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tv   The Civil War  CSPAN  April 1, 2016 12:39am-1:41am EDT

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>> i am a history buff. i do enjoy seeing the fabric of our country and how things -- how they work and how they are made. >> i love american history tv. >> i had no idea they did
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history. that's probably something i would really enjoy. >> with american history tv, it gives you that perspective. >> i may c-span contrast betwee southerners and native americans. >> historian edward ayers looks at the end of the civil war and the dawn of the reconstruction era. reconstruction began as early as the summer and fall of 1864. he points to the republican party expanding to include democrats who supported the union war effort. he talks about union victories on the battlefield, including the fall of atlanta and the shenandoah valley campaign. this hour long talk was part of a day long symposium held at the library of virginia in richmond.
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>> now, let me introduce our first speaker. we've charged him with playing the role of keynote speaker to offer something of a history course in reconstruction. to highlight some of the themes in the debates about the post war era about i'm confident that he's up to the task and not just because he's my boss as the chairman of the museum's board. dr. edward l. ayers is founding chairman of the american civil war museum's board. and previously served on the boards of the civil war center and the museum of the confederacy. over the past eight years he's become the face of public history and of the civil war ses
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k serving as the past of richmond. he's the professor of humanities at the university of richmond. before he began his pioneering work on the digital history at uva, and the studies of the civil war period in augusta county, virginia and franklin county, pennsylvania. he was known as a historian of the post war south. his first book was about crime and punishment in the south. and his new book, life in the south. he was a finalist for the pulitzer prize that year. this makes ed the ideal speaker to set the stage with his talk entitled reckoning with reconstruction on its
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sesquicentennial. ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce, ed ayers. >> it's great to see you. >> i came in after two weeks in california, i'm ignoring the fact that i got up at 2:30 in the morning biologically time to be here with you, that's how much i care about you and this subject and the american civil liberties museum. people know some things about reconstruction. and many of them are partially true. many audiences, even those who come to a talk on some facet of the american civil war as well as those who are freshmen in college readily admit they don't have the full story of reconstruction fully nailed. here's what i think the common stock of knowledge looks like. if you know more than this, you're in the red zone, you're in the bonus, you're way ahead of things. reconstruction following the
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civil war and apparently lasted 12 years since that's when volume one of the u.s. history textbook ends and volume two begins. i sometimes thought reconstruction happened over the winter break. it was obviously a tragedy that abraham lincoln was assassinated, in part because andrew johnson was terrible. just terrible. we know that. they know that black people briefly held political power. it's now considered a long foreshadowing of the civil rights movement. the ku klux klan rose during the reconstruction. some people know some of the particulars, they know that the promise of 40 acres and a mule was made and rescinded along the way, and the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the constitution
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appeared at some point in the process people sometimes know that the black codes tried to erase as much of the gains of emancipation as possible and reconstruction ended with a corrupt bargain in 1877 people think they know southern history stopped after reconstruction, except for a few episodes of particularly horrific violence until it was time for the 1960s and the textbook would give another chapter about the south. the cast of characters has remained much the same throughout several generations now. even as the revision has been changing the role of heroes and villains. reconstruction used to be considered a failure because it happened at all. and now it's considered a failure because it did not go far enough.
