Month: March 2014

Lincoln and the Wadsworth Letter: a Reconstruction Forgery?

One of the most unusual documents in the Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (Roy Basler, ed) is an excerpt of a letter allegedly written in 1864 by Lincoln to Gen. James S. Wadsworth. The document seems to reveal Lincoln’s support for universal black suffrage while also hinting at elements of an egalitarian turn in his racial views. …

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Oakes, Napolitano, and Lincoln’s enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act

A little over a week ago I strongly criticized Judge Andrew Napolitano’s recent appearance on the Daily Show for his slipshod handling of Civil War history and for a couple of factual errors in his presentation about the Morrill Tariff. I was not the only critic, and others also seized upon Napolitano’s claim that Lincoln …

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Before you start claiming that tariffs caused the Civil War…

It’s an argument we’ve all heard before: tariffs really “caused” the Civil War. The claim is unequivocally in error and was the historical biproduct of a conscious Confederate diplomatic strategy to draw the free trade-oriented Great Britain to its side in the war despite the latter’s antislavery disposition. There is a subtler truth though that …

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More on Colonization, Lincoln, and Butler

The Civil War Memory blog has weighed in to the ongoing discussion about Lincoln and colonization with an interesting inquiry, asking “to what extent does Lincoln’s continued advocacy of colonization overshadow the rest of his public statements and policy decisions?” I’ve offered my thoughts in the comments section over there, echoing several points of my …

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