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With Charity for All

With Charity for All: Lincoln and the Restoration of the Union

William C. Harris
Copyright Date: 1997
Pages: 368
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  • Book Info
    With Charity for All
    Book Description:

    Harris maintains that Lincoln held a fundamentally conservative position on the process of reintegrating the South, one that permitted a large measure of self-reconstruction, and that he did not modify his position late in the war. He examines the reasoning and ideology behind Lincoln's policies, describes what happened when military and civil agents tried to implement them at the local level, and evaluates Lincoln's successes and failures in bringing his restoration efforts to closure.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-5852-5
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    Reconstruction usually is associated with the period after the Civil War. Actually it began in 1861, when Abraham Lincoln, in his inaugural address, announced his intention to preserve the Union and, by implication, to restore the seceded states to the Union. The reconstruction of these states—or, as he preferred, restoration—was his duty under the Constitution by virtue of his elevation to the presidency. Lincoln never recognized the secession of the Southern states or the legitimacy of the Confederate States government. He reasoned that individuals, not states, had rebelled and thereby had overturned republican forms of government in the...

  5. Part 1: First Phase

    • 1 1861: An Early Start
      (pp. 13-32)

      Under the most unfavorable circumstances in American history, on March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln took the oath of office as president. Having secretly slipped into Washington ten days earlier, Lincoln delivered his long-awaited inaugural address before an anxious crowd that was protected by several hundred United States troops. In his address the new president firmly announced his intention to preserve the Union, which, he insisted, was his constitutional duty as the nation’s chief executive. “I hold,” Lincoln declared, “that in contemplation of universal law, and of the Constitution, the Union of these States is perpetual. . . . No State,...

    • 2 A Presidential Initiative
      (pp. 33-57)

      Despite Lincoln’s optimism as 1861 ended, Federal arms had not provided the president with the military successes necessary to encourage reconstruction efforts in the Southern heartland. Preoccupied with military preparations and realistic about immediate reconstruction prospects, Lincoln in 1861 gave no support to quixotic Unionist schemes on Virginia’s Eastern Shore and North Carolina’s Outer Banks. In the fall of 1861, Unionists in these areas, apparently without the president’s knowledge, held elections in anticipation of obtaining recognition in Washington. In North Carolina, Charles Henry Foster, a native New Englander who had settled in the state in 1859, organized a “convention” of...

    • 3 North Carolina: The Stanly Experiment
      (pp. 58-71)

      The positive reaction of the Northern and border states to Johnson’s appointment in early 1862 encouraged Lincoln to dispatch military governors to other Southern states where Federal enclaves had been established. The first after Tennessee was North Carolina, where in February and March 1862 a Federal army under the command of Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside had seized the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds region. On March 13 Burnside’s forces took New Bern, the state’s second largest town, strategically located at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent Rivers. In April, Fort Macon, guarding the Atlantic approach to Beaufort, fell to U.S....

    • 4 The Southwest: An Uncertain Beginning
      (pp. 72-96)

      On May 1, 1862, New Orleans, the South’s largest city and most important port, fell to Federal forces under the command of Flag Officer David G. Farragut and Gen. Benjamin F. Butler. Before the end of spring, Union troops controlled the region around New Orleans and as far upriver as Baton Rouge. General Butler occupied New Orleans with an especially heavy hand to restore order and to root out disloyalty. He appointed Col. George F. Shepley, a former U.S. district attorney for Maine, military mayor of New Orleans and gave him authority over all civil affairs in the city.


    • 5 Stalemate
      (pp. 97-120)

      By 1863 President Lincoln had become frustrated by the lack of progress in the organization of loyal governments in occupied areas. The main problem was the failure of the army to expand Federal control and provide security for Unionists. Military setbacks in late 1862 and early 1863, particularly in Virginia, where Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside had suffered a disastrous defeat at Fredericksburg in December 1862, cut deeply into northern morale, alarming Lincoln and requiring him to devote almost all of his attention to the war and the critical political situation at home. Conversely, in the South, Confederate military successes raised...

