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tv   Abraham Lincoln Congress the Cabinet of 1862  CSPAN  March 30, 2018 10:23am-11:16am EDT

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>> coming up next, from a recent forum on the presidency of abraham lincoln, discussion on his relations with his cabinet and congress, with african-americans and with abolitionists. edwin stanton and his role in the aftermath of abraham lincoln's assassination. >> for the 21st annual symposium and ford's theater society. next, william harris, author of lincoln and congress, talks about the congress of 1862 and its actions to have president lincoln's secretary of state, william stewart, replaced. this is about 45 minutes.
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>> north carolina state university, a native of alabama and earned his ba degree at alabama in 1954. he remembers seeing legendary alabamact football coach bear bryan at the possible pub on campus but said he was always too intimidated to approach the legendary coach. he earned his doctorate in 1965e his teaching took him to millsaps college and north carolina state where he served as chair of the department of history. whether administering, teaching or both, his scharship has never stalled, author of 14 books, numerous articles and essays on civil war. notable among them with charity for all, lincoln and the
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restoration of the union, which won the second place for the 1998 lincoln prize, lincoln's last months, which came out in 2004 and, received our own institute's book award. lincoln at the border states and his latest book, lincoln and congress, which treats the sometimes contentious, sometimes cooperative relationship between lincoln and capitol hill. although perhaps more cooperative than we sometimes think. lincoln, according to bill's work, really only had one important veto to deliver during his time as president. i could tell you that bill writes with intelligence, great insight, solid judgment, good humor and popular appeal.
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he comes up with categories for his aflgss, himself, as well as these three, historians of the american civil war. and finally one category called living people will turn him up. ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming bill harri harris. >> it's an honor to deliver a paper on lincoln on the stage of this historic theater.
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not only for the life and motivations ofof this infamous assassin, but also for the history of american theater during the 19th century. >> regarding his perspective relationship with congress. by they constitution, the executive may recommend measures which he may think proper and he may veto those measures he thinks improper. and it is supposed he may add to these to the effect the action
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of congress. however, my political education strongly inclines me against a free use of any of these means by the executive to control the legislation of the country. as a rule, i think that they should originate as well as perfect its measures. wigs, majority in lincoln's republican partyty and would be majority in congress after the southern states left the union, had a similar political education.
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including congress' role in financing the war, economic policies and the right to investigate wrongdoing in the military. house, ways and means committee coordinated thend nuts and bolt to run p the government and provide for the financial and some of these measures had a long-term impact.
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the homestead act, national banking acts and issuance of treasury notes and fwreenbacks. it is a mistake to believe that control the republican congress. radicals, vocal and shifting minority increasingly pushed for emancipation and black rights, hard war against the rebels and policy. could be found supporting some radical measures. for example, early emancipation. they later supported it. but not the other radical measures, such as harsh reconstruction policy. a small block of conservative republicans notably senator
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james dulow, lincoln's illinois friend, opposed anti-slavery policy and confiscation laws. they were joined by john j. crittedon. the minority n july 1861, andrew johnson in the senate and crittendon in the housee the president deplorable civil war has beenrn forced on the countr by the dehumanist of the southern states. against the constitutional government that the war is not waged upon our part in any spirit of owe pregnancy not for the purpose of conquest, of
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subjugation. as soon as these objectives are accomplished ther war ought to cease. passed by surprisingly large margin of 117-2 in the house and 30-5 in the senate. even radicals like thaddeus stevens, vote for the resolutions, despite their desire fored subrogation of the south. lincoln, however, continued to insist, even after he issued his he emancipation proclamation that his primary purpose was to
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save the union and restore the southern states with their rights unimpaired except for io slavery. his anti-slavery policy became part of his overarching strategy to save the union. the war first had to be won. by the fall of 1862, the military situation largely unden general george bncht mcclellan's command, with no apparent end in sight. inevitably the dismalpolitical situation fort the republicans reflected the war wariness of the people. also, republicans were not aided politically by lincoln's preliminary emancipation proclamation and writ of habeus corpus in. september. they retained control of congress by a small margin than before. war and n to the
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volunteering for thesi army eve after mcclellan, seemed prime for the democrats to assume control soon. democratic leader hor a. tio seymouseymour. manywa republicans in congress d unhappily concluded thatin lincn was weak as a war leader and executive. though they acknowledged his good. intentions. >> they feared that republican attacks would have on support for the war and their party. privately republicans felt little about questioning his be
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leadership. tremble who owed his election to lincoln, wrote a friend you would be surprised in talking with g public men in congress to find how few when you get at their real sentiments, are for mr. lincoln. there is a distrust and fear that he is too undecided and ri inefficient to put down the rebellion. during the dark days of early 1862, republican leaders in congress came to the conclusion that the reorganization of the the warwas necessary if was to be won. overwhelmingly, they wanted secretary of state stewart replaced in the cabinet. and to a lesser extent, the anti-republican thunderbolt, postmaster general montgomery blair, an old fossil, edward bates, the attorney general. congressional republicans unfairly thought these cabinet members, especially stewart,
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controlled the president and his administration's failure to pursue an aggressive policy to win the war. always seemed to have the president's ear. dating back toal 1860, 1861 whe as a senator he offered a proposal to save the union, which many republicans believed was a sellout to the successionist. when he unsuccessfully sought to dominate the administration.
