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After Lincoln’s election in November 1860, secessionist fervor quickly swept through the Deep South. In Washington, political leaders spent the next 4 months in a desperate race against time before Lincoln was inaugurated. Choosing Sides I. The movement towards secession was most rapid in South Carolina. A. Since 1850 Robert Rhett and other SC ‘fire-eaters’ had been planning secession, and upon Lincoln’s election called for a convention to achieve their goal. II. Over the next 6 weeks, secessionists in the 6 cotton states called for similar conventions. They also organized vigilante groups to suppress local Unionists and mobilized the state militia to prepare for war. A. In Feb the secessionists met in Montgomery to proclaim a new nation—the Confederate States of America. They adopted a provisional constitution and named Jefferson Davis as provisional president. III. Secessionist fervor was less widespread in the 8 upper south states, where there were fewer slaves and yeoman farmers had greater political power. A. For many decades yeomen had resented the authority claimed by the slaveowning gentry, and some actively opposed it. B. The legislatures of Virginia and Tennessee did not join secessionist movement but voted to resist federal invasion of the seceded states. C. Seeking a compromise that would restore the Union, Upper South leaders proposed that the federal government guarantee that slavery would be protected in the states where it already existed. IV. Meanwhile, the Democratic-controlled Union government floundered. A. Buchanan declared secession illegal but said that the federal government lacked the authority to restore a state to the Union by force. The Crittenden Plan I. As the crisis continued, Buchanan urged Congress to find a compromise. A. The proposal that received the most support was from John Crittenden, a prime architect of the Compromise of 1850. B. Crittenden’s proposal had 2 parts. The 1st, which won congressional approval, called for a constitutional amendment that would permanently protect slavery from federal interference in any state where it already existed. C. To deal w/the territories, Crittenden offered a 2nd provision that called for westward expansion of the Missouri Compromise line to the CA border. II. Congressional Republicans rejected Crittenden’s plan for the territories. A. Lincoln was determined to hold up the principle of free soil and feared that extending the Missouri Compromise line would encourage the South to embark on an imperialist expansion of slavery into Mexico, the Caribbean, and Latin America. The Seizure of Fort Sumter I. W/I a month of Lincoln’s inauguration the garrison at fort Sumter needed supplies. To maintain his credibility, the president dispatched a relief expedition; but, to avoid giving the Confederacy an excuse to go to war, he informed South Carolina authorities that his naval force would not land troops or arms unless the delivery of food and medicine was disrupted. II. Jefferson Davis and his Confederate government decided to use this opportunity to take Fort Sumter by force. A. They hoped that an armed confrontation would turn the wavering Upper South against the North and win British and French support. B. After the confrontation, all hope of compromise was over. III. Northern states responded to Lincoln’s call to arms w/enthusiasm. Many northern Democrats were equally committed to the Union cause. The Conquest for the Upper South I. The white residents of the Upper South now had to choose b/w the Union and Confederacy, and their decision was crucial. II. The weight of history decided the outcome in Virginia, the original home of slavery and a longtime advocate of states’ rights. A. North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas soon joined Virginia in the Confederacy and sent troops to that state’s defense. III. Lincoln moved aggressively to hold the rest of the Upper South. In May he ordered George McClellan to take control of northwestern Virginia, thus securing the railway line b/w the DofC and the Ohio Valley. A. 5 months later, the region’s yeomen voters approved the creation of a new state, West Virginia, which was admitted to the Union in 1863.
