a serial and a best-selling book about a heroic slave who is skillful and conscientious but then suffers under a cruel master. Then she published the documents she used for the story as A Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin which sold 90,000 copies in the first month. This and her exciting novel accomplished the purpose of helping more people learn about the evils of slavery. The expression “Uncle Tom” has become a term of derision in the black community for one who is more loyal to white masters than to one’s colored brothers and sisters. Yet the Uncle Tom in her novel is a saintly character even Christ-like in his integrity and love for others. With good masters he has adapted to his circumstances by becoming a good Christian. Yet under Simon Legree he refuses to betray his black friends and is tortured to death for that. This book became the most powerful anti-slavery message, and Lincoln implied that it led to the Civil War.
      Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote several novels he called romances that became popular. In The Scarlet Letter Hester Prynne has been separated from her husband and is pregnant from an affair with a minister. The Puritans in colonial Massachusetts shun her and make her wear an “A” as she raises her child and for the rest of her life. Hawthorne wrote The House of Seven Gables to illustrate how the sins of one generation can be visited on their descendants. Hawthorne had visited the Brook Farm community in 1841, and he married Sophia Peabody. In The Blithedale Romance he described a similar socialist community near Boston, but it is unfair to the brilliant Margaret Fuller to identify the depressed Zenobia with her. These three novels have dark themes where evil seems to triumph, but Fuller had an uplifting spiritual philosophy.
      Herman Melville got an education before he went to sea on a whaling ship. He used his experiences in the South Seas to write the adventurous novels Typee and Omoo. His novel Mardi and a Voyage Thither takes place in the western Pacific and explores philosophical differences, but few copies were sold. His novel Redburn about a young sailor is also autobiographical based on Melville’s voyages to Liverpool and back to New York. In 1850 he published White Jacket: or, The World in a Man-of-War which describes a US Navy ship and exposes the flogging of sailors, tyrannical officers, and the sailors’ abuse of alcohol. They sail from Peru around Cape Horn to Rio de Janeiro, but the sailors are not allowed to go ashore. Melville was influenced by Shakespeare and Carlyle, and he became friends with Richard Henry Dana and Hawthorne. He studied the history of sperm whales and in 1851 published The Whale which became Moby Dick. The schoolmaster Ishmael rooms with the native Queequeg and narrates the story. Captain Ahab is obsessed with getting revenge on the white whale that took his leg, and he lets the mates Starbuck and Stubb run the ship as long as they go after that whale. Ishmael criticizes religious fanatics. They kill sperm whales and from the blubber extract the oil which fuels their civilization. Moby Dick eventually destroys their ship, and only Ishmael survives. The captain’s desire for revenge caused many deaths.
      Melville turned to writing satirical novels. In Pierre; or, The Ambiguities wealthy Pierre becomes engaged to respectable Lucy, but he becomes distracted by Isabel who tells him she is an illegitimate daughter of his father. He accepts her as his sister and lives with her, telling lies to keep his secrets. This satire of romantic relationships and sexual mores leads to tragedy. Melville satirized office jobs in his story, “Bartleby, the Scrivener.” His satirical novel Israel Potter is set during the American Revolution and is based on Henry Trumbull’s biography of Potter. He fights at Bunker Hill but is captured and taken to England where he is considered a Yankee rebel. Potter is sent to Paris where he meets Ben Franklin and Captain John Paul Jones. Later Potter joins Jones on his ship, but the British capture him and impress him into their Navy. He meets the prisoner Ethan Allen, marries a shop-girl, and never get his pension. Melville also satirized an extraordinary con artist in The Confidence-Man. The con man uses various disguises and information he picks up from other passengers on the riverboat. This was Melville’s last completed novel, and after the Civil War he published poetry in Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War.

What Could Have Prevented US Civil War?