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all along we have in our minds, no matter what we think, the same pictures that came from gone with the wind in which we tell the story of reconstruction improbably enough from the viewpoint of a formerly rich southern white woman. i think that's what people know about reconstruction. i say that having given lots of talks about it, and that's okay. i think that what people suggest is that -- and it's kind of depressing, people believe. now, the familiar dates of reconstruction suggest a bounded period with a clear beginning and end. but the story between that beginning and end doesn't have many elements of a story. as soon as lincoln is assassinated, the story line gets tangled and starts heading in lots of different directions at the same time. the main characters seem to come
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and go pretty quickly. even andrew johnson seems to fade away. most people today have a hard time attaching a name or face to who the radical republicans were. even though tommy lee jones also gives people a way to remember at least one radical republican. most people would be hard pressed to name any of the african-american office holders that we know emerged during reconstruction. or the white office holders that replaced them. this is one reason people think they know anything about reconstruction. there's no framework that people are used to making sense of the you civil war with, even if they imagine gettysburg happens to have been in the middle, that's what the people imagine a narrative arc. they think they at least have
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that, there's no sense of the construction of the project of sherman's march, it seems to be happening all the time everywhere. there seems to have been largely chaos, sliced in different shapes for different southern states. each one of which followed its own chronology. it lasted two years in some places and 12 in others. i just give up, it's too complicated. i can't follow that. so with such a large important and yet emorphous topic, it's tempting to push the dates and boundaries ever further out. some historians see the battles of reconstruction beginning in effect with the founding of the nation some people say that the struggles of reconstruction have not ended. that we're still playing out the
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fundamental decisions that had to be fought over then. some see it as an episode in a global struggle over slavery, and it's aftermath. they're struck by how much this is like places they had to confront slavery. all those perspectives have a lot to teach us. this new scholarship is expanding the boundaries of reconstruction. this morning as your first speaker. i feel a certain responsibility to ground things a bit. to bring some clarity to this. so that our conversations over the rest of the day make more sense. i follow the instructions that wade and john had given me more carefully last night. when i had a draft of this. in which i sacrificed my time to give an overview of the story of the reconstruction. i woke up at some point in the night and said, let's not do that. this is a strategy that seemed so good to me when it was 2:30
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in the morning my time. i want to focus on what we might see as reconstruction taking form, with the issues of slavery's end, african-american rights, of the reintegration of the southern states into the union. the redefinition of the fundamental law of the land. of the role of partisan politics and the cen trailty of violence. john cosky gave tour title the road to apomatics. they're interested in the civil war, but aren't exactly sure they're interested in reconstruction. the metaphor of a road is rather misleading in this case. the decades following the largest rupture in u.s. history
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could better be thought of as the intersection of many roads. intersecting at unpredictable angles and no traffic control. the catch is, we have to map them all if we hope to get across this piece of history in one piece. i think we see the first convergence of the roads that will become reconstruction in the summer of 1864, especially august 1864. that's a strangely specific date, i realize, let me see if i can make the case for you. at the beginning of the summer of 1864 no president of the united states had won a second term since andrew jackson. season the that amazing? that's a bunch in between. and it's not clear abraham lincoln is going to be the first
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one. more than 30 years since you had somebody succeed himself. and nothing could be taken for granted. at the convention in june of the republican party. they quickly renominated abraham lincoln but made some other important changes. they place governor johnson of tennessee as the vice presidential candidate. he was a hero to republicans, the only senator from the south who had stayed loyal to the united states at the time of secession. afterwards, johnson served as governor of tennessee, demonstrating a successful path toward reunion. johnson faced great bitterness and violent threats but he never backed down. a politician from the strongly mountainous unions of tennessee, andrew johnson saw the very
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embodiment of what the republican party of the future needed to be, a vehicle for the reunification of the nation of the principles won by the war. how did andrew johnson if he was so terrible, get on the stage in the first place? because he was seen as a crucial part of what was going to follow the war. to signal the forward looking posture, the party changed its name to the national union party. that move was both audacious and cautious. the party was claiming itself to be the home of all truly loyal men. we were the national party. we're the union party. if you're not those things, you shouldn't be voting at all. but the renaming also was a way to make the purposes of the party more palletable to the
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voters with a single minded dedication to defeating and punishing the slave holders of the south. the leaders of the national union party wanted to signal that they were primarily concerned with putting the united states back together this time on a firmer foundation of universal freedom. the party would be so strong and so inclusive that it would not be a party at all. but a reflection of the highest ideals of the united states. they denied the legitimacy of partisan conflict in the middle of the nation's greatest crisis. the national union party had numerous advantages. the united states army dwarfed any previous manifestation of any power, patronage and communication. with more than half a million voting men gathered in the army, the party and power fused the purposes of the nation with the
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purposes of the party. soldiers received a steady stream of pamphlets harper's weekly, paid for by supporters of the party but distributed through the national post office. victories on the battlefield and victories for the nation became victories for the party. the democrated hated this. they sneered at the new party the union party convention was no convention at all. rather a coronation of king abraham. the democrats characterized lincoln -- this may be useful to remember in this election season that this is what people said about abraham lincoln -- he is totally unfet for the position he holds he is weak, incapable. a time server without either wise kpre hence of the present or segacious forecast of the
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future. lincoln's future seemed clear. through his mismanagement and imabouti imbecility. thousands of lives have been sacrificed and millions of treasured squandered, leaving the prospect of peace and restored union as far as human foresight can go as distant now as at the beginning far from living up to the ideals of pure patriotism which is how they portrayed themselves, lincoln has len the himself to the schemes of the bold bad men around him, in whose hands he's a mere tool to carry out their wicked designs. this is in the middle of the greatest crisis the united states has ever faced. everyone clasps hands and says, we're all together here.