B. In Maryland, where support for slavery was strong, there was much less enthusiasm for the Union cause. C. Lincoln ordered a military occupation of the state and imprisoned suspected secessionists. IV. Lincoln also mobilized support for the Union among German Americans in MI, a key state w/respect to trade and military operations. V. In Kentucky secessionist and Unionist sentiment was evenly balanced, and Lincoln moved cautiously. Not until after Unionists had taken control of the state government did he order federal troops to cut Kentucky’s export trade to the Lower South. Settling War Aims and Devising Military Strategies I. Upon secession, Confederate leaders called on their people to defend the independence of the new nation. This decision to focus on the defense of the Confederacy gave southern leaders a strong advantage: they needed only a military stalemate to guarantee Confederate independence. II. However, the Confederacy’s firm commitment to slavery undermined its support in Europe. III. To muster support in the North, Lincoln portrayed secession as an attack on republican government and the rule of law. Only by crushing the rebellion could the nation preserve its democratic-republican principles. IV. This politically driven need for a decisive victory determined Lincoln’s military strategy. A. He considered, and rejected, the policy of attrition proposed by Winfield Scott, which called for blockading the Confederacy on all sides and squeezing it into submission through economic sanctions. B. Instead, Lincoln called for an aggressive military strategy, hoping that an early Union triumph would quickly bring an end to the rebellion. The Union Thrust toward Richmond I. B/c of Virginia’s size and its historic importance as the home of presidents and the defender of states’ rights, the Confederacy located its capital at Richmond. A. Aware that the northern public would welcome a strike toward the Confederate capital, Lincoln launched a significant attack. II. Quickly realizing that the rebellion would not be easily crushed, the president called on Congress to raise more men. To bolster northern morale, which had been shattered by their defeat at Bull Run, he replaced generals, selecting George McClellan. III. In April 1862 McClellan launched the 1st successful offensive of the war, a thrust toward Richmond. A. McClellan failed to exploit the resulting weakness of the Confederate forces, refusing to renew the offensive unless he received fresh troops. Lee’s First Invasion of the North I. Lee promptly went on the offensive, hoping for victories that would humiliate Lincoln’s government. A. Lee routed a small Union army in the Second Battle of Bull Run then advanced toward the northern states through Maryland, where he met w/near disaster. B. Outnumbered by Union forces, Lee was saved by Jackson’s forces. II. In public Lincoln declared Antietam a victory, but privately he believed that McClellan should have fought Lee to the finish. He began what would be a long struggle to find a suitable replacement. The War in the West I. In the west, Union forces were more successful. Their goal was to control the Ohio, Mississippi, and Missouri Rivers, thereby dividing the Confederacy and reducing the mobility of its armies. A. Early in 1862 the Union army launched a series of highly innovative land and water operations to gain control of the area. II. As 1862 ended, Union armies pushed Confederate troops out of Kentucky and most of TN. Stalemated in the East, Union armies in the West had scored some significant victories that undermined Confederate strength in the MI valley. Toward Total War I. The carnage at Antietam and Shiloh made it clear that the war would be long and costly. The conflict now became a total war—a struggle that arrayed the entire resources of the 2 societies against each other and would eventually result in warfare against enemy civilians on both sides. A. Aided by a strong party and a talented cabinet, Lincoln skillfully mobilized the North for all-out war, organizing an effective central government. B. Jefferson Davis was less successful b/c he had 11 states that were suspicious of centralized rule. Mobilizing Armies and Civilians
I. At first, patriotic fervor prompted partisans on both sides to support the war. The Military Draft I. Given such sentiments the initial call for soldiers were greeted w/enthusiasm, especially in the South, which had a strong military tradition and ample supply of trained officers. A. The surge of enlistments fell as people saw the realities of war. Soon both governments faced the necessity of a military draft. II. The Confederacy was the 1st to act. It imposed the 1st legally binding draft in American history. A. One law extended all existing enlistments for the duration of the war; another required 3 years of military service from all able-bodied men b/w the ages of 18 and 35, then later to 45. III. This Confederate legislation had 2 controversial provisions. 1st, it exempted one white man per plantation for every 20 slaves, allowing the owners and supervisors of large plantations to avoid military service. 