      The United States became divided because all the northern states had abolished slavery or never had it while slavery was being imposed forcefully in the deep South and still existed in the Border States. The Republican Lincoln was the first US President to oppose strongly the extension of slavery, though he promised to respect it where it was. Yet he was not willing to negotiate any compromises over federal installations in the seceded states nor did he recognize their right to withdraw democratically and form an independent government as the US had done in becoming independent of the British Empire. Lincoln during the Mexican War had argued that secession by a majority is a political right; but he considered the Confederate States rebels and traitors and waged a vicious war against them for four years that sacrificed 755,000 lives. He could have allowed the southern experiment to exist and let slavery be abolished gradually by democratic processes as so many nations had done. President Buchanan did not believe that violence was the correct response to southern secession. Few realized that the war would last so long and be so devastating, but patriotic war fever is contagious once it has flared up.
      President Lincoln used unconstitutional war powers such as suspending habeas corpus, declaring martial law, and by arresting and allowing attacks on those opposing the war, thus enabling his army to commit war crimes. Lincoln himself had committed the worst war crime which is the crime against peace by going to all-out war in the first place. Atrocities by the Union Army and the Confederate Army increased as the war went on. During the last phase the Union Army destroyed much property. Their army also killed Sioux and other Indians.
      Understanding the history of how most nations abolished slavery without massive violence helps us see that the United States Civil War was an aberration and unnecessary. The disrespect for southern rights with such massive violence left a bitter legacy that lasted for generations with the Jim Crow segregation in the South. Americans and others need to learn from history so that unbridled militarism will not continue to kill millions of people and perhaps someday destroy the world. Understanding Lincoln’s tragic flaw may help us to change our imperialistic policies.

