Abraham Lincoln, Volume II eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 309 pages of information about Abraham Lincoln, Volume II.
Virginia was admitted into statehood, the organization which had been previously established by the loyal citizens of the original State was maintained in the rest of the State, and Governor Pierpoint was recognized as the genuine governor of Virginia, although few Virginians acknowledged allegiance to him, and often there were not many square miles of the Old Dominion upon which the dispossessed ruler could safely set his foot.  For the present he certainly was no despot, but in the future he might have usefulness.  He preserved continuity; by virtue of him, so to speak, there still was a State of Virginia.

Somewhat early in the war large portions of Tennessee, Louisiana, and Arkansas were recovered and kept by Union forces, and beneath such protection a considerable Union sentiment found expression.  The President, loath to hold for a long time the rescued parts of these States under the sole domination of army officers, appointed “military governors."[55] The anomalous office found an obscure basis among those “war powers” which, as a legal resting-place, resembled a quicksand, and as a practical foundation were undeniably a rock; the functions and authority of the officials were as uncertain as anything, even in law, possibly could be.  Legal fiction never reached a droller point than when these military governorships were defended as being the fulfillment by the national government “of its high constitutional obligation to guarantee to every State in this Union a republican form of government!"[56] Yet the same distinguished gentleman, who dared gravely to announce this ingenious argument, drew a picture of facts which was in itself a full justification of almost any scheme of rehabilitation; he said:  “The state government has disappeared.  The Executive has abdicated; the Legislature has dissolved; the Judiciary is in abeyance.”  In this condition of chaos Mr. Lincoln was certainly bound to prevent anarchy, without regard to any comicalities which might creep into his technique.  So these hermaphrodite officials, with civil duties and military rank, were very sensibly and properly given a vague authority in the several States, as from time to time these were in part redeemed from rebellion by the Union armies.  So soon as possible they were bidden, in collaboration with the military commanders in their respective districts, to make an enrollment of loyal citizens, with a view to holding elections and organizing state governments in the customary form.  The President was earnest, not to say pertinacious, in urging forward these movements.  On September 11, 1863, immediately after the battle of Chattanooga, he wrote to Andrew Johnson that it was “the nick of time for reinaugurating a loyal state government” in Tennessee; and he suggested that, as touching this same question of “time when,” it was worth while to “remember that it cannot be known who is next to occupy the position I now hold, nor what he will do.”  He warned the governor that

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