2nd, the law permitted drafted men to hire substitutes. A. By the time this provision was repealed in 1864, the price for a substitute had risen to $300. IV. Consequently, some southerners refused to serve, and the Confederate government lacked the power to compel them. A. B/c the Confederate constitution vested sovereignty in the individual states, determined governors simply ignored the draft call. B. Elsewhere, state judges issued writs of habeas corpus and ordered the Confederate army to release protesting draftees. C. The Confederate congress was reluctant to override the judges’ authority to free conscripted men, but as the war progressed the army’s need for new recruits prompted the Congress to suspend habeas corpus. V. B/c of the better-established institutions, the Union government took a more authoritarian stance toward potential foes and ordinary citizens. A. To prevent opposition to war, Lincoln suspended habeas corpus and imprisoned thousands of Confederate sympathizers w/o trial. B. He also extended martial law to those civilians who discouraged enlistment or resisted the draft. C. The Militia Act of 1862 set a quota of volunteers for each state. D. As hostilities increased, Congress passed the Enrollment Act of 1863, which raised the age limit for military service to 45 and instituted high quotas for each congressional district. Knowing that the conscription would be unpopular, northern officials used cash bounties to entice volunteers E. Wealthy men could avoid the draft by paying an exemption fee. VI. The Enrollment Act sparked the first significant opposition to the northern war effort. A. Ordinary laborers and artisans protested against the high commutation fee and thousands of recent immigrants refused to serve. B. Northern Democrats exploited these resentments against the Enrollment Act by charging that Lincoln was drafting poor whites in order to free slaves who would create competition. The Civilian War Effort I. The Union government’s determination to wage total war won greater support among native-born citizens. A. In 1861 prominent NYers established the United States Sanitary Commission. Its task was to provide medical services and prevent the spread of wartime diseases. B. It gathered supplies, improved sanitary standards, and recruited battlefield nurses. II. The efforts of the Sanitary Commission were not consistently successful. III. Women took a reading role in the Sanitary Commission and other wartime government agencies, opening new occupations for women. A. Thousands of educated Union women joined the war effort as clerks in the expanding government bureaucracy. In the south, women staffed the Postal Service. B. Millions of women assumed greater economic responsibilities and worked w/greater intensity than before. Mobilizing Resources and Money I. The Union entered the war w/2/3 of the population, 2/3 of the railroad mileage, and 90% of industrial output. The North had a great advantage in the manufacture of canons and rifles b/c many of its arms factories were equipped for mass production. II. The Confederacy could mobilize enormous armies and had slaves to help support the wartime economy. A. It used cotton as a diplomatic weapon, hoping that it would inspire the British to grant economic aid. Forging New Economic Policies
The outcome of the conflict hinged on the ability of the 2 governments to mobilize the resources of their respective societies. Lincoln and the Republicans had a clear economic agenda. To build political support for their party and boost industrial output, they enacted virtually the economic program—the American System—advocated by Henry Clay and the Whig Party. A. The Republicans raised tariffs to 2x their prewar levels, winning praise from northeastern manufacturers and laborers. B. Secretary of the Treasury Salmon Chase created a new national banking system by linking thousands of existing local banks. This integrated system was more extensive in scope and more effective in raising capital and controlling inflation. II. The Lincoln administration fulfilled Clay’s program for a nationally financed system of internal improvements. A. The Homestead Act of 1862 gave heads of families or individuals aged 21 or older the right to own 160 acres of public land after 5 years of residence and improvement. B. This economic program not only sustained the allegiance of a majority of northerners to the Republican Party but, by helping northern industries and raising money for military expenses, bolstered the Union’s ability to fight the war. III. In contrast, the Confederate government had a much less coherent and far-reaching economic policy. A. True to its states’ rights philosophy, the Confederacy left most matters in the hands of state governments. B. As the realities of total war became clear, Jefferson Davis’s administration took extraordinary measures: it built and operated shipyards, armories, foundries, and textile mills; commandeered food and scare materials; requisitioned slaves to work on fortifications; and exercised direct control over foreign trade. C. As the war wore on, ordinary citizens increasingly resented these coercive measures, in part b/c the Confederate leaders failed to explain their wartime needs or deal w/civilians’ misery on the home front. Raising Money in the North I. For both the North and the South, the cost of fighting a total war was enormous. A. To pay for those expenditures, the Republicans established a powerful modern state that raised money in 3 ways: by imposing broadbased taxes, borrowing from the middle class and wealthy and foreign investors, and creating a national monetary system. II. The Union government increased taxes by raising tariff rates, placing excise duties on consumer goods, and imposing direct taxes on business corporations, large inheritances, and the incomes of affluent citizens. III. The sale of treasury bonds financed an even greater part of the northern war effort: 65% of the Union’s expenditures came from borrowed money. A. The Treasury paid