Chapter 15 - Roark Chapter 15: The Crucible of War,...

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Roark Chapter 15: The Crucible of War, 1861-1865 Notes and Quotes for HIS 1043 by Rex H. Ball, Senior Lecturer Look at the opening section of the Chapter. For the North and for Lincoln, the Civil War began as a war to preserve the Union, not to abolish slavery. As for the South, they fought to preserve slavery. Frederick Douglass saw that the logic of the struggle would make the end of slavery a necessary part of the end of the war. The strategy was put best by Lincoln himself, “Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came.” (370-371) In other words, he would not strike the first blow. Now as to the brilliance part of the question, Lincoln rightly conceived that were he to act quickly he would lose the northern slave states that had not opted for secession as did the lower South. By letting the South strike first, he was able to keep four of the eight states in the union, and Lincoln himself admitted that if the union had lost Kentucky it would have been “…nearly the same as to lose the whole game.” “Kentucky gone, we can not hold Missouri, nor…Maryland. These all against us,…we would as well consent to separation at once.” (372) That shows how desperate the situation was. By waiting for the South to strike, Lincoln could count on a groundswell of patriotism and support from northerners who might not have been so enthusiastic to strike their southern brothers if not attacked. Robert Toombs expressed that insight dramatically to President Jefferson Davis when he said, “Mr. President, at this time it is suicide, murder, and will lose us every friend at the North. You will wantonly strike a hornet’s nest which extends from mountain to ocean, and legions now quiet will swarm out and sting us to death.” (371) What is the most important point made in this section? What do you think of Douglass’ logic? It happened as he wanted, but did it have to happen that way? What was Lincoln’s strategy and how was it brilliant? Why was Kentucky so pivotal? 1
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Davis rejected Toombs wise counsel, and he moved quickly to take Fort Sumter before it could be resupplied. And so, to use Lincoln’s words, the war came—to the union. The authors point out the great discrepancy between the North and South in terms of economics. (see Fig. 15.1, page 373) Yet the South felt they could win the struggle. The South didn’t have to win the war—they followed the Revolutionary War strategy which was “don’t engage the enemy in a way that risked the destruction of the army.” The North had to defeat the South, so the battles would be on home soil, and no one fights harder than those whose homeland is invaded. They also thought of cotton as their ace in the hole; by embargoing cotton exports, they thought they
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Chapter 15 - Roark Chapter 15: The Crucible of War,...

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