The Presidents' War: Six American Presidents and the Civil War That Divided Them
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* John Tyler engaged in shuttle diplomacy between President Buchanan and the new Confederate Government. He chaired the Peace Convention of 1861, the last great hope for a political resolution to the crisis. When it failed, Tyler joined the Virginia Secession Convention, voted to leave the Union, and won election to the Confederate Congress.
* Van Buren, who had schemed to deny Lincoln the presidency, supported him in his efforts after Fort Sumter, and thwarted Franklin Pierce's attempt at a meeting of the ex-Presidents to undermine Lincoln.
* Millard Fillmore hosted Lincoln and Mary Todd on their way to Washington, initially supported the war effort, offered critical advice to keep Britain at bay, but turned on Lincoln over emancipation.
* Franklin Pierce, talked about as a Democratic candidate in 1860 and ’64, was openly hostile to Lincoln and supportive of the South, an outspoken critic of Lincoln especially on civil liberties. After Vicksburg, when Jefferson Davis’s home was raided, a secret correspondence between Pierce and the Confederate President was revealed.
* James Buchanan, who had left office as seven states had broken away from the Union, engaged in a frantic attempt to vindicate his administration, in part by tying himself to Lincoln and supporting the war, arguing that his successor had simply followed his policies.
How Abraham Lincoln battled against his predecessors to preserve the Union and later to put an end to slavery is a thrilling tale of war waged at the top level of power.
151–52, 155–66, 181–82, 191–94, 197–201, 205–7, 209–20, 227, 228–38, 241–43, 256–57, 259, 261–62, 273–74, 275–81, 283–84, 293, 295–96, 299, 302, 305–11 Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction, 283–84 on raising a black regiment, 258 re-nominated and wins second term as president, 295–96, 299, 302, 307 Second Confiscation Act of 1862, 276 second inaugural address, 307 on slavery, 48, 49, 67, 90–91, 93–94, 99–100, 129 speech at Gettysburg, 280–81 on Stephen Douglas, 91, 92 supports
any concession or compromise that shall yield one iota of the position occupied by the Republican Party on the question of slavery in the territories,” adding for emphasis the “Federal Union must be preserved.” Lincoln had read the Crittenden Compromise several times. He believed it would temporarily adjust the country’s problems, but that as it always had, the South would be back for more. After all, it was four years after the Compromise of 1850 that the South successfully repealed the Missouri
Confederacy] . . . which before was but a political assertion.” The three-month Union enlistees went home, their time having expired. The Civil War would not be the short, decisive conflict that both sides anticipated. Virginia’s interior would not be invaded for eight more months. After the battle, one resident remembered, “Washington seemed to me to be utterly demoralized. I did not see one really cheerful face, nor did I hear one encouraging word. The President was criticized; the manner in
anti-democratic concentration of power and a corrupting influence on politicians. First Jackson had vetoed the reauthorization of the bank, which gave it an expiration date but one that was too distant for his liking. He then turned to depleting its funds; federal expenditures were made with the bank’s deposits, while new revenues were placed in various state banks. Fillmore remembered, “the chief topic was the removal of deposits from the Bank.” Pierce wrote, “the debate upon the deposit
drink hot blood” before laying eyes on Richmond. As McClellan’s army sat before Yorktown, Union forces in the west believed they were on an offensive mission. They were collected at several points along the Tennessee River, including Pittsburg Landing, on their way to the critical railroad junction at Corinth, Mississippi. On April 6, General William Tecumseh Sherman wrote Ulysses Grant, “I have no doubt that nothing will occur today more than some picket firing.” There had been skirmishes in