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lincoln and his party had prostituted the war from the high and noble object from which it was commenced to restore the union in the form it was created. to the basis and most innoble pros cuses. this is the conflict after three years of bloody war as late as 1864. this is how unresolved things are. the democrats did all within their power to generate party feeling and spirit and devotion. they're probably had never been an election in which people were more energized and went to more talks and parades. the republican party just denied the legitimacy of party politics during wartime. they said, this is as close to treason as you can get. they're mobilizing to limit the
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outcome of this war. the north needed to be unified and instead the democrats are bringing division the democrats said, how could you be any more partisan than you are? you republicans, you're deploying every part of partisan machinery, to great profit and advantage. the nickname the democrats had for the republicans were the shodditis. because they had used their party to be selling substandard goods to the united states army. you guys are hypocrites. you're making a mint off this. and saying it's legitimate for us to challenge you republicans boasted of their nonpartisanship including the gettysburg
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address. and in every action of congress lincoln watched concerned as the effects of the war in the summer of 1864 wore on the new union party. sherman struggled outside atlanta with ever longer and more exposed lines of supply and support. a visitor saw lincoln's distress during a visit that summer. the president he said was greatly depressed. for lincoln was human as are all men, differing only in degree. and it was in late august, 23rd. that lincoln wrote a memo. he asked all the members of his cabinet to sign. it's likely we're not going to win. and when we don't. i will support as a cabinet
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member the man who is many in late august, 1864, after all the supposed turning points of the civil war have come and gone. everything still hangs in the balance. late august 1864 now iks the president thought even at this time, what would it cost to compensate the slave holders to end the war? he told a confident he was thinking about paying $400 million to do this. here's his calculation. we're spending $4 million a day to fight the war he did, and there's no prospect of the war ending in the next 100 days. he put that away and never presented it, but to give you some sense of what lincoln's thinking in august of 1864. the democrats of the north remain surprisingly strong for a party that had been grand ever
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brandsed as traders. they sustained newspapers and every county of the north and showed strength throughout the north, outside -- well, throughout the north. they held about 45% of northern voters. they published tracks and kept powerful speakers in the field. rousing people who might waive. in the volatile situation, the vote by soldiers in the field could well prove critical. the republicans had clear advantages in this front. the sort of men likely to vote republican. young, protestant anglo saxon were heavily represented in the army. the risk and sacrifice bound the soldiers together and to their officers as well as the commander in chief.
