Chapter 14 Summary
In spite of political leaders' last-minute efforts to find a compromise over slavery that would preserve the Union, the election of Lincoln, followed by the secession of six southern states, pushed the country into war. The North had twice the resources of the South, and the ability to create an activist centralized government to tap these resources to wage a total war. The South, however, needed only to fight a defensive war and hope for a military stalemate to achieve its goals. As a result, initial fighting quickly escalated into a series of major battles, and then a total war involving a full-scale invasion of the South in both the East and the West. As Lincoln expanded the Union's military strategy to achieve victory, he broadened the goals of the war to include emancipation and the end of slavery. Through war and policy, the northerners relentlessly pursued a revolution of southern society. How far they would be willing to go to reconstruct the South after achieving military victory was a major question.
Secession and Military Stalemate, 1861–1862 (pp. 442–449)
Before Lincoln was inaugurated president in March 1861, six southern states seceded from the Union and formed the Confederate States of America. In his inaugural address, Lincoln gave the seceded states-whose actions he declared illegal-a clear choice: Return to the Union or face war. War resulted when the Confederate government took Fort Sumter by force in April 1861. While Lincoln worked politically and militarily to keep border states in the Union, five other southern states joined the Confederacy. Meanwhile, the escalation of military activity, from an initial demoralizing failure at Bull Run to a failed effort to launch a campaign against Richmond and inconclusive carnage at Antietam, convinced Lincoln that to achieve his goal of a decisive military victory he would have to mobilize all the resources of the economy and socie…
Chapter 14 Summary