Sunday, September 5, 2010


By Harold Holzer

I found this book at the Public Library. I am not going to recommend reading except for those who can absorb great detail. It is nearly 500 pages covering almost daily events between the times Lincoln was elected until his swearing in ceremony, November 6, 1860 to March 4, 1861. Much of it has to do with the endless petitioning for patronage jobs. The author introduces thousands of names I found difficult to keep track of.
Nearly four full months elapsed before he could take control. Had the process been shortened as it is today, perhaps the secession of the Southern States might have been avoided. The current President James Buchanan could not or would not take decisive action. One by one the States declared their independence from the Union. Before he was sworn in Jefferson Davis had already been elected as the President of the Confederacy.
Lincoln worked tirelessly perfecting his inaugural address hoping he could persuade the South to re-enter the Union, to no avail. In it he agreed to uphold their right to slavery and also pledged to enforce the return slave policy which had been enacted by the current Congress. The only point he would not accept was allowing slavery in States yet to be admitted into the Union. By this time the Congress had also outlawed bringing more slaves to America. Lincoln’s theory was that if contained in the original States that over time it would end of its own accord.
I can only ponder what might have happened had they accepted his terms; might slavery still be in effect today?

Jack B. Walters
September 5, 2010

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