Evaluating the United States in 1845-65

      President Polk was elected to expand the “manifest destiny” of the United States west to the Pacific Ocean, and in 1846 he sent the US Army to invade Mexico across the Rio Grande and then from the port of Veracruz. For Americans per capita this was the most deadly war in its history so far, and Mexico lost half its territory as well as suffering heavier human casualties and economic damage. Ulysses Grant believed that the US would be punished for this war with its Civil War. Colt’s revolver made killing easier. Immigrants from Ireland, Germany, and Scandinavia contributed their labor, and Pennsylvania decreased the factory work day to ten hours. Polk had promised to serve for only one four-year term, but he managed to initiate the militaristic imperialism of the United States.
      In 1848 Whigs elected as President the southern General Zachary Taylor, and he used diplomacy and prevented an invasion of Canada. Charles Sumner tried to integrate segregated schools in Massachusetts. Taylor opposed attempts to solve the slavery problem; but after his death in July 1850, Millard Fillmore became President and approved the Great Compromise worked out by Henry Clay and others in the Congress that included a stronger Fugitive Slave Act. They also banned the slave trade in Washington DC. Fillmore reduced the debt, kept the peace, and made improvements. Telegraph lines and railways improved communication and transportation. The British and the US avoided conflicts by making treaties on the Canadian border and with Central America. The novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin described the evils of slavery. The Democrats gained control of the Congress, and then in 1852 they elected President Franklin Pierce.
      The Pierce administration reduced the national debt by selling public land and then bought more land from Mexico. In 1854 the Kansas-Nebraska Act turned the Kansas Territory into a political battleground between proslavery men from Missouri and northern Free Soil settlers. The anti-immigrant and secretive “Know Nothings” formed the American Party that won some elections but then split into northern and southern parties. President Pierce favored the proslavery government set up in Kansas by Missourians, and the conflict there increased in violence until Pierce made Geary governor. In 1856 Geary acted impartially to reduce violence and allow democracy to work.
      By 1845 most native tribes had been moved west of the Mississippi River. The uprooted Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Creeks, and Seminoles tried to advance their more civilized cultures in the Indian Territory. Other western tribes had more conflicts with each other and US settlers and suffered from disadvantageous treaties imposed by US military forces. The US took the New Mexico Territory from Mexico in that war. The gold rush quickly populated and developed California, but miners, soldiers, and other settlers killed many Indians. Mormons took refuge in Utah, and emigrants to Oregon and US military also dominated native tribes.
      Free Negroes in the North and South could work to better themselves, and abolitionists aided them. About 30,000 slaves ran away and emigrated to Canada, and some Free Negroes went to Liberia. Abolitionists supported the education of blacks. Slave-state governments passed laws to perpetuate slavery, and in 1857 the US Supreme Court confirmed that Negroes were not citizens and that slavery could not be kept out of US territories. The exploitation of slaves in the South depressed economic progress there compared to the North. Harriet Tubman and others in the Underground Railroad helped slaves running away become free. Slave narratives and novels like Uncle Tom’s Cabin exposed the evil institution that used people as property. Frederick Douglass by his speaking and writing worked to abolish slavery and with women for their rights.
      Democratic President James Buchanan had been a diplomat, and he avoided wars. Many in his party defended slavery, but his attempt to back the proslavery regime in the Kansas Territory would be eventually outvoted by free-state settlers. Speculation and perhaps a tariff led to an economic depression in 1857 that ended by 1859. Overcrowded cities caused epidemics. The US Supreme Court’s decision in the Dred Scott case outraged northerners, and abolitionists continued to resist the Fugitive Slave Act. Republican Abraham Lincoln challenged Democrat Stephen Douglas in debates. Although Senator Douglas was re-elected in 1858, Lincoln’s opposition to slavery in US territories gained national attention. Southerners resented their loss of power as the admission of free states outnumbered slave states 18-15. Buchanan and the South blocked the homestead and land-grant college bills that northerners wanted. The radical abolitionist John Brown led an audacious raid on the Harper’s Ferry arsenal that failed to provoke a slave revolt, but his execution made him a martyr.
      Southern states began increasing their military spending. In 1860 the Democratic Party was split by North and South, and the Constitution Party won only the border states. The Republicans met in Chicago and nominated Abraham Lincoln. If the Democrats had not divided, Senator Stephen Douglas probably would have been elected. Lincoln won almost all the northern states and was not even on the ballots in the South. This divided the nation, and South Carolina prepared for war and initiated secession. President Buchanan avoided war and urged good will, but some northerners did not want to compromise on slavery. The Confederate States of America (CSA) began with seven states on February 8, and they elected Jefferson Davis President who asked the North to leave them alone.
     The CSA sent diplomats to Washington, but the new President Lincoln refused to recognize them. Although Lincoln promised not to interfere in the slave states, he opposed extending it in territories. Davis prepared to defend the new republic, and conflict over Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor triggered the terrible Civil War. Lincoln called up troops to suppress the “insurrection,” and several more states joined the CSA but not all the border states. Davis compared their situation to the colonies who had rebelled against the British, and he sought independence. Lincoln refused to negotiate a peaceful separation and launched a war to preserve the Union with a blockade of southern ports. The war escalated in 1861 as gradually more men joined the armies. If both or even either government had refused to go to war, the terrible Civil War could have been avoided; but leaders on both sides were at fault for starting and perpetrating what was perhaps the first major modern war in which industries were a deciding factor.
