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Excellent Quotes From Lincoln And Others About Civil War causes

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Quote Originally Posted by 1stvermont View Post

Preserving the Union

“The war now prosecuted on part of the federal government is a war for the union”
-Secretary of war Simon Cameron August 8 1861


"My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause."
-Abraham Lincoln The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln Letter to Horace Greeley August 22, 1862

One reason the north went to war was simply to preserve the union.Lincoln and the north wanted to preserve the nation and wanted to create a all powerful empire/nation controlled by Washington. An America that was split, was less powerful. Lincoln also did not want to be remembered as the president who allowed the nation to separate.


Did Lincoln go to war to end Slavery?


“The condition of slavery in the several states would remain just the same weather it [the rebellion] succeeds or fails”
-Secretary Seward to US Ambassador to France

“I have said a hundred times, and I have now no inclination to take it back, that I believe there is no right, and ought to be no inclination in the people of the free States to enter into the slave States, and interfere with the question of slavery at all.”
-Abraham Lincoln 1858


“The pretense that the “abolition of slavery” was either a motive or justification for the war, is a fraud... undertaken for maintains and intensifying that political, commercial, and industrial slavery to which they have subjected the great body of people, both white and black”
-Northern Abolitionist Lysander Spooner



Lincoln and the north did not invade the south to end slavery. The north maintained slavery in states such as Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware and Missouri, during and after the civil war. Lincoln had no problem with the upper south slave states in the union such as Virginia as he called for volunteers to attack the deep south to repress the rebellion. The 1860 the republican platform plank 4 said slavery was a state issue and they would not interfere. Lincoln said the states had the right to chose on slavery and he would not interfere with slavery where it already existed.

“I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere Untitled with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so”
-Abraham Lincoln Inaugural address


Lincoln in his inaugural address said he supported the Corwin amendment.This amendment was first proposed in Dec 1860 and passed both the house and senate. It would have made slavery a constitutional right to states and permanently untouched by congress. Lincoln also said he supported the Fugitive slave act. During the war after the south left the union, the north controlled congress yet they did not end slavery. After the south succeeded the federal government decided it would not end slavery in the house on Feb 1861 and senate march 2 1861. On July 221861 congress declared “This war is not waged , nor purpose of overthrowing or interfering with the rights or established institutions [slavery] of those states.” October 8th 1861 the newspaper Washington D.C National Intelligence said “The existing war had no direct relation to slavery.”

“ I think as much of a rebel as I do an abolitionist”
-Union General Phil Kerney



In the early parts of the war Union soldiers and generals returned any runaway slaves back to their southern masters. General McClellan ordered runaway slaves back to masters in Virginia. When union general John Fremont emancipated slaves in union occupied Missouri, Lincoln recalled the orders and relived Fremont of his command. When union general David Hunter ordered general order number 11, declaring all slaves in SC/GA/FL to be “forever free” Lincoln revoked the proclamation and also ordered Hunter to disband the 1st South Carolina regiment made up of blacks hunter had enlisted. Late in 62 Lincoln supported in union held territory in VA and LA to continue slavery and allow the slave owners peacefully back into the union. Slavery led many especially in the old Whig party to “cling more tightly tthe union.”


“Howard county [MO] is true to the union” “our slaveholders think it is the sure bulwark of our slave property”
-Abeil Lenord a Whig party leader at onset of war


Had the war ended earlier, slavery would have not been touched.


Did the war Become about slavery After the Emancipation Proclamation

“My enemies pretend I am now carrying on this war for the sole purpose of abolition. So long as I am president . It shall be carried on for the sole purpose of restoring the union”
-Abraham Lincoln Aug 15 1864


The emancipation proclamation was a war measure and did not touch on slavery as an institution at all. Any southern state that wished to keep slavery, only had to rejoin the union with slavery intact. It actually did not free a single slave. After the emancipation proclamation northern troop desertion skyrocketed, and recruitment plummeted, indicating the average union solider was not fighting for slavery.

“Great pains have been taken, by the North, to make it appear to the world, that the war was a sort of moral, and religious crusade against slavery. Such was not the fact. The people of the North were,indeed, opposed to slavery, but merely because they thought it stood in the way of their struggle for empire”
-RaphaelSemmes 1868



Another reason for the proclamation was to make sure Europe did not enter the was for the south. If they could make the war look like it was over slavery, than Europe could not enter. In 1864 legislature in Texas said the Yankees were “lying to themselves and pretending to the rest of the world” that they were “fighting for the freedom of 4 millions happy and content slaves” but were really intent on“enslaving 8 million free-men.”


“It was necessary to put the South at a moral disadvantage by transforming the contest from a war waged against states fighting fort their Independence into a war waged against states fighting for the maintenance and extension of slavery…and the world, it might be hoped, would see it as a moral war, not a political; and the sympathy of nations would begin to run for the North, not for the South.”
-Woodrow Wilson, “A History of The American People”,page 231







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