ALL QUIET ON THE POTOMAC
IN the South the battle of Bull Run had effects both good and bad. The troops were naturally exultant, and gained a feeling of confidence in their leaders and in themselves which was of immense value throughout the war. At the same time, however, it led the politicians to false hopes that Europe would recognize the Confederacy and help them to resist the blockade.
At the outset Lincoln had refused to admit a state of war; he argued that as it takes two people to make a quarrel, so it takes two nations to make a war; the Americans formed one nation under one Government, and, therefore, the action of the Southern States was merely an insurrection, admittedly on a large scale and requiring something more than a police force to subdue it; still it was a domestic affair.
There were certain advantages in taking this line. The President cannot make war without a declaration by Congress, but he can take strong action to suppress a revolt. He had no wish to have the matter thrashed out in full debate: there were political opponents who would make the most of such a chance. The Democrats who had been disunited might rally to oppose him; the Abolitionists might demand a declaration about emancipation; the big issue of the Union might be smothered in minor questions; in any case a debate would accentuate and expose the differences among the Unionists. This he was determined to avoid.
Secondly, he did not want foreign nations officially to
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Publication information: Book title: The Military Genius of Abraham Lincoln:An Essay. Contributors: Colin R. Ballard - Author. Publisher: World Publishing. Place of publication: Cleveland, OH. Publication year: 1952. Page number: 62.
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