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conduct to foreign affairs did not sit well with republicans in congress and especially in the senate. today, unsung leader in the history of the senate expressed the opinion of many of his colleagues onat both sides of t aisle when he wrote a friend at this time. stewart, he said, was a poor creature. although unfair in his characterization of stewart, they had come to believe the worst in his secretary of state. in december 1862 to get rid of stewart and reshape the cabinet from the radical perspective,
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dismissing concerns to control theca president and the war. according to this narrative, radicals were encouraged by the underhanded complaints of secretary of treasury and lincoln's management of affairs. historians have been influenced by anti-radical accounts in the diaries of giddeon wells and edward. too little attention or credit has been given to senate republicans to urge more efficiency and coordination in administration's management of the war. even without chase's scheming, republicans had enough cause to wantr changes. but without seeking to control the administration or even the president's appointments. senator wade of ohio was an exception. he wanted congress and specifically the committee on the conduct to thee war, which e
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chaired, to have an oversight role in war policy and selection of military commands. hope to impress upon lincoln the need for changes that would result in a more vigorous contribution to the war. he wasn't ratd radical in that sense but in terms of reconstruction and other measures.
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open the caucus of the republicans by claiming that the country was ruined and the cause was lost. wilkersonrd declared that secretary of state stewart he said exercise the controlling influence upon the mind of the president. wilkerson wrongly charged that stewart never believed in the war and so long as he remained inwh the cabinet nothing but defeat and disaster could be expected. senator lafayette foster of connecticut disputed the minnesota senator's claim that the war was lost. though he did agree with him that no improvements could be expected out of affairs as long as mr. stewart remained in the cabinet. others spoke in a similar vain. ben wade went further. he severely criticized lincoln for placing our armys under the
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command of officers who did not believe in the policy of the government and no sympathy with its purposes. t senator jacob colymer of vermont said difficulty was to be found in the fact that the president had no cabinet in the true sense of the word. he explained, it was notorious that the president did not consult his cabinet counselors as a party upon important matters. vermont senator reported that he understood the president to express the opinion that it was bestte to have no policy and le each member of the cabinet attend to the duties of their department -- of his department. this was poor management and a recipe for failure, he believed. he thought that measures should beni taken to bring about a different state of things in the administration. senator refecedent then told
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republicane senators that a crisis had arrived requiring the senate's active interposition in affairs. he warned that the caucus should proceed cautiously and with unan unanimity. in all events the maine senator had no doubt that measures should be taken to make the cabinet a unity and remove from it anyone who did not coincide heartily with our viewers and relations to the war. he obviously had in mind secretary of state stewart. several senators wanted the caucus to improve a resolution to the effect that without mentioning name of any cabinet member for dismissal. senator james doolittle,
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conservative republican,in insisted thatol instead of a resolution, the caucus should appoint af committee to speak lincoln regarding their concerns. two conservatives wanted time to consider the matter. as a result, the caucus adjourned to meet the next day. senator harris of new york offered a resolution that a committee be appointed to wait upon the president on behalf of the senate and urged upon him changes in conduct and in the cabinet which shall give the administration unity and vigor. present and partial
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reconstruction of the constitution, of the cabinet. although senator john sherman o. ohio announced his support of the w resolution, he proceeded attack the president. the difficulty was with the president himself, sherman y, declared. that lincoln had neither dignity nor firmness to be tspresident. although sherman wanted to go directly to the president himself and tell him his defects, he doubted that even that would do any good. the harris resolution committed to meet with the president past the republican caucus by a unanimous vote with king abstaining. president lincoln agreed to meet with the committee the next e evening. meanwhile, senator colymer wrote a brief paper as he understood
