THE military conflict which ended at Appomattox was but one phase of the American Civil War. Underlying the more dramatic events on the battlefield were a hast of problems which could not be resolved by the simple defeat of the Confederate armies. In the background, behind the contending armies, raged a desperate and prolonged conflict between a factory world and a plantation paradise--a struggle for dominance between two opposing economic systems. In 1860, a minority of Southern leaders, foreseeing in the election of Lincoln the passing of their last hope of control, decided to risk their economic order in a desperate effort to separate their section from the North. When their designs for a separate national existence met with catastrophe, many classes in the North planned to secure the fruits of victory. Politicians of the Republican school sought to secure control of the Southern votes, and industrial magnates laid dark plots to preserve the war-created tariff. Eventually, the marriage of the protective tariff and the bloody shirt enabled the industrial areas to dominate and control. Essentially, the outcome of the Civil War was to be a victory of the Captains of Industry over the Lords of the Manor.
Just how this victory was to be secured involved a number of theories. Unfortunately, in the North no very clear-cut understanding of the issues existed, and consequently no definite program for the reconstruction of the South obtained. Old abolitionists, Radical politicians, merchants, bondholders, debtors, and ardent protectionists, each had interests in the question, and each had a solution for the problem. In the realm of constitutional theory, some held the Southern States had committed legal suicide, and their escheated estate should be administered by the nation. Others regarded the South as conquered territory, concerning which Congress might legislate without constitutional scruples. Still others, consistently adhering to the war-time dogma that the States could not secede, contended that since the South had not been out of the Union, it could not be made the victim of discriminatory legislation.
To President Lincoln, the theoretical considerations involved in the