interest on the bonds in gold, which made them financially attractive to foreign investors, and marketed them widely throughout the Union. B. The National Banking Acts of 1863 and 1864 induced many state banks to purchase bonds. IV. The Union financed most of the remaining cost of the war by printing paper money. A. The Legal Tender Act of 1862 authorized the issue of $150 million in Treasury notes and required the public to accept them. Resorting to Inflation in the South I. The financial demands on the South were just as great, but it lacked a powerful central government that could tax and borrow. A. The Confederate Congress opposed any tax on cotton or slaves, leaving the states to either borrow money or pay the Confederacy w/IOUs. B. Even the more comprehensive tax legislation enacted in 1863 by the Confederate Congress excluded slave property. Consequently, taxes fell primarily on the urban middle class and non slaveholding yeomen farm families, who often refused to pay. II. The Confederacy had an equally difficult time in borrowing money. A. Although wealthy planters had enough capital to fund a relatively large part of the war, most of them refused to buy Confederate bonds by pledging their cotton revenues. III. The Confederacy was forced to finance about 60% of its expenses w/unbacked paper money. A. This flood of currency created soaring inflation. B. As the huge supply of money and shortages of goods brought rising food prices, riots broke out in many cities and towns. IV. The situation got worse as the paper money depreciated. A. Inflation not only undermined civilian morale but also caused farmers to refuse to accept Confederate money for the produce needed to
feed the armies. Unable legally to raise money, the Confederacy had to resort to seizures—a gross violation of citizens’ property rights—to sustain the war effort. The Turning Point: 1863 I. By 1863 the Lincoln administration had mobilized northern society, creating a complex war machine and a coherent economic and financial system. Slowly but surely the tide of battle shifted toward the Union side. Emancipation I. From the beginning of the conflict, antislavery Republicans had tried to persuade their party and president to make abolition—as well as the restoration of the Union—a central war aim. A. They based their argument not just on morality but “military necessity,” pointing out that slave-grown crops sustained the Confederate war effort. “Contrabands” I. It was enslaved African Americans who forced the issue of emancipation by seizing freedom for themselves. A. Exploiting the disorder of wartime, slaves escaped from their plantations and sought refuge behind union lines. II. As the number of runaway slaves who fled to freedom grew into tens of thousands, the Union government undertook to define their status. A. In August 1861 Lincoln signed a Confiscation Act which authorized the seizure of all property—including slaves—used to support the rebellion. However, this law applied only to slaves within the reach of union armies and only protected them from seizure by their owners; it did not make them free. III. The debate over the Confiscation Act revealed a threefold division among Republicans over emancipation. A. Conservative members of the party wanted to prevent the spread of slavery into the territories but leave the responsibility for emancipation in the South to the state governments. B. Moderate Republicans wanted to end slavery quickly but feared that immediate abolition would cause a dramatic loss of Union support in the border states and stimulate a racist backlash in northern cities. IV. Radical Republicans discounted such fears. They had long condemned slavery and saw that the war provided the ideal opportunity to destroy it. A. They mobilized support for a policy of punishing rebel planters by taking away their slaves. The Emancipation Proclamation I. Sensing a shift in public opinion in the Union, Lincoln seized the initiative from the Radical Republicans. A. The Emancipation Proclamation declared Lincoln’s intention to free the slaves in all states that were still in rebellion. B. This decree had its constitutional basis in the president’s war powers. To fulfill his responsibilities as commander-in-chief, Lincoln believed that he could deny resources—in this case, enslaved workers—to the enemy. II. The proclamation was politically astute. Since Lincoln needed to keep the loyalty of white in border states that had remained loyal to the Union, he left slavery intact there. A. Consequently, b/c Lincoln’s order had no immediate, practical effect within the Confederacy, the Emancipation Proclamation did not free a single slave. III. Nevertheless, Lincoln’s initiative dramatically changed the nature of the conflict by making emancipation a central goal of Union policy IV. As a war aim, emancipation was controversial both in the Confederacy and in the north, where it produced the backlash among whites that the moderate Republicans had feared. A. Some Union officers did not want to fight for emancipation and many more worried that the proclamation would incite slave rebellion. V. The verdict of the American people on emancipation was mixed. A. In the election of 1862 Democrats denounced emancipation as unconstitutional, warned of slave rebellions and bloodshed in the South, and claimed that freed slaves would take the jobs of northern workers. Vicksburg and Gettysburg I. The fate of the proclamation and of African Americans would depend on the success of the Union armies. The outlook was not particularly encouraging. B.