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them. the committee approved the paper which significantly expressed the most unqualified confidence in patriotism and integrity of the president, identified as they are with the success of his administration. that's where the partnership comes c in. the republican senators, he wrote, were deeply convinced that the public confidence -- that public confidence requires aa practical regard to their oppositions and principles for executive consideration and action. senator king immediately informed stewart about the ne forthcoming meeting with the president and its purpose. shaken by the news, he smithed his resignation towa the president. although lincoln had agreed to the meeting, he was not happy about it. he was suspicious of the motives of the senators. lincoln called his friend, brownen into his office and anxiously asked him, what do
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these men mean? brownin, who attended the caucus, replied, i hardly know, mr.. president, but they're exceedingly violent toward the administration and what we did yesterday was the gentlest thing that could be done. where to lincoln said they want to get rid of me. brownen immediately realized he overstated the senator's opposition to him. some of them do wish to get rid of you, but almost all of them realize the fortunes of the country are bound with your fortunes and youon must hold th helm with a steady hand to relinquish it now would bring upon us certain and inevitable ruin. without acknowledging his friend's reassurances, lincoln
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sadly remarked fredericksburg defeat in mind we're now on the brink of instruction. it appears to me that the almighty is against us and i can hardly see a ray of hope. as far as i'm aware, this was the only time that lincoln expressed fear for the success of the union in a war. probably be able to enlighten you later on that score. might have expressed that on other occasions, too. but as far as i've seen, that's the only time he expressed fear that the union might not succeed. brownen assured him that -- referring to the charges against stewart the president commented, why will men begin a lie, an
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lie, that they could not impose upon a child and cling to it and repeat it in defiance of all evidence to the contrary? brownen did not respond and i won't respond to that one either. lincoln then said since i have heard less -- since i heard last night of the proceedings of this caucus, i have been more distressed by any event of my life. when the committee of the caucus met with lincoln on december 18, senator began by reading his brief paper, outlining the views of the republican senators. lincoln must have been somewhat relievedic to hear that the pap, approved by the committee of the caucus, was not an indictment of the administration. the paper, as the caucus resolution stated, affirmed the senator's confidence in the president and recommends only changes for his consideration
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and hopefully his action. these changes were not specified in the paper but all knew that theal replacement of stewart an democratic generals were at the heart of the senator's concern. when colymer had finished reading his paper, he turned to other committee members for their opinions. ben wade opened the discussion by criticizing the president for leaving the conduct of the war in the hands of democratic military commanders who had little or no s sympathy for the cause. other republican senators in tha meeting with lincoln agreed. unfairly claimed that it was singly unfair that every officer known as a slavery man had been disgraced and largely pro-slavery men had been retained. speaking of mcclellan i would think. fecident as well as other senators n expressed concern th
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lincoln had neglected to consult with his cabinet on important matters regarding the war. he also maintained that steward was not o in accord with the majority of the cabinet and exerted an upon the conduct of the war. fesiten w told lincoln it was n the purpose to dictate to him with regard to his cabinet, which is somewhat contradictory of what he said. nonetheless, he said the emergency innd national affairs rendered it necessary c for the president to consult frequently with all his constitutional advisers for their friendly counsel. senator charles sumner, who drafted -- who chaired the senate foreign relations si committee, claimed that the secretary of state had uttered statements offensive to congress and spoken of it repeatedly in the presence of foreign ministers. among other wrongful actions, sumner charged that seward had
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written offensive dispatches, which the president could not have seen or assented to. after three hours, the meeting ended without any resolution. the next day, lincoln asked for another session that night, which was agreed to by the committeee caucus. that meeting lincoln had every cabinet member but seward to join him in the meeting. the president opened the discussion according to an account by fesiten with a speech, admitting that a cabinet had not been very regular in its consultations, but excusing it for want of time.rs however, he said that most questions of importance had received a reasonable consideration. and he was not aware of any decisions or want of unity in the cabinet. lincoln acknowledged several incidents in which important actions were taken without consulting the cabinet.
