Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution by James M. McPherson

By James M. McPherson

James McPherson has emerged as considered one of America's best historians. Battle Cry of Freedom, his Pulitzer Prize-winning account of the Civil battle, was once a countrywide bestseller that Hugh Brogan, in The manhattan occasions ebook Review, known as "history writing of the top order." In that quantity, McPherson collected within the huge sweep of occasions, the political, social, and cultural forces at paintings through the Civil struggle period. Now, in Abraham Lincoln and the second one American Revolution, he bargains a sequence of considerate and interesting essays on features of Lincoln and the battle that experience hardly been mentioned in depth.

McPherson back screens his prepared perception and sterling prose as he examines numerous severe topics in American heritage. He appears heavily on the President's function as Commander-in-Chief of the Union forces, exhibiting how Lincoln cast a countrywide army method for victory. He explores the significance of Lincoln's nice rhetorical abilities, uncovering how--through parables and figurative language--he used to be uniquely in a position to speak either the aim of the warfare and a brand new which means of liberty to the folk of the North. In one other part, McPherson examines the Civil conflict as a moment American Revolution, describing how the Republican Congress elected in 1860 handed an superb blitz of recent legislation (rivaling the 1st hundred days of the recent Deal), and the way the struggle not just destroyed the social constitution of the previous South, yet significantly altered the stability of strength in the United States, finishing 70 years of Southern strength within the nationwide government.

The Civil battle used to be the only such a lot reworking and defining adventure in American historical past, and Abraham Lincoln continues to be an important determine within the pantheon of our mythology. those swish essays, written through one in all America's major historians, provide clean and weird views on either.

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He wrote about it in articles for a Vienna newspaper and in private letters to his colleague Friedrich Engels. Marx described the war for the Union against the “slave oligarchy” as a potentially “world transforming … revolutionary movement” if the North would only seize the moment to proclaim the abolition of slavery. When Lincoln did so, Marx was ecstatic. “Never has such a gigantic transformation taken place so rapidly” as the liberation of four million slaves. “Out of the death of slavery” would spring “a new and vigorous life” for working-class people of all races, wrote Marx, for “labor with a white skin cannot emancipate itself where labor with a black skin is branded.

Plantation agriculture in the South was not a form of feudalism, Moore insists; rather, it was a special form of capitalism that spawned a value system and an ideology that glorified hereditary privilege, racial caste, and slavery while it rejected bourgeois conceptions of equality of opportunity, free labor, and social mobility. Thus the war was a struggle between two conflicting capitalist systems—one reactionary, based on slave labor, and fearful of change; the other progressive, competitive, innovative, and democratic.

At most, it is but a moral right, when exercised for a morally justifiable cause. ”14 In Lincoln’s view, secession was just such a wicked exercise. The event that precipitated it was his own election, which had been achieved by a constitutional majority according to constitutional procedures. The Republicans had done nothing against the law, had violated nobody’s constitutional rights. Indeed, seven states had seceded and formed the Confederacy a month before Lincoln even took office. As northerners saw it, the South, having controlled the national government for most of the previous two generations through its domination of the Democratic party, now decided to leave the Union just because it had lost an election.

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