A. Vicksburg I.
Not only had Democrats made gains in the elections of 1862, but there was increased popular support for those Democrats who favored a negotiated peace.
At this crucial juncture, General Grant mounted a major offensive in the West designed to split the Confederacy into 2. A. He defeated Confederate armies at Vicksburg.
Gettysburg I. Gettysburg was a great Union victory. Never again would a southern army threaten a major invasion of the north. Political and Diplomatic Effects I. The outcome at Gettysburg and Vicksburg changed the political climate in the North. A. In the state and local elections in 1863, Democrats once again challenged Republicans on the issue of emancipation, accusing them of favoring social equality for blacks. B. Lincoln intervened in the election for governor of Ohio, declaring that to oppose emancipation was to oppose northern victory, and Republicans swept to decisive victories in NY, PA, and Ohio. II. In the South, the military setbacks accentuated war weariness. A. The 1863 elections went sharply against the politicians who supported Jefferson Davis, and a large minority in the new Confederate Congress was openly hostile to his policies. B. A few representatives advocated peace negotiations, and many more criticized the ineffectiveness of the war effort. III. Vicksburg and Gettysburg also represented a great diplomatic victory for the North, ending the Confederacy’s chances to gain foreign recognition and acquire advanced naval weapons. The Union Victorious, 1864-1865 I. W/the Union victories of 1863, it became clear that the South could not win the war on the battlefield. Now the Confederacy could only hope for military stalemate that would persuade a war-weary North to give up the North. Soldiers and Strategy I. 2 key developments strengthened the ability of the Union to prosecute the war w/continued vigor and eventually to prevail: the enlistment of African American soldiers, and the discovery of generals capable of fighting a modern war. The Impact of Black Troops I. Free African Americans and fugitive slaves had tried to enlist in the Union army as early as 1861, but his prospect frightened many northern whites, who were determined to keep blacks in an inferior political and economic position. A. Many Union generals doubted that former slaves would make good soldiers, so the Lincoln administration initially refused to encourage black aspirations for military service. II. The Emancipation Proclamation changed popular thinking and military policy. If blacks were to benefit from Union victory, some northern whites argued, they should share in the fighting and dying. III. The War department authorized the enlistment of free blacks and contraband slaves, and as white resistance to conscription increased, the Lincoln administration recruited as many African Americans as it could. IV. Military service did not end racial discrimination. A. Black soldiers served under white officers in segregated regiments and were used primarily to build fortifications, garrison forts, and guard supply lines. B. Army authorities routinely denied officers’ commissions to African Americans and, until 1864, paid them less than white soldiers. C. The Lincoln administration did not consistently protect captured African American soldiers from Confederate violations of their rights as prisoners of war. The Influence of New Generals I. As African Americans enlisted in the ranks, Lincoln finally found a commanding general in whom he had confidence. A. In 1864 he put Grant in charge of the union armies and created a new command structure. Grant’s Virginia Campaign I. In VA, Grant advanced toward Richmond, hoping to force Lee to fight in the open fields, where the Union’s superior manpower and artillery
could prevail. A. Lee maintained strong defensive positions. II. The fighting took a heavy psychological toll. Previous battles had lasted only a few days and had been separated by long intervals. But in this campaign Grant’s relentless offensive advance toward Richmond and Lee’s defensive tactics produced sustained fighting. III. In June, Granted altered his strategy to focus on Petersburg, an important railroad center. A. The 2 armies engaged in trench warfare. B. The ensuing stalemate brought as much psychological as psychical hardship. The stress was especially great for the outnumbered Confederate troops, who were rarely rotated. IV. The outlook for the Republicans worsened in July 1864 when Confederate general Jubal Early’s cavalry moved from its bases in the