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he cited his restatement of mcclellan as commander of the army in virginia and henry w. hall locker as general in chief. lincoln insisted that seward had not improperly interfered with the management of the other departments. despite claims to the contrary, lincoln told the caucus committee that seward had generally read him his official correspondence before sending it.li after he had concluded his remarks, lincoln asked members of his cabinet to say whether they had been any lack of unity or insufficient consultation with them. this put secretary of treasury chase in an untenable position. since he did not want to admit openly that he had been underhanded and disloyal to the president by giving congress critical comments about him. according to secretary of the
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navy wells, chase shamelessly endorsed lincoln's statement, fully and entirely. other members of the cabinet also endorsed the president's position withd a notable exception of secretary of war ee stanton, who remained silent. the senators in the meeting later repeated their criticism ofco seward, and the need for me cabinet meetings and consultations by the president on important issues. after five hours of discussion in which lincoln handled the committee members with considerable tact, en livened with his usual an equity dotys, the meeting adjourned. many left disappointed that the president did not at least indicate he would accept seward's resignation. senator brownen later asked
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senator colorado ma how chase could sayay that the cabinet ha been harmonious when he had skeemd against it and the president. columa answered, he lied. embarrassed, chase immediately submitted his resignation to the president. lincoln astutely refused both seward and chase's resignation. he triumphantly remarked to gideon wells, my way is clear. the trouble is ended. he ex claimed that now he was now master of the administration. privately, some republicans in congress expressed outrage in the president's refusal to accept changes that the caucus recommended. representative henry doils of massachusetts disgustingly wrote his wife, the president is an i
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am i am besill and should be send to the school for feeble-minded youth. meanwhile, the poor country is going to prediction as fast as possible. despite the belief of browning, conservatives in the cabinet ann even lincoln at first, the caucus of republican senators did not seek to dominate the administration.d although they sought the removaa of seward, the senators also wanted to make the president awaret of the need for him to consult the cabinet on a regular basis with the aim of pursuing a more vigorous and unified prosecution of the war. the cabinet crisis had largely cleared the air between the president and the party leaders in congress. both realize that cooperation between the two branches of government to save the union and preserve constitutional government was too important for a rupture to occur in the relationship. although lincoln recognized the
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flaws in his method of management, he never really corrected them. an exception was his consideration of the west th virginia statehood bill. passed a few days after his meeting with the caucus committee. the president asked, and secured the approval in writing of his cabinet members to the bill, which he then signed. he continued, however, the disconcerting and irregular practice of depending on individual members of the cabinet and old party hacks, as navy secretary wells characterized them. later in the war, wells wrote in his diary, only three ous at cabinet meeting today. the others were absent, as usual, without cause, and the course pursued sustains him in this neglect. seward is there every day when there is a cabinet meeting and an hour on cabinet days. as stanton does not go to the
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president, the president goes to him. fesiton, who is now treasury secretary, frets, because there are no cabinet consultations and stays away. according to wells. seward never forgot the president's support of him in the cabinet crisis of 1862.st nor did lincoln ever have causeu to question the secretary of state's fateful service to him or to the union. returning from grant's army on april o9, 1865, lincoln rushedo the best side of seward, who had been badly injured in a carriage accident. for about a half hour, the president sat and described the situation at the front to his friend and told him, we are nearly end at last in this war. he left while talking to seward
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when seward fell asleep. they never saw each other again. thank you. i will take a few questions and hopefully i'll be able to answer them, at least in part. g this gentleman over here. >> good morning. thank you for a wonderful talk. in the beginning, you referenced a group, and you referred to them as the radicals. i was wondering if you could give a fuller description of who they were and how they operate and had whether they themselves considered themselves radicals. >> well, yes, they did consider themselves radical, those who were really radical. but the -- they were a minority among the republican party, as i said.it but they were also in the beginning of the war pretty much less radical. they went along with the
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resolution. some off them wanted more. but it depended on theol war's situation, and later in the ware that resolution that said the only purpose of the war was to save the union and restore the constitution. but later in the war, they became more radical as things went bad. and they wanted the south to pay. and they certainly wanted a reconstruction policy that we really didn't get into here. that reflected -- preserved the fruits of union victory in the south, which included bona fide freedom for blacks and also protection for -- the union officials who might go there. and the -- also the prescription of former confederate leaders.