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the prominent general served with the support of president lincoln and his cabinet and a few democratic generals remain. back home, the democrats relentless criticism of the war effort often sounded to soldiers reading those papers in the trenches outside petersburg or the camps outside atlanta like criticism of them. why can't you beat these rebels? what's wrong with us? shouldn't we just strike peace? shouldn't we say enough is enough. many lifelong democrats decided they would better remain quiet in the camp. they would write letters to sympathetic relatives back home, but they would be quiet. when you were voting in your camps, some chose not to vote at all. others decided they would vote for lincoln. the national union party to show
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their support to bring this war to a close. then they would think about what they might do next time. the democrats had not held their nominating convention through all of this, until late august. just as the military situation and the national moral had reached their lowest point probably in the entire war. the democrats are heading off to chicago feeling good about their odds. they were emboldened. they were divided between the war democrats and peace democrats. calling for a cessation of hostilities and the negotiation of peace. acknowledging the confederacies independence. the convention named george mcclellan for president. he had been removed from command by president lincoln. if he had won he would have been
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the youngest president we had ever had very appealing and very popular. george mcclellan became the nominee. the convention also had a platform including justice, liberty and public welfare, immediate efforts for the cessation of hostilities. the most prominent general in the united states army is now in a party that calls for abandoning the war. despite mcclellan's popularity. the democrats confronted two problems. immediately after they declared the war a failure, news came from sherman, atlanta is ours and fairly won. the democratic delegates returned home, they found every center of population illuminated at night and full of waiving flags during the day.
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as the people hurled back upon them, their resentment at the failure of the war. literally on the day -- right after they say, the war's a failure, and it's very obvious that it is, atlanta falls to sherman. second, mcclellan accepted the democrats nomination, but rejected the peace plan, and did so in stirring language. i could not look in the face of my gallant comrades who have survived so many bloody battles and tell them their labors and sacrifices have been in vein, that we have abandoned that union for which we have so often perilled our lives. while americans would hail with unbounded joy the permanent restoration of peace. the fact was "no peace can be permanent without union." in other words, the candidate explicitly rejected the platform
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of the party that had nominated him. in a letter that everybody read and then he said, i'm pretty sure these are the views of the convention. okay, no, they're not but -- the democrats had to campaign with a candidate who rejected the platform on which he had been nominated. but did so without frankly acknowledging that fact. sherman's victory in atlanta played a critical role, virginia remained a problem. the fact was that the largest united states army under its most celebrated general had not destroyed the largest confederate arm my under its most celebrated general. before the republicans get all spun up about having won the war, there is that fact. with grant and lee locked in a stalemate, the fighting in the shenandoah valley became ever more important. for most voters in the north, georgia was a long way away. the valley of virginia ran
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directly to the cap tom in washington, d.c., and only months before had threatened washington, d.c.. and using that same valley, the confederates had come into the home of the head of the republican party, the state of pennsylvania. and burned his farm to the ground and the entire town in which he lived. suggesting that the united states army is not fully in control of the situation in the summer of 1864. the victories of phillip h. sheridan were especially important in the upcoming elections. in the valley, a place of humiliation for one union general after another, as late as the summer of 1864, it had suddenly become the scene of immediate unqualified repeated and glorious victory. as the union army went wheeling through winchester and as sheridan made the final ride,
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not nearly as long as the famous poem said coming into winchester to help win the victory. sheridan's victories in the valley provided the landscape that had sustained the confederate army for so long. sheridan's burning of the valley demonstrated a new resolve of what would be involved in the rebelli rebellion. a willingness to undermine the resources of victory. they marked the victory over the guerrillas that had bedevil ed these guerrillas up and down the
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valley, suggesting that extra -- that partisan violence by men not in uniform could play a very important role in what is to happen. sheridan defeats guerrillas, defeats earl, sherman's burning did not begin until after the elections if there is a referendum on union policy, it's about the shenandoah valley in the election of 1864 watching all of this, president lincoln calculated the likely votes that would determine the presidency. he was in that tell graph office that you remember from the lincoln movie. and he did the math and he came out saying that if the winner of the election would probably need
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116 electoral votes to be elected. he had about 120. and mcclellan had 114. one or two large states, new york or pennsylvania could change everything. he knew that if the voters voted in 1864 as they had in the state elections of 1862 that he would lose. 127 electoral votes to 86. it wasn't that long before, and now you have grant locked in stalemate outside of richmond. lincoln in any case did not worry about winning the election, because he was looking ahead already he knew that he needed a moral victory for the enormously important work that lay ahead. so to achieve that victory, he needed the two largest states in the union, new york and pennsylvania and both were too close to call before the election.
