Nonfiction > James Ford Rhodes > History of the Civil War, 1861–1865 > Page 197
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James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927).  History of the Civil War, 1861–1865  1917.
 
Page 197
 
 
the Confederates or all might lay down their arms to avoid the loss of their slaves, no such outcome was seriously regarded as possible. Doubt no longer existed that a united people in the South were earnest in their desire to secure their independence and that, if the Proclamation had affected them at all, it had only stiffened them in their resistance by adding force to the argument that the war of the North was a crusade against their social institutions. Regarding the Proclamation “as a fit and necessary war measure,” the President wrote on January 1, 1863, “I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves” in the States or parts of States resisting the United States Government “are, and henceforward shall be, free.… Upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind and the gracious favor of Almighty God.”  32
  Lincoln had the American reverence for the Constitution and the laws and he could find no authority for the Proclamation in the letter of the Constitution or in any statute; but he thought out what were satisfying reasons to his own mind. “My oath to preserve the Constitution to the best of my ability,” he wrote afterwards, “imposed upon me the duty of preserving, by every indispensable means, that government—that nation, of which that Constitution was the organic law.… I felt that measures otherwise unconstitutional might become lawful by becoming indispensable to the preservation of the Constitution through the preservation of the nation.… I could not feel that to the best of my ability, I had even tried to preserve the Constitution, if, to save slavery or any minor matter, I should permit the wreck of government, country and Constitution all together.… I think the Constitution invests its Commander-in-Chief with the law of war in time of war. The
 

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