A Documentary History of the American Civil War Era: Volume 2, Political Arguments

A Documentary History of the American Civil War Era: Volume 2, Political Arguments

by Thomas C. Mackey


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     A Documentary History of the American Civil War Era is the first comprehensive collection of public policy actions, political speeches, and judicial decisions related to the American Civil War. This three-volume set gives scholars and students easy access to the full texts of both the most important, fundamental documents as well as hard-to-find, rarely published primary sources on this critical period in U.S. history.
Volume 2 in the series, Political Arguments, presents the words of politicians, political party platforms, and administrative speeches. It is divided into two sections. The first, Voices of the Politicians and Political Parties, comprises the platforms of the major (and some minor) parties from1856 to 1876. Also included are such pieces as Robert E. Lee’s letter of resignation from the U.S. Army, a few key speeches by that rising politician from Illinois, Abraham Lincoln, and a letter on the “American Question” written by a European observer, Karl Marx. Other items include examples of the 1860-1861 state ordinances of secession and addresses on emancipation and Reconstruction by Jefferson Davis and by the Republican leader in the House of Representatives, Thaddeus Stevens. 
     Section two, Voices of the Administrations, contains records from the presidencies of James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, and Rutherford B. Hayes as well as a message from Confederate President Jefferson Davis telling his congress that the Southern cause was “just and holy.” Classic documents such as Lincoln’s announcement of forthcoming emancipation and the Emancipation Proclamation are here, as are lesser-known but important documents such as Francis Lieber’s 1863 revised law code for war, General Order 100, and Attorney General James Speed’s 1865 opinion supporting the Johnson administration’s decision to try the Lincoln murder conspirators by special military commission and not in the civilian courts.
     Each of the selections in Political Arguments is preceded by editor Thomas Mackey’s introductory headnotes that explain the document’s historical significance and trace its lasting impact. These commentaries provide insight into not just law and public policy but also the broad sweep of issues important to Civil War- era Americans.
     A Documentary History of the American Civil War Era is an essential acquisition for academic and public libraries in addition to being a valuable resource for courses on the War and Reconstruction, legal history, political history, and nineteenth- century American history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781572339484
Publisher: University of Tennessee Press
Publication date: 04/15/2013
Edition description: 1
Pages: 440
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Thomas C. Mackey is professor of history at the University of Louisville and adjunct professor of law at the Brandeis School of Law. He is the author of Red Lights Out: A Legal History of Prostitution, Disorderly Houses, and Vice Districts, 1870-1917 and Pornography on Trial: A Handbook with Cases, Laws, and Documents.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction: A Documentary History of the American Civil War Era xiii

Volume 2 Political Arguments

Voices of the Politicians and Political Parties

1856 Democratic Party Platform 5

1856 Republican Party Platform 11

1856 American (Know-Nothing) Party Platform 15

Lincoln, House Divided Speech, June 16, 1858 19

Lincoln, Speech Fragment, 1859 27

Lincoln, Cooper Union Speech, February 27, 1860 29

Fredrick Douglass on Constitution and Slavery, March 26, 1860 45

1860 Democratic Party Platform (Douglas Faction) 65

1860 Democratic Party Platform (Breckinridge Faction) 67

1860 Constitutional Union Party Platform 69

1860 Republican Party Platform 71

South Carolina Ordinance of Secession, December 20, 1860 75

Alabama Ordinance of Secession, January 11, 1861 79

Georgia Ordinance of Secession, January 19, 1861 81

Jefferson Davis Farewell Speech, U.S. Senate, January 21, 1861 83

Inauguration Speech, Jefferson Davis, February 18, 1861 89

Robert E. Lee's Resignation from the U.S. Army, April 20, 1861 93

General Benjamin Butler, "Contrabands," July 30, 1861 95

General John C. Fremont's Martial Law/Emancipation Policy, August 30, 1861 101

Karl Marx on the Civil War, October 11, 1861 107

Thaddeus Stevens, Emancipation, January 22, 1862 117

1864 Democratic Party Platform 129

1864 Republican (National Union) Party Platform 133

Thaddeus Stevens, Lancaster Speech, September 9, 1865 137

Thaddeus Stevens on Reconstruction, December 18, 1865 149

1868 Democratic Party Platform 159

1868 Republican Party Platform 163

1872 Democratic Party Platform 167

1872 Republican Party Platform 169

1872 Liberal Republican Platform 173

1876 Democratic Party Platform 177

1876 Republican Party Platform 183

Voices of the Administrations


Buchanan Inaugural, March 4, 1857 193

Attorney General Jeremiah Black on secession, November 20, 1860 201

President James Buchanan, State of the Union, December 3, 1861 209


First Inaugural, Abraham Lincoln, March 4, 1861 237

Lincoln's special message to Congress, July 4, 1861, "People's contest" 247

Lincoln to Greeley, August 22, 1862, "I would save the Union" 261

President Lincoln's December 1862 Message to Congress 263

General Order 100, Lieber Code, April 23, 1863 281

Lincoln 10% Plan, December 8, 1863 301

Wade/Davis Plan, July 2, 1864, and President Lincoln's Veto, July 8, 1864 307

Wade/Davis Manifesto, August 5, 1864 315

Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, September 22, 1862 325

Emancipation Proclamation, January 1, 1863 329

Grant to Lincoln, African American troops, August 23, 1863 333

Lincoln to Sherman, soldier vote, September 19, 1864 335

Lincoln's Second Inaugural, March 4, 1865 337


Message to Congress, April 29, 1861, "Our cause is just and holy" 341


Proclamation, Amnesty/Pardon and N.C. Government, May 29, 1865 357

Attorney General Speed opinion, Lincoln murder trial, April 28, 1865, and July 1865 clarification 363


Grant, Reconstruction, August 16, 1864 379

Grant, Southern tour report, December 18, 1865 381

Grant, First Inaugural, March 4, 1869 385

Grant, Second Inaugural, March 4, 1873 389


Hayes, Inaugural, March 5, 1877 393

Chronology 401

Selected Readings 407

Index 415

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