Abraham Lincoln, Volume I eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 338 pages of information about Abraham Lincoln, Volume I.

In Tennessee the Unionist majority, as indicated early in February, was overwhelming.  Out of a total vote of less than 92,000, more than 67,000 opposed a state convention.  The mountaineers of the eastern region especially were stalwart loyalists, and later held to their faith through the severe ordeal of a peculiarly cruel invasion.  But the political value of these scattered settlements was small; and in the more populous parts the Secessionists pursued their usual aggressive and enterprising tactics with success.  Ultimately the governor and the legislature despotically compelled secession.  It was not decreed by a popular vote, not even by a convention, but by votes of the legislature cast in secret session, a proceeding clearly ultra vires of that body.  Finally, on June 8, when a popular vote was taken, the State was in the military control of the Confederacy.

Very similar was the case of North Carolina.  The people of the uplands, like their neighbors of Tennessee, were Unionists, and in the rest of the State there was a prevalent Union sentiment; but the influence of the political leaders, their direct usurpations of power, and the customary energetic propagandism, ultimately won.  After a convention had been once voted down by popular vote, a second effort to bring one together was successfully made, and an ordinance of secession was passed on May 20.  Arkansas was swept along with the stream, seceding on May 6, although prior to that time the votes both for holding a state convention and afterward in the convention itself had shown a decided Unionist preponderance.  These three States, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Arkansas, were entirely beyond the reach of the President.  He had absolutely no lines of influence along which he could work to restrain or to guide them.

Missouri had a career peculiar to herself.  In St. Louis there was a strong Unionist majority, and especially the numerous German population was thoroughly anti-slavery, and was vigorously led by F.P.  Blair, Jr.  But away from her riverfront the State had a sparse population preserving the rough propensities of frontiersmen; these men were not unevenly divided between loyalty and secession and they were an independent, fighting set of fellows, each one of whom intended to follow his own fancy.  The result was that Missouri for a long while carried on a little war of her own within her own borders, on too large a scale to be called “bushwhacking,” and yet with a strong flavor of that irregular style of conflict.  The President interested himself a good deal in the early efforts of the loyalists, and amid a puzzling snarl of angry “personal politics” he tried to extend to them aid and countenance, though with imperfect success.  It was fortunate that Missouri was away on the outskirts, for she was the most vexatious and perplexing part of the country.  Her population had little feeling of state allegiance, or, indeed, of any allegiance at all, but what small amount there was fell upon the side of the Union; for though the governor and a majority of the legislature declared for secession, yet the state convention voted for the Union by a large majority.  It is true that a sham convention passed a sham ordinance, but this had no weight with any except those who were already Secessionists.

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Abraham Lincoln, Volume I from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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