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the election of 1864 was two elections. the home vote they called it, and the army vote. both democrats and republicans had great hopes for the soldier votes. they would allow absentee ballots from their soldiers in the field in 1864. george mcclellan was a soldier soldier, and worked his networks to encourage other soldiers to support him. mcclellan's status also heard him. many soldiers thought it was inappropriate for a general, still with rank and pay to run against a commander in chief that he served. the democrats peace plank alienated many soldiers who saw their only ka pit tu lace the democratic platform expressed sympathy for the soldiers as if
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they had been duped. soldiers knew the democrats in one state after another had voted to deny them the right to vote in the absentee ballots. they were only temporary soldiers in the case, volunteers with their loyalty still firmly attached to the low caltys and states. what they did not know was weather it would be enough to overcome close home votes in pennsylvania and new york one reason they furloughed thousands of soldiers to go back home to vote. after months of campaigning, building on the years of constantly shifting sands of public opinion, the votes came in. maybe i can show the map i have. this is the election of 1864, i think it's amazing lincoln would
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win by a 411,000 margin over mcclellan. and in the electoral college, he would win by a devastating 212 to 1. he would carry only three states, new jersey, kentucky and delaware. the kentucky votes gave them the power to name united states senators and further their grip on congress. and i would say, if you look at most histories of the civil war, they skate right over the complications of this. and point to that huge victory as indication that the white north is fully in support of everything the republicans are doing. but there are things for us to remember. a shift of 80,000 well placed votes in certain key states would have thrown the election to mcclellan, just 80,000 votes
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out of 4 million. despite all the advantages, the republicans enjoyed in other words, close to half of american voters voted against abraham lincoln. he received the same share of votes he received in 186055. now, as we've seen over the last eight years, the nearly half of the population who didn't win, doesn't just fall into line doesn't just say, what were we thinking? yes, we agree with what you're doing. it matters a great deal for all of things we'll be talking about the rest of the day. that all these blue areas, coast to coast upper north and lower north, border south, big states and small voted for the democrat s when abraham lincoln needed
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them. so this is not just left over, this is after all the cards are on the table and they know what's coming white northern men will not support abraham lincoln. one thing to notice, the electoral college did what it was supposed to do. it turned marginal victories in one county after another. comes down to some counties, 1, 2, 3, 400 voters, determined which color the county went. the electoral college creates a mandate where there had not been one before. rather than say, oh, my gosh, nearly half the people don't support abraham lincoln, instead say, he won 212 electoral votes. it's also the case that the two party system helped channel all of this, let's imagine.
