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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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The Issues of the Late Campaign Are Obsolete: Late December

The Issues of the Late Campaign Are Obsolete: Late December

(p.85) Chapter 4 The Issues of the Late Campaign Are Obsolete: Late December
Lincoln and the Decision for War

Gary W. Gallagher

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter describes how a fundamental shift was taking place below the surface although arguments in Washington and the partisan press continued to revolve around the traditional points of contention between North and South—slavery in the territories and fugitive slaves. The question had already been transformed by the specter of impending disunion and by framing the old issues as compromise proposals; it is also now shifting the primary concern from the place of slavery in the Union to the survival of the Union itself. The entire discussion was, thus far, merely theoretical. Northerners were still free to argue abstractly about whether the secessionists were sincere or merely bluffing; whether, if they were sincere, any states would actually go, and how many; and whether, if any states did go, they would come back, and how long it would take.

Keywords:   Washington, partisan press, slavery, fugitive slaves, compromise proposals

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