Union and Confidence: The 1860s

Union and Confidence: The 1860s

Union and Confidence: The 1860s

Union and Confidence: The 1860s

Excerpt

In the preceding volume in this series, Professor Robert Sobel aptly titled his first chapter, dealing with the year 1850, "Confident America." He noted in his concluding pages that by 1860 the dominant mood nationwide had become deeply pessimistic. A very great number of Americans were reduced to despair about the prospects of their nation's survival and about their own individual futures.

As an example, in June 1860, Edwin M. Stanton (the successful patent and commercial lawyer, who was to serve in the cabinets of Presidents Buchanan, Lincoln, and Johnson) wrote to his wife from Washington: "Disaster and overthrow impend ...and no power seems able to avert a danger that can be overcome only by union and confidence."

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