Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President

By Allen C. Guelzo | Go to book overview

5 Moral Principle Is All That Unites Us

It is a good measure of just how "aroused" Lincoln was about the Kansas-Nebraska bill that through most of the fall of 1854, he did virtually no legal work and devoted himself almost entirely to campaigning for Richard Yates throughout the Seventh District and to his own race for the state legislature, where he could put his personal vote in against James Shields. But in the long series of campaign speeches he made for himself and for others that summer, it was clear that Shields was only a straw target for Lincoln. Much as Shields had given Lincoln political offense by supporting Kansas-Nebraska in Congress, the real political enemy for Lincoln was the man behind Shields, Stephen Douglas, and the great object in obstructing Shields's re-election was the damage it could do to Douglas's political standing.

Only four of Lincoln's speeches from the 1854 campaign come down to us in anything close to full form (and three of them survive only because shorthand reporters took them down for local newspapers), but the same basic outline shows up in nearly every account of Lincoln's campaign appearances that summer and fall. The Founders, he began, had always opposed slavery: they had banned its spread into the old Northwest Territory, and they looked forward to seeing the West become "the happy home of teeming millions of free, white,

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Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Abraham Lincoln - Redeemer President *
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction: the Strife of Ideas 3
  • 1: The American System 26
  • 2: The Costs of Union 64
  • 3: The Doctrine of Necessity 102
  • 4: The Fuel of Interest 143
  • 5: Moral Principle is All That Unites Us 185
  • 6: An Accidental President 228
  • 7: War in a Conciliatory Style 269
  • 8: Voice Out of the Whirlwind 311
  • 9: Whig Jupiter 352
  • 10: Malice Toward None 397
  • Epilogue: the Redeemer President 439
  • A Note on the Sources 465
  • Index 500
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