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and the constitution channeled all of this, it said there was going to be an election then and only then. the opposition could have mobilized in july or august of 1864 and called for an election in which republicans might not have won. as it was, the election in november occurred when these victories came to pass. think about that. all these things actually channeled this, so there were only two choices and gave a clear mandate to president lincoln. think about all the things that could have happened. what if the democrats had met at a different time. what if they had made these bone head moves with their plank. what if the military victories of gorgeohad come weeks after td
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all those things could have happened as late as the summer -- now as the fall of 1864. if we're going to talk about a turning point in the civil war, it's not until now. not until nearly the end. it's only after this, that is certain that slavery and the confederacy would be driven to an end. it's important to recall just how close the united states came to that. after this election, think about how quickly the other pieces came into play within 7 months after this election, here's what you have the passage of the 13th
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amendment in general. sherman's famous field orders distributing land to the free people, 40 acres and a mule. lincoln's second inaugural address in march the friedman's bureau in march. johnson's assumption of the presidency in april. and african-american mobilization which had been taking place, in lots of places in the united states had occupied, accelerated in these months as well. this sequence of events political, partisan, military, defined the issues in major protagonists of reconstruction before appamatax. reconstruction did not flow directly from the emancipation proclamation or the gettysburg
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address as we've been taught to believe, or sherman's march it took all the shape from the confluence of the military, the social and economic in the summer and fall of 1864. the anchoring of reconstruction events allows us to address some old questions in new ways. anyone who has ever spoken about the civil war in public has heard the question, what would lincoln have done about reconstruction? and behind that question, lie others. were we doomed to have the painful reconstruction that we endured? was it for ordained that they would fight back with every weapon of their disposal. could we in short have been a stronger and better nation if abraham lincoln had seen us through the critical years that
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followed the war? these are good questions and they're especially compelling questions. i think the questions of abraham lincoln -- lincoln a master of language and of eloquence said relatively little about what he planned to do when the war ended. he had good reason first he could win the war before he could know what would follow. he had only about six months from the time it became clear the united states would win. and he was assassinated. he had only two days after lee's surrender to speak on the subject. nearly half of white northern voters refused to support him.
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those democrats despised lincoln. moreover, large numbers within his own party from both the left and the right challenged any plan that lincoln put forward. the people who had been confederates, sacrificed lives, wealth, and political independence would resist any effort to remake their society and finally, the nation had to find a way to make people who had been held in perpetual bondage, their entire lives for generations, the fruits of their labor deprived from them for all those years, how would they determine their own political fate. these problems stood before anyone who would lead the nation. he had done all that anyone could have, to minimize the obstacles of reunification and
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the integration of african-americans into the policy. that goal had shaped all that he had done. those two goals were often intent on each other. how could he prosecute this war and speak in such terms of bringing the former confederate states back in? how could he talk like that and still talk of ending slavery. it was his genius he was able to hold both those ideas together. lincoln worked to pass the 13th amendment, so the legal foundations would be in place when the war ended. the emancipation proclamation had been a war measure. it could have done anything. and instead, it focused on that struggle. i think wisely.
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because this is what is able to redeem so much of what had been won in the war. he ran with a former democrat, a southern unionist in 1864, precisely to help start putting the nation back together. andrew johnson with whom he had had one conversation maybe the last conversation he had before going to the theater. build a national republican party would white southerners have be haved differently than lincoln. he misjudged the southern white majority at every step of the war. he could not believe that people who loved the united states did not still really love it. even though they had been
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tricked into rebellion. their true self-s will come forward, lincoln appeared to believe that after the war give them a chance and their true love for the founding would come forward. scholars, including lately, looked at the course of the war to see what lincoln might have been thinking. we had to look hard. he didn't show all his cards. generally, in lincoln's last speech, devoted to the challenges of reconstruction in louisiana, louis mezer has a very interesting new book you go to the appendix and read the last speech and go, that's not classic lincoln. he uses the phrase practical -- here's what he talks about
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proper practical relation is mentioned six times. that's not necessarily better angels of our nature. reconstruction louisiana, which is the only one that had been following his 10% plan. lincoln's thinking about this in his last speech. and his final sentence that he gave his public speaker was, in the present situation, it may be my duty to make a new announcement to the people of the south. you couldn't have a more open ended statement of what reconstruction might be under abraham lincoln. to show you how treacherous things are, it was that same speech, where he makes an illusion to the possibility that some intelligent black veterans might be able to vote. that's when john wilkes booth determines lincoln must die now.
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that reminds us of the proper -- when he says the words that trigger the assassination that many had dreaded for so long. so another excellent book, we can't know, we know that lincoln was a much better politician more importantly had had the entire party behind him the way johnson never did. there's no conversation whatsoever that lincoln had ever thought about the fundamental changes of land confiscation and distribution. it's not as if lincoln knew what was going to happen the whole nation was trying to figure out what happens when the largest and powerful slave society of the modern world collapses, when the largest single concentration of capital in the united states is gone.