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lincoln didn't go alongng with that. so lincoln viewed himself basically as a conservative. moderate. i haven't seen used in a political sense. maybe on one occasion. but it's usually used in the sense of someone who is moderate in their habits and so on. but not political issue. but radicals, it varied, too. people like trumbull could be considered a radical. but on some things near the end of the war, he supported lincoln's reconstruction policy, at least to some extent. and some who were radical probably werewh not so radical,s the war -- after the war, for example, when they saw that -- well, the union victory has been won, and the political winds ultimately moved in the favor of those who said let's get away
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from it. during reconstruction. but there were a minority in the party but could get people to go along, and they also collaborated with --- cooperate with other members of the party on certain things here. they were not always fiery radicals. in otherat words. okay? yes, sir. >> yes. thank you for this talk. it was great. do you think comparisons could be made between this cabinet fight in 1862 and the current fights between president trump andd the congress? >> my view is probably like yours. and so -- and so since -- i won't go -- [ laughter ] the 21st century is not my bag. [ laughter ] [ applause ] yes, sir. >> thank you for the talk. seward, of course, had been a th senator, had been a leader of the republicans in the senate.
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>> i'm sorry? >> seward had been a senator for a long time. >> that's right. >> and a leader of the republicans in the senate. >> that's right. > and he had been front runn for the 1860 nomination. so what was really behind their mistrust of him? was it personalities? was it his scheming imperious nature? what did they really have against him? >> well, in the beginning -- well, they didn't -- he was not -- he was not liked very much in new england, among the republicans. because he was a political manipulator, they thought, in new york. and somewhat -- but he was viewed by the south as radical.o and too radical by the lower north to win the presidency for thenc republicans in 1860. that's basically the reason that lincoln was the choice of the republicans. he could win the lower north, as you probably know.
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but then when the cessation crisis hit after that, seward backtracked. i think basically he became very nervous about what was happening. and he didn't want to -- he could see that there was going to be a war here if we pursued this thing too far. and hee had enemies all along herere in the republican party, opponents like fesiton, and there were others. as well. and so then when he hesitated to become secretary of state, that did not help either. and finally, after he became secretary of state, as the war began, he set himself up as a premier and almostt announced that, i believe, michael. premier of this administration. and that did not set well. but let's say something else aboutit seward here. that by june, i believe, he was writing his wife that -- well, i should point out one other thing that he was willing to
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compromise a bit with the south. and that would violate the republicanhe platform in 1860. they didn't like that. but then he was writing his wife by june of 1861 that indeed, -- lincoln is the best of us. he is the best of us. and they collaborated during the war. a little bit too much collaboration, as far as most republicans are concerned. whether they were radical or not. doolittle was a conservative republican, and he thought it was too much. okay. >> professor harris, wasn't some -- a lot of the an tag minimum say an honest virtuous man like jacob colorado mer, had a sense of human. wasn't it sam chase that stirred up the crisis where chase lincoln called -- or confronted
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chase and called his bluff on his intrigues? wasn't really sam chase stirring up the senators? >> that might have been. but i think that the -- it went back further than that with colimer and others regarding -- even chase. but certainly seward. the -- during the crisis here, of course, chase bailed out when he was confronted with that. in the cabinet.cu and with lincoln. and the republican caucus. and didn't like that. and throughout the rest of the war, they kind of were antagonistic towards seward. but lincoln stood by. and seward never forgot that.
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but the -- there were other issues that developed, too, ovew foreign affairs, for example. and the french late in the war when -- seward apologized, virtually, to the french minister that the house of representatives was trying to take over radicals in the house henry who went to davis who chaired the committee, tried to take over foreign relations from the president. that was beaten down, ultimately. but seward had said that, oh, don't worry about it. don't worry. told the french this. this was with regard to mexico, where most people wanted u.s. forces to -- after the war to move into mexico and get rid of the french. but the republicans, not just the radicals, did not appreciate seward i for that -- for saying
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that to the minister. and it's documented, i think, too. okay. do we have -- let's see. one more question, i believe. >> professor harris, thanks. you mentioned the joint committee on the conduct of the war. do you think that washa a good thing, a bad thing? a mixture? what are your views on the joint committee? >> right. lincoln did not think it was a good thing. but he deferred to congress. on -- in terms of what committees they wanted in all. and they came over and they would talk to lincoln and his response would be okay. but he didn't really -- didn't really -- he kept them at arms length, especially regarding appointments ofer commanders.
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and -- but ben wade was after lincoln from the beginning. almost from the beginning. and he chaired that committee. and most of them were republicans, and here where we get into start off is sort of not -- sort of middle of the road republicans. some of them did. on that committee. but then they begin to see how bad things were going, i suppose, in the military. with mcclellan and with the other generals, too. especially when the political situation became bad. in '62, early '63. and so they began to come down pretty hard t here on lincoln a the conduct of the war. they wanted changes. but, again, they were -- they wanted -- they did this mainly privately. not publicly.
