Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Booknotes: Lincoln and the Politics of Slavery

New Arrival:
Lincoln and the Politics of Slavery: The Other Thirteenth Amendment and the Struggle to Save the Union by Daniel W. Crofts (UNC Pr, 2016).

In Lincoln's First Inaugural, he referenced a proposed amendment to the Constitution that would deny Congress the ability to legislate against slavery where it already existed. Here's the quote:
"I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution—which amendment, however, I have not seen—has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service. To avoid misconstruction of what I have said, I depart from my purpose not to speak of particular amendments so far as to say that, holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable."
Daniel Crofts's Lincoln and the Politics of Slavery explores the political history of this particular amendment movement. The author "rejects the view advanced by some Lincoln scholars that the wartime momentum toward emancipation originated well before the first shots were fired. Lincoln did indeed become the 'Great Emancipator,' but he had no such intention when he first took office."

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