Lincoln and the Bluegrass: Slavery and Civil War in Kentucky

By William H. Townsend | Go to book overview

ELEVEN
A House Divided

THE GIANT whistle on Bruen's Foundry at Lexington ushered in with hoarse blasts the first day of January, 1849, and gay, midnight watch parties at the Phoenix Hotel and in private homes greeted the New Year with popping corks, sparkling tumblers, songs, and merry jest.

Scarcely, however, had the shouts of welcome died away when the "smouldering volcano" of slavery belched again into flames which raged fiercely through spring and summer into late autumn, unchecked by pestilence and bloodshed, giving to Abraham Lincoln "his first real specific alarm about the institution of slavery."1

After several weeks of sharp skirmishing the antislavery forces achieved what seemed to be a signal victory for the cause of emancipation. Early in February a reluctant legislature issued the call for a convention to assemble on October 1, 1849, to draft a new state constitution, for which delegates were to be chosen at the August election. For more than a decade the enemies of freedom had forestalled every effort to revise the organic law because they feared the adoption of provisions

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Lincoln and the Bluegrass: Slavery and Civil War in Kentucky
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • Illustrations xiii
  • One - Athens of the West 1
  • Two - The Lincolns of Fayette 16
  • Three - The Early Todds 25
  • Four - The Little Trader from Hickman Creek 30
  • Five - Mary Ann Todd 46
  • Six - Slavery in the Bluegrass 70
  • Seven - Grist to the Mill 81
  • Eight - The True American 99
  • Nine - The Lincolns Visit Lexington 120
  • Ten - Widow Sprigg and Buena Vista 141
  • Eleven - A House Divided 157
  • Twelve - Milly and Alfred 176
  • Thirteen - The Buried Years 192
  • Fourteen - Storm Clouds 209
  • Fifteen - Rebellion 239
  • Sixteen - Stirring Days in Kentucky 269
  • Seventeen Problems of State and In-Law Trouble 299
  • Eighteen - With Malice Toward None 320
  • Nineteen - Lilac Time 352
  • Bibliographical Notes 359
  • Index 387
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