This chapter shows how the American Civil War which Edward Everett had tried so hard to prevent became in many ways his finest hour. The outbreak of open war clarified Everett’s position into unhesitating support for the Union war effort, which alienated many Southern friends but won him wide praise in the North. As the length of the war grew and Everett’s support for it continued, he had achieved a full synthesis of his love of the Union, antipathy to slavery, and commitment to benevolent reform. His influence also may never have been greater, as suggested by the invitation to be the featured speaker at the dedication of the national cemetery in Gettysburg. He also contributed to the war effort as a writer and speaker in other areas, including vindicating it to foreign (especially British) audiences and working for the relief of Southern Unionists.
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