Abraham Lincoln, A Legacy of Freedom by George Clack (Editor)

By George Clack (Editor)

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New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2005. Donald, David H. Lincoln. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995. Ferguson, Andrew. Land of Lincoln: Adventures in Abe’s America. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press; distributed by Publishers Group West, 2007. Goodwin, Doris Kearns. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2005. , and Jesse W. Weik. Herndon’s Lincoln; edited by Douglas L. Wilson and Rodney O. Davis. Galesburg, IL: Knox College Lincoln Studies Center; Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2006.

Yet Lincoln also toned down (but never renounced) Seward’s warnings that the United States would go to war with any nation that interfered. The president also moderated the secretary’s dispatches and relied on his mildmannered yet stern minister to England, Charles Francis Adams, to resolve other problems. The recognition issue flared up repeatedly during the course of the Civil War. The Union’s humiliation at the battle of Bull Run in July 1861 convinced some Europeans that Confederate independence was a fait accompli.

From the start, Lincoln recognized the value of the North’s overwhelming naval power, and he employed it relentlessly to choke the Confederacy, closing southern ports to prevent the export of its only commodity of international value — cotton — and to prevent the import of badly needed arms and other war supplies from Europe. He also understood the importance of seizing the Mississippi River to cut the South in half, as well as the need to maintain pressure on the whole strategic line of the Confederacy, something his generals proved singularly incapable of doing until General Grant assumed the role of general-in-chief in February 1864.

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