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Cover Art
Author McClintock, Russell.

Title Lincoln and the decision for war : the northern response to secession / Russell McClintock.

Published Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, 2008.


Location Call No. Status
 UniM Bail  973.7 MCCL    AVAILABLE
Physical description xii, 388 pages ; 25 cm.
Series Civil War America.
Civil War America.
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index.
Contents 1. On the Brink of the Precipice: The Election of 1860 -- 2. I Would Not Endanger the Perpetuity of This Union: November -- 3. Proportions of Which I Had but a Faint Conception: Early December -- 4. The Issues of the Late Campaign Are Obsolete: Late December -- 5. We Know Not What a Day or Two or an Hour May Bring Forth: December-January -- 6. One's Opinions Change Fast in Revolutionary Times: January-February -- 7. The Storm Is Weathered: January-February, Revisited -- 8. A Calm Pervades the Political World: March -- 9. Any Decision Would Be Preferable to This Uncertainty: March-April -- 10. Everybody Now Is for the Union: April-May -- Conclusion: Shall It Be Peace, or a Sword?
Summary "When Abraham Lincoln's election in 1860 prompted several Southern states to secede, the North was sharply divided over how to respond. Some argued that disunion must be prevented, even if it meant going to war; others insisted that responding with force would only render reunion impossible. In this ground-breaking book, Russell McClintock follows the decision-making process to the one man who could ultimately make the call for war: Lincoln." "From small towns to big cities and from state capitals to Washington, D.C., McClintock highlights individuals both powerful and obscure to demonstrate the ways ordinary citizens, party activists, state officials, and national leaders interacted to influence the Northern response to what was essentially a political crisis. He argues that although Northerners' reactions to Southern secession were understood and expressed through partisan newspapers and officials, the actual decision fell into the hands of an ever-smaller handful of people until finally it was Lincoln alone who would choose whether the future of the American republic was to be determined through peace or a sword." "McClintock shows that only after a desperate struggle to peaceably prevent the nation's disintegration did Lincoln opt for war. At that point, in his most controversial move of the long secession winter, Lincoln arranged events in such a way that Northerners could not help but place the blame for opening hostilities where he believed it belonged: on the seceding states. With the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter, Northern partisan rancor dissolved into consensus on the critical issue of national survival, making war all but inevitable." "Lincoln and the Decision for War illuminates the immediate origins of the Civil War, demonstrating that Northern thought evolved quite significantly as the crisis unfolded. It also provides an intimate understanding of the antebellum political system as well as Lincoln's personal acuity in his early presidential career."--BOOK JACKET.
Subject Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865 -- Political and social views.
Secession -- Southern States -- Public opinion.
Nationalism -- Northeastern States -- History -- 19th century.
Political culture -- Northeastern States -- History -- 19th century.
Public opinion -- Northeastern States -- History -- 19th century.
United States -- Politics and government -- 1861-1865 -- Decision making.
United States -- Politics and government -- 1857-1861 -- Decision making.
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Causes.
Northeastern States -- Politics and government -- 19th century.
ISBN 9780807831885 (cloth : alk. paper)