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when 4 million people have nothing but the shirts on their back have to make new lives for themselves. what could be more challenging than that, and what could be more important than that. the challenges confront anyone who understand all these years is that it was in fact the result of generation after generation of fighting over what would follow slavery. but the same time, there's a sudden twist of events that steer what might seman inevitable process of the american savory into forms that nobody could have foreseen. you have to understand both of those things the big patterns and the particularity in which history happens. it can emphasize the long
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tradition of resistance without which this would not have happened. or the crash of events that ended slavery far more rapidly than anyone could have dared imagine. here's what the events between august 1864 and april 1865 remind us, the end of slavery did not happen as a product of inevitability or sishlg um stance, but was the result of consistent principled dangerous efforts on the part of relatively few people. and then steadily embracing more white and more powerful people and then in the context of war the challenge to our understanding comes when we realize the culmination of the struggle depended on all the people in blue there on the millions of voters never persua should be the purpose of the war. when we realized, too, that unwilling or agnostic or
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noncommittal people of the united states army, in the united states army and even in the republican party created a space in which these things could happen, but they did not have a unified north behind them and they did have a unified white south opposed to them. so i hope i have lived up to john's order to kind of set the stage. if not, telling you all the things that happened to help us realize what was at stake, why these are the most important years in american history, why the roots reached deep back into the civil war in very concrete ways, why to understand the civil war, you have to understand reconstruction and to understand reconstruction, you have to understand the american civil war. so i believe we are supposed to take questions. is that correct? >> we are. if you can remind people to use the mikes. >> yes, if you please use your
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mikes for c-span, i would appreciate that. the mikes are coming to you. [ applause ] thanks very much. it's always good to get the applause before the questions. yes, sir. >> excellent talk, as always. >> thank you. >> always enjoy your observations. i have two questions i'm trying to even as i stand here pick out which one i'm going to ask. i'm going to ask this one. one of the things that we often hear is that it was the victory in atlanta that solidified the momentum for re-election and that the victories in the valley were the icing on the cake that helped kind of further solidify but it was atlanta that was the turning point. you seem to suggest that while atlanta was kind of a shock to the system for the good, for the north, for the northern war effort, it was the victories in the valley that really solidified the support and the eventual re-election. was that a fair assessment or do you even draw those
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distinctions? >> yeah, you called me out on that. here's the thing. i think it's fair to say that you have crystalized common belief about this, that it was atlanta. it just so happens i'm writing a book about the shenendoah valley. all that said, i do believe that we have probably underestimated the role of sheridan's victories right on the cusp of election, right on the borders of one of the most important states and right outside of washington, d.c. i think the latching on to sherman's victory which i'm not diminishing in any way, is typical of the way when we get to this part of the story, we can sort of see the end of the war coming and we start rushing it along. both the election and its yut outcome and the war itself.
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we forget how many men are still left to die after this. how many battles are to be fought and how large the civil war was and how many consequences it had had. so i don't know if it's revisionism. i'm just calling your attention to the fact that if you think about the particularities of the election, if you are actually in that moment and reading the newspapers and you have the most popular poem to come out of the american civil war, sheridan's ride comes out a week before the election and is performed all across the north, and the third most popular picture of the civil war, sheridan's ride into winchester, it suggests to me that it had a consequence in that immediate -- look today, there's a primary vote tonight in south carolina but we know just in the last three days, important things happened in the news that we can see before our eyes are shaping people's votes. i think that if you would think
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about proximity in time and in perception and self-interest, the shenendoah valley is a lot more important than we have been led to believe. yes. jack? >> doctor, your graphics always illuminate and in my case, almost always confuse me. >> just for a moment. >> but i love them. the residents of counties in the newly admitted state of west virginia have the opportunity to cast votes in the '64 election? i don't see any red or blue counties in west virginia. >> who knows? does anybody know? get off my back, jack. i don't know. it's my belief that they did and i also believe that nevada should be on here as w


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