The Tragic Conflict: The Civil War and Reconstruction

By William B. Hesseltine | Go to book overview

32
Financial Resources of The North

The Knickerbocker Magazine

Nothing has so astonished Europe in modern times as the magnitude of the scale on which the American Republic carries on the war for the maintenance of its own integrity. For the enormous expenditure of men and money, and the vastness of the theatre on which the military operations are conducted, there is no parallel in the history of any European nation, not excepting even France, under the régime of the elder Napoleon. There is no civil war to be compared with it in extent, either in ancient or modern times. It is a war commensurate with the gigantic features of the country, its vast area, bounded by two oceans; its mighty rivers, watering valleys of wonderful fertility; and its inexhaustible agricultural, mineral, manufacturing, and commercial resources. The war is commensurate, too, with the tremendous issues involved in the result: the continued existence, or the dissolution of the great American Union; the preservation of law and order, or the prevalence of anarchy and political chaos; the solution of the problem of self-government by the final triumph of democratic institutions, or by the failure of that which the founders of the Government regarded and the destinies of millions of the living human race, and of millions still unborn in both worlds.

Already a million of volunteers have been called into the field, with three hundred thousand drafted men in reserve; and an immense naval force has been improvised to operate on the sea-coast and navigable rivers of the enemy. By land and water the conflict has been carried on for eighteen months, with the most lavish expenditure for arms, of the best construction known to modern art and science; for the most improved equipments, and for all the munitions and appliances of war, of the most costly description. It is hardly necessary to say that to maintain such an army and navy, and as "an experiment," a triumph or a failure affecting the interest, the liberties,

Financial Resources of the United States, The Knickerbocker Magazine ( New York, October, 1862), Vol. 61, pp. 354-359. After the Emancipation Proclamation and a change in editors, Knickerbocker became a stout critic of Lincoln and the administration. In the first months of the war, the widely read magazine gave cautious support to the Union cause.

-409-

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