  6. Part 2: Second Phase

    • 6 A New Presidential Initiative
      (pp. 123-142)

      By the fall of 1863, the Confederacy appeared to be on its last legs. Vicksburg and Port Hudson had fallen to Union arms, clearing the Mississippi of rebel strongholds. Little Rock and Fort Smith had been occupied by Federal armies in September, and by the late fall the collapse of Confederate authority in Arkansas seemed imminent. Despite fears of French intervention, General Banks’s forces were poised to take the Texas coast. Andrew Jackson Hamilton and other Texas Unionists predicted that Banks’s campaign would strike the death blow to the Confederacy in the Southwest. Farther east, Federal forces, though they had...

    • 7 A Flurry of Activity
      (pp. 143-170)

      After his proclamation of December 8, 1863, Lincoln moved quickly to set his new reconstruction plan in motion. By not imposing more than the minimum guarantees of loyalty and emancipation upon the South, he hoped to secure an early restoration of the southern states to the Union. As usual for Lincoln, timing was of essence in the implementation of his reconstruction proclamation. The winter of 1863-64 had brought even greater demoralization and war-weariness to the embattled Confederacy than had the military setbacks of the preceding summer and fall.¹ Lincoln expected the military power of the Confederacy to be crushed during...

    • 8 Louisiana: A Tangled Skein of Reconstruction
      (pp. 171-196)

      Beginning in the 1960s, historians devoted a great deal of attention to wartime reconstruction in Louisiana, usually to the neglect of restoration efforts elsewhere. Their interest in the state is understandable in view of the relevance of black freedom and equality in Civil War Louisiana to the twentieth-century civil rights movement. Occupied Louisiana, with its educated free black leadership and its polyglot, urban white population, including recently arrived antislavery Northerners, offered a promising setting for the early success of a reconstruction program based on black equality. Though intensely committed to the struggle for black rights, historians have sharply differed on...

    • 9 Arkansas: An Unfulfilled Promise
      (pp. 197-211)

      Arkansas also provided Lincoln with an important early test for his new reconstruction initiative. Though not as significant in the eyes of the nation as Louisiana, success in this large, sparsely populated state could inspire Unionists and disaffected rebels elsewhere to move boldly, with Federal military assistance, toward the civil reorganization of their states. Arkansas Unionists acted quickly to meet the president’s requirements for restoration. William D. Snow of Pine Bluff, who would be elected to the U.S. Senate in early 1865, wrote Lincoln on December 25, 1863, that his proclamation “opened a practical and easy door to rapid reconstruction.”...

    • 10 Tennessee: Unionists Divided
      (pp. 212-228)

      Tennessee moved at a slower pace than Arkansas and Louisiana to implement Lincoln’s reconstruction plan. While the president’s December 8, 1863, proclamation spurred Arkansas and Louisiana Unionists, with the aid of military authorities, to act quickly to abolish slavery and restore their states to the Union, radical loyalists in the Volunteer State led by Military Governor Andrew Johnson hesitated. These Unionists feared that a premature reorganization might permit rebels, in alliance with conservative Unionists, to regain their rights and power in the state. The conservative leadership consisted of old Union Whigs like William B. Campbell, Emerson Etheridge, and Thomas A.R....

    • 11 The Final Months
      (pp. 229-264)

      Lincoln’s election in the fall of 1864, accompanied by important military successes, strengthened the president’s hand and set the stage for the final act in wartime reconstruction. Despite the election’s significance for the history of reconstruction, historians have indicated that the 1864 political contest focused not on the future of the South when the war was over, but on whether the war could be won at all, particularly with Lincoln at the helm. The fact that the national Republican platform ignored the reconstruction issue has suggested to historians that either it was unimportant in the presidential contest or too controversial...

  7. Epilogue
    (pp. 265-275)

    The spirit of conciliation that Lincoln had successfully cultivated during the closing days of the war was shattered by the bullet from John Wilkes Booth’s derringer. Two days after Lincoln’s death, theWashington Chroniclediscerned that “the indignation and horror created by this foul murder will serve, more than anything else could possibly do, to destroy the feeling of commiseration and brotherly love for the misguided people of the South, and the policy of magnanimity toward the leaders of the rebellion, which had taken root in the North.”¹ The spirit of vengeance that swept the North following Lincoln’s murder greatly...

  8. Notes
    (pp. 276-329)
  9. Bibliography
    (pp. 330-344)
  10. Index
    (pp. 345-356)