      The corrupt US Secretary of War Cameron had to resign in January 1862. People in western Virginia seceded from that state and became West Virginia in the United States. The reluctance of US General McClellan to fight slowed down the war in the East. Both sides suspended habeas corpus and declared martial law in various places. The inventions of rifles, revolvers, and explosive cannon balls increased the carnage in this war. Ironclad ships were less vulnerable but also more powerful. The North had the advantage of more people and manufacturing while the South remained mostly agricultural with much land used for cotton, tobacco, and sugar. The southerners had only more military academies, and slavery became a burden.
      Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation is historic but depended on conquest by war to put it into effect, and he used war powers to suspend habeas corpus in order to suppress dissent in the United States. Blacks were given the opportunity to fight and help win the war, but they had to protest to get equal pay. Disease killed more people than the fighting. Many Union soldiers deserted in 1863, and both sides used a military draft to get more soldiers. Suffering in the Confederate States increased with lack of food. Some free blacks were getting educated in the North. Francis Lieber suggested how to make military laws more humane. Large battles at Shiloh, Antietam, Murfreesboro, Chancellorsville, Vicksburg, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, The Wilderness, and Spotsylvania became more deadly. Lincoln offered amnesty for those who surrender but excepted officers. Lincoln at Gettysburg commemorated soldiers who killed each other; but are they made more sacred than those who work for justice and freedom without violating others?
      In 1864 Lincoln and the Confederacy called for more soldiers. Missouri abolished slavery, and Arkansas rejoined the Union. The advantage of the United States over the Confederacy accelerated. General U. S. Grant became commander of the Union Army, and General Sherman led the Army of the West. Grant stopped prisoner exchanges as Confederate forces dwindled. About 56,000 soldiers would die in prison camps on both sides. The armies of Grant and the Confederate Robert E. Lee lost at least 90,000 men in the spring. Sherman’s army took over Atlanta and marched to the sea destroying and stealing property. Lincoln continued to squelch dissent by extending the suspension of habeas corpus to the entire nation; but he did not replace the Chief Justice until after he won re-election. The North added a tenth justice and took control of the Supreme Court. The debt of the United States passed $1,740 million.
      The American Peace Society opposed the US war against Mexico and worked to educate people. Burritt and Ballou promoted the passive resistance and Christian non-resistance taught by Jesus. William Lloyd Garrison was a prominent leader of the abolitionists, and he opposed using any violence and even urged the free states to secede in order to form a government without any slavery. Thoreau was influenced by Emerson’s transcendentalism and studied nature. He followed his conscience by refusing to pay a tax to a government involved in an imperialistic war. His radical method of civil disobedience would become a key technique for effective and loving protest. Emerson continued his brilliant lecturing and writing based on a spiritual philosophy.
      Margaret Fuller had a similar philosophy and wrote a major work on the plight of women in her time. Lucretia Mott worked with friends to abolish slavery, to end oppression and wars, and to gain equal rights for women. She and Elizabeth Cady Stanton organized the historic women’s rights conference that started the suffrage movement in America. Susan B. Anthony began with abolition and temperance but moved on to dedicate her life to women’s rights. Lydia Child wrote on the history of various religions and on how to abolish slavery without a war. Dorothea Dix continued her work to help the insane and prisoners, and she supervised nurses in the Civil War. John Humphrey Noyes began a commune that explored sharing property and sexual freedom.
      The poets Lowell, Longfellow, Whittier, and Whitman offered their insights. Yet what influenced most people was the novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe who revealed the extreme injustices and cruelty of slavery in this era. Nathaniel Hawthorne considered his novels romances and explored moral and ethical themes in The Scarlet Letter, The House of Seven Gables, and The Blithedale Romance. Herman Melville wrote several novels drawing from his experiences at sea and using his imagination to tell exciting stories especially in Moby Dick. His novels Pierre, Israel Potter, and The Confidence-Man satirized different aspects of American society then and showed how people can be deceived.
      When Lincoln was elected US President in 1860, the nation was divided over slavery policies. Lincoln refused to recognize the right of southern states to secede and would not compromise over tariff revenues and federal installations in the territory of the Confederate States. South Carolina demanded control over forts in its territory and drove federal troops out of Fort Sumter with almost no casualties. Lincoln could have prevented war, but instead he blockaded southern ports and raised a large army to win a long war against those he considered rebels. Yet he could have recognized the independence of the Confederacy and let them solve their own slavery problem that so many other nations had accomplished without violence. Lincoln used unconstitutional war powers and began the militaristic and imperial United States Presidency that has continued and still tries to dominate the world. His presidency must be considered, not the best, but the worst and most tragic in the history of the United States.

Copyright © 2020-2021 by Sanderson Beck

United States & Civil War 1845-1865 has been published as a book. For ordering information, please click here.

Polk & the US-Mexican War 1845-49
US of Taylor, Clay & Fillmore 1849-52
US of Pierce & Kansas Conflicts 1853-56
US Western Expansion & Indians 1845-65
Black Americans & Abolitionists 1845-65
United States & Buchanan 1857-59
United States Dividing 1860-61
Lincoln’s War for Union in 1861
Lincoln’s War for Union in 1862
Lincoln’s War for Emancipation in 1863
Lincoln’s War for Emancipation in 1864
United States Victory in 1865
Preventing United States Civil War
US Peacemakers & Women Reformers 1845-65
American Literature 1845-65
Summary & Evaluating United States 1845-1865
Lincoln's Last Day

World Chronology
Chronology of America

BECK index