Abraham Lincoln eBook

George Haven Putnam
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 191 pages of information about Abraham Lincoln.
seceding States had forfeited all claims to the political liberty of their communities.  According to this contention, the Slave States were to be treated as conquered territory, and it simply remained for the government of the United States to reshape this territory as might be found convenient or expedient.  According to the other view, as secession was itself something which was not to be admitted, being, from the constitutional point of view, impossible, there never had in the legal sense of the term been any secession.  The instant the armed rebellion had been brought to an end, the rebelling States were to be considered as having resumed their old-time relations with the States of the North and with the central government.  They were under the same obligations as before for taxation, for subordination in foreign relations, and for the acceptance of the control of the Federal government on all matters classed as Federal.  On the other hand, they were entitled to the privileges that had from the beginning been exercised by independent States:  namely, the control of their local affairs on matters not classed as Federal, and they had a right to their proportionate representation in Congress and to their proportion of the electoral vote for President.  It has been very generally recognised in the South as in the North that if Lincoln could have lived, some of the most serious of the difficulties that arose during the reconstruction period through the friction between these conflicting theories would have been avoided.  The Southerners would have realised that the head of the government had a cordial and sympathetic interest in doing what might be practicable not only to re-establish their relations as citizens of the United States, but to further in every way the return of their communities to prosperity, a prosperity which, after the loss of the property in their slaves and the enormous destruction of their general resources, seemed to be sadly distant.

On the 14th of April, comes the dramatic tragedy ending on the day following in the death of Lincoln.  The word dramatic applies in this instance with peculiar fitness.  While the nation mourned for the loss of its leader, while the soldiers were stricken with grief that their great captain should have been struck down, while the South might well be troubled that the control and adjustment of the great interstate perplexities was not to be in the hands of the wise, sympathetic, and patient ruler, for the worker himself the rest after the four years of continuous toil and fearful burdens and anxieties might well have been grateful.  The great task had been accomplished and the responsibilities accepted in the first inaugural had been fulfilled.

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Abraham Lincoln from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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