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Lincoln and the Decision for WarThe Northern Response to Secession$
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Russell McClintock

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780807831885

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807886328_mcclintock

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Proportions of Which I Had but a Faint Conception: Early December

Proportions of Which I Had but a Faint Conception: Early December

(p.60) Chapter 3 Proportions of Which I Had but a Faint Conception: Early December
Lincoln and the Decision for War

Gary W. Gallagher

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter discusses how Northerners, when considering national issues, thought in terms of politics and looked to the words and actions of their political leaders for direction. Whether the public chose to follow or reject that guidance, leaders set the initial terms and tone of debate, and made the final decisions. In the weeks after the election, a lack of guidance from key party leaders and uncertainty regarding the true course of events in the South produced an air of anxious waiting throughout the North. More confused than enlightened by a cacophony of contradictory speeches and editorials, the Northern public held its collective tongue. Once Congress met in early December, however, the crisis began to assume greater definition. Congressional proposals and debates provided Northerners with concrete ideas to draw upon and respond to.

Keywords:   Northerners, national issues, political leaders, key party leaders, Congress, Congressional proposals

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