Abraham Lincoln and a New Birth of Freedom: The Union and Slavery in the Diplomacy of the Civil War / Edition 1

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In Abraham Lincoln and a New Birth of Freedom, Howard Jones explores the relationship between President Lincoln's wartime diplomacy and his interrelated goals of forming a more perfect Union and abolishing slavery. From the outset of the Civil War, Lincoln's central purpose was to save the Union by defeating the South on the battlefield. No less important was his need to prevent a European intervention that would have facilitated the South's move for independence. Lincoln's goal of preserving the Union, however, soon evolved into an effort to form a more perfect Union, one that rested on the natural rights principles of the Declaration of Independence and thus necessitated emancipation.
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Editorial Reviews

"[An] informative, important study [that] builds on a foundation laid in his Union in Peril to expand dramatically the interpretation of Civil War diplomacy. . . . A valuable study of great importance."—Choice
Filson Club History Quarterly
"A well-written and succinct account of the role slavery played in the struggles over foreign intervention during the American Civil War. . . . [It] should be welcomed as the best synthesis available of Union diplomacy during the Civil War."—Filson Club History Quarterly
"Engrossing. . . . A fine achievement of historical scholarship."—Booklist
Library Journal
Jones, history chair at the University of Alabama and author of Mutiny on the Amistad, here examines some of the most significant and intriguing topics in Civil War historiography: Lincoln, emancipation, and diplomacy. His focus is on Lincoln's attitude toward slavery and the Constitution and his efforts to prevent European intervention into the American Civil War. Facing head on the charge that Lincoln was lukewarm on the slavery issue, he argues that the President moved as quickly as public opinion would allow to abolish the institution and make the nation more democratic, hoping his actions might discourage outsiders from supporting the Confederacy. Though Lincoln-centered literature already abounds, this concise and focused study updates older works such as Jay Monaghan's A Diplomat in Carpet Slippers and is shorter and more focused than Jones's Union in Peril: The Crisis in British Intervention in the Civil War (LJ 11/1/92). A tremendously readable study that promises to become a classic; highly recommended for academic and larger public libraries.--Theresa McDevitt, Univ. of Pennsylvania, Indiana Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803275652
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 236
  • Sales rank: 982,613
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.53 (d)

Meet the Author

Howard Jones is University Research Professor in the Department of History at the University of Alabama. He is the author of numerous books, including Mutiny on the Amistad: The Saga of a Slave Revolt and Its Impact on American Abolition, Law, and Diplomacy which provided the historical basis for the movie Amistad.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Prologue: To Preserve the Union 1
1 Lincoln on Slavery: A Constitutional Right and a Moral Wrong 19
2 Lincoln, Slavery, and Perpetual Union 34
3 Southern Slavery, Northern Freedom: The Central Dilemma of the Republic 56
4 Emancipation by the Sword? Race War and Antietam as Catalysts to Intervention 83
5 "Days of Grace": Emancipation the Prelude to Foreign Intervention? 110
6 Autumn of Discontent: The Crisis over Intervention 128
7 The Emancipation Proclamation: An Act of Justice, Warranted by...Military Necessity 146
8 The Final Impact of Slavery on Intervention: Napoleon's Grand Design for the Americas 163
Epilogue: To Create a More Perfect Union 187
Notes 193
Bibliographical Essay 223
Index 225
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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2002

    A keeper but no Pulitzer prize

    Abraham Lincoln And A New Birth Of Freedom; The Union And Slavery In The Diplomacy Of The Civil War Howard Jones is University Research Professor in the Department of History at the University of Alabama. He is the author of Mutiny on the Amistad: The Saga of the Slave Revolt And its Impact on American Abolition, Law, and Diplomacy which provided historical basis for the movie Amistad. Abraham Lincoln believed that slavery was morally wrong but legally protected by the Constitution. This initial stance never changed. He had said in his speeches that a nation half slave and half free cannot endure. He had considered the option of paying for slaves in the South. He had considered moving slaves to another country, as did James Monroe, to Liberia. He said that he would accept some slaves as free and others not - whatever it took to keep the union intact. He believed that slavery would die by stopping its expansion. Expansion had been stopped by the Missouri Compromise of 1820, but the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which repealed it, and the Dred Scott decision, which declared it unconstitutional, meant that slavery would grow. Lincoln knew that only by ending slavery would the nation endure. The Emancipation Proclamation, though considered by some to be effete because it did not free all the slaves, placated the western states and urged the slaves to desert the South to join the fight. Some 50,000 did. England now realized that the destruction of slavery was the main issue and recognition of the Confederacy was no longer viable. Without England as an ally, the ambitions of France were doomed. Historian Allan Nevins said, "No battle, not Gettysburg, not the Wilderness, was more important in the contest waged in the diplomatic arena and the form of public opinion. It is hardly too much to say that the future of the world as we know it was at stake." Had Great Britain and France recognized the South, the rest of the world would have followed. Fortunately for the Union, the Anglo-Franco rivalry stopped intervention. While both nations claimed to be anti-slavery, their true intentions were nefarious. For Great Britain, a Confederate nation to the south of the United States and Canada to the north would have left the United States between two non-friendlies and no threat to Great Britain. Napoleon still had designs on Mexico and even the western United States in the establishment of a dictatorship friendly to him in the form of Maximilian. England's Palmerston and France's Napoleon were "¿self-appointed keepers old world order¿." Only Russia among the larger nations was in accord with the Union (sound familiar) because of the Czar¿s tenuous hold. In Abraham Lincoln and a New Birth Of Freedom, historian Howard Jones focuses intensely on Abraham Lincoln's strong belief that slavery was immoral and must be destroyed for this nation to find ¿a new birth of freedom¿ as expressed in the one nation theme of the ¿Gettysburg Address¿ and the unfulfilled promise of the Declaration of Independence. This theme repeats throughout the book's 192 pages of text and illustrations (the remainder of book is notes and index) as though Jones were lecturing with pedagogical ¿foot-stompers¿. If one comes away with a different idea of Lincoln's beliefs, he or she has missed the point. In a sense, Jones stretches the theme of diplomacy since it could be stated in a few hundred words. In fact, the entire book could easily be condensed into a standard magazine article or monograph. That being said, Abraham Lincoln and a New Birth of Freedom is a book that I have heavily underscored, read deliberately, and will keep for re-reading and reference in my library. If one does not have time for the entire book, I suggest they buy it for reference and its pregnant prologue and epilogue. Mark Witt Parrish, Florida

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