Shenandoah Valley and mounted attacks near Washington. A. To neutralize Early, Grant had to pull some of his troops out of Petersburg and dispatch them to the north. V. The resulting destruction of the Shenandoah Valley went beyond military norms of the day, for most officers regarded civilians as noncombatants and feared that a punitive policy against them would erode military discipline. The Election of 1864 and Sherman’s March I. As the siege at Petersburg dragged on, Lincoln’s reelection hopes rested on William Tecumseh Sherman in Georgia. The Rise of the Peace Democrats I. In June the national convention of the Republican Party endorsed Lincoln’s war measures, demanded the unconditional surrender of the Confederacy, and called for a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery. A. To attract Democratic support, the Republicans temporarily renamed themselves the National Unionists and chose a Democrat as their nominee for vice president. B. Despite these maneuvers, public support for the Republicans continued to decline over the summer. C. To end dissent within the party and rally support among northern voters, the Republican National Convention urged Lincoln to renounce emancipation as a war aim and offer peace to the Confederacy. Lincoln refused to abandon emancipation. II. The Democrats’ national convention met in August and nominated George McClellan for president. A. The delegates rejected freedom for blacks and condemned Lincoln’s uncompromising repression of domestic dissent. B. The Democrats split into 2 camps over the issue of continuing the war. C. The “Peace Democrats” forced through a platform calling for a “cessation of hostility” and a “convention of the states” to restore peace on the basis of the federal Union. III. Confederate leaders cheered the decline of the Radical Republicanism and the rise of the Peace Democrats. The Fall of Atlanta and Lincoln’s Victory I. In September, Atlanta fell to Sherman. II. A deep pessimism spread over the Confederacy. A. Acknowledging the dramatic change in the military situation, McClellan repudiated the Democratic peace platform and dissident Republicans abandoned all efforts to dump Lincoln. B. The Republican Party went on the offensive, charging that McClellan was still a peace candidate and that his Peace Democrat supporters were hatching treasonous plans in the border states. III. Sherman’s victory in Georgia gave Lincoln a clear victory in the elections. A. Many Republican victories resulted from the support of Union troops. IV. In 1864 Maryland and MI amended their constitutions to free their slaves, and TN, AK, and LA soon followed suit. A. Abolitionists worried that the emancipation proclamation, which was based on the president’s wartime powers, would lose its force at the end of the war and the southerners would reestablish slavery. B. On Jan 31, 1865, Congress approved the 13th Amendment, which prohibited slavery throughout the US. Sherman’s Total War I. Sherman carried out the concept of total war that he and Sheridan had pioneered: destruction of the enemy’s economic resources and will to
resist. The Confederate Collapse I. Sherman’s march exposed an internal Confederate weakness: rising class resentment on the part of poor whites. A. For decades wealthy slaveowners had forced yeomen into less fertile regions by buying up the best land, and had used their power in the state legislatures to tax their slaves at low rates while imposing substantial levies on the marginal lands of backcountry farmers. B. During the war, the planter elite had imposed new burdens on white yeomen. In late 1864 these undercurrents of discontent rose to the surface. C. Resentful of the planter elite and fearing that the Confederacy was doomed, many ordinary southern white men actively resisted conscription. Many more deserted their units. D. Unionists formed militias in the Appalachian Mountains and other areas where there were few slaves. These Unionists aided northern troops and sometimes joined the Union army. II. By 1865 the Confederacy was experiencing such a severe manpower crisis that its leaders debated arming its own slaves. It voted to enlist black soldiers, and Davis agreed to grant freedom to all slaves who served. III. Lee surrendered to Grant at the Appomattox Court House. IV. The armies of the Union destroyed the Confederacy and much of the southern economy. Its factories, railroads, and warehouses were in ruins, as were many of its farms and cities.
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