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because that could undercut the whole war effort. but that committee did investigate a lot of i things. and did some -- and there was some injustice involved. lincoln went along, though, with the court martial of general stone. and for the battlefield engagement near washington. and stone spent about, what, six months in the -- you're a stanton scholar. six months, i believe, in prison. and lincoln didn't do: anything. and it was an injustice. >> and indeed there was no court martial. it was an injustice. >> okay, right. they just threw him in, right. yeah, right. but that was an example of -- he went along too much here, i think. lincoln did. but in the end, he had control of the big picture.
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and that was the important thing. do we -- do we have time? one more question, she said. >> thank you. and thanks for your beautiful lecture. i have a question. how did president lincoln convincece congress to add two states in two years. nevada and west virginia. >> to do what? >> to add two more states in the union? >> well, they were going to be republican states. [ laughter ]il and it was -- it was congress that was behind this, primarily, too. v but, of course, he went along. they added west virginia, as well. going to be 'ton republican initially. that was a unionist state. and they were conservatives. an example of conservative senators, but union senator becoming pretty much radical, the middle of the road republicans by the end of the war.
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soas -- but -- -- earlier in th war, it was kansas. early -- before the war in 1861. and -- but and then nevada late in the war. of t course, the democrats char that this was really trying to get more electoral votes. and some republicans might have had that in mind in congress. and then efforts in the south to establish loyal s governance, a well.n, our union governments charged this was treason. but no, not for lincoln. i think we can safely say that, that he wanted these -- these states that never left the union. and he wanted them back in the hands of the union people, and he had them.or that were -- that were not radical. so that, i think, is -- is
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important to know. thank you. [ applause ] thank you. this weekend on the c-span networks, saturday at 9:20 p.m., on c-span. a debate on the suit by a same-sex couple for refusing to make their wedding cake from the national constitution center in philadelphia. and sunday at 6:30 p.m., be daniel mark, chairman of the u.s. commission on international religious freedom on the current state of religious liberty in the u.s. and around the world. saturday, on book tv, c-span 2 at 10:00 p.m. eastern, on afterwards, james swanson talks with associated press writer, jesse holland, about events leading up to the assassination of martin luther king jr. and sunday at 10:00 p.m., second
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lady karen pence and her daughter charlotte share the stare of their family's pet rabbit, marlin bundo, saturday on american history tv, c-span3 at 8:00 p.m. eastern on lectures in history. tulane university professor on moonshine drivers and the origins of nascar. and sunday at 8:00 a.m., landscape historian, jonathan plisca about the annual white house easter egg roll which began in 1978 and the changes that have been made along the way. this weekend on the c-span networks. for nearly 20 years, in depth on book tv has featured the nation's best-known nonfiction writers for live conversations about their books. this year, as a special project, we're featuring best-selling fiction writers. for an in depth fiction edition. join us sunday live with walter
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moseley. his most recent book is "down the river unto the sea." his other books include "devil in a blue dress," "gone fishin" and "fearless jones." we'll be taking your phone calls, tweets and facebook be messages. our special series, in depth fiction edition, with walter moseley, sunday, live from noon to 3:00 p.m. eastern on book tv on c-span 2ful. sunday night, on "q & a," high school students from around the country were in washington, d.c. for the annual united states senate youth program. we met with them at the historic may flower hotel, where they shared their thoughts about government and politics. >> and i'm really passionate about daca. it is unfair that 700,000 men, women and children's lives hang in the balance because our congress cannot find a solution. it is not a democratic issue, it is not a republican issue.
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it's a human rights issue. >> and an issue that's very important to me is climate change. the notion that we're the only country in the world that is no, sir in the paris climate accords is a travesty. every other country in the world has recognized the detrimental impacts of climate change and has taken steps to address it. and currently, we have not stayed on course with the other countries. >> we are the richest nation in the world. yet we have citizens who go bankrupt trying to cover basic health care costs. and i think that is an outrage. and that we should be ashamed. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's "q & a." american history tv was recently at ford's theatre in washington, d.c., for the 21st annual symposium hosted by the abraham lincoln institute, and ford's theatre society. next, michael burlingame, author of "abraham lincoln: a life." he talks about

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