Read: May 12 - June 6
Format: Hardback 583 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject: Political issues leading to Civil War
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, Chunkster, SYLL , RTT
Category: Who/What/When/Where/How/Why? - Bios/history
Americans have heard much about the Civil War and how it started over slavery and the attack at Fort Sumter but after finishing this book, the reader realizes that the Civil War was about so much more.
In this book, which spans the era of time from 1848 when Zachary Taylor was elected President after the Mexican American War to the first shots at Fort Sumter in 1861, the deluge of information concerning the issues of the time can often be overwhelming. The Southerners were concerned about the apparent efforts of the Northerners to prevent them from continuing their society in the manner of the day and the Northerners were trying to prevent the spread of slavery into the territories.
The reason that the book starts with the time period after the Mexican American war is blatantly obvious because of the additional territories acquired in the settlement from Mexico. The political arenas of this era were filled with Northern Abolitionists, Southern Secessionists, and all manner in-between. As the political battles raged, "the South became increasingly a closed society, distrustful of isms from outside and unsympathetic toward dissenters".
Yet the decisions made by the states to attempt secession were not simply n the spur of the moment as sometimes implied by historians, but was discussed and threatened on numerous occasions for several decades. After Lincoln's election 120 days elapsed before his inauguration ad during that time, the southern states held numerous conventions to determine their "plan of attack" to the situation. In the time that it took Lincoln to get from Illinois to Washington, the Southerners had held their conventions and created a provisional government and elected Jefferson Davis as their President.
What was the Union doing you ask? President Buchanan was trying to be peacemaker (unsuccessfully) and Lincoln was waiting for his "power". As President-Elect he had none. After taking office, Lincoln had to deal with the various factions and determine his stance and political reactions to the Southern states that had "seceded".
The crisis had arrived and had to be dealt with and Lincoln set about to do just that. His policy was that the Union needed to be preserved at any cost and thus civil war was thrust upon a nation.
So much information to absorb but I'm hoping that this background will help when I move forward from this time period to the actual war itself.
I knew that there were alot issues related to the Civil War and so I asked someone who I thought was very knowledgeable about the era what book to read. JOYCEPA of the ClubRead group told me that this was one of the best and I want to thank her for the recommendation.