Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Booknotes: Lincoln, Seward, and US Foreign Relations in the Civil War Era

New Arrival:
Lincoln, Seward, and US Foreign Relations in the Civil War Era by Joseph A. Fry
  (UP of Ky, 2019).

The diplomacy of Secretary of State William Seward has often been portrayed as dangerously militant during key moments of the American Civil War, but Joseph Fry's Lincoln, Seward, and US Foreign Relations in the Civil War Era sees the Lincoln-Seward partnership as not only having effectively navigated numerous wartime crises but prepared the foundation for a bright national future. "These unlikely allies, who began as rivals during the 1860 presidential nomination, helped ensure that America remained united and prospered in the aftermath of the nation's consuming war."

In the book, Fry "examines the foreign policy decisions that resulted from this partnership and the legacy of those decisions. Lincoln and Seward, despite differences in upbringing, personality, and social status, both adamantly believed in the preservation of the union and the need to stymie slavery. They made that conviction the cornerstone of their policies abroad, and through those policies, such as Seward threatening war with any nation that intervened in the Civil War, they prevented European intervention that could have led to Northern defeat. The Union victory allowed America to resume imperial expansion, a dynamic that Seward sustained beyond Lincoln's death during his tenure as President Andrew Johnson's Secretary of State."

More: "Fry's analysis of the Civil War from an international perspective and the legacy of US policy decisions provides a more complete view of the war and a deeper understanding of this crucial juncture in American history."

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