James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
against nine, and of the nine, three and one-half million were slaves. Each side had peculiar advantages.1 But neither section understood the other. If the South had known that secession must result in war and that the foe would be a united North, it is doubtful if she would have proceeded to the last extremity. It is still more doubtful if the North would have fought, had she known that she must contend against a united Southern people. The remark of Chatham, Conquer a free population of three million souls? the thing is impossible, had become an axiom of the English race. But now the North confronted five and a half million earnest and brave people, supported by three and a half million servants, who grew the food and took care of the women and children at home while the men fought in the field. The North was contending for the Union on the theory that a strong and unscrupulous minority had overridden the majority of Southerners who had no desire for secession, loathed the idea of civil war and, if protected and encouraged, would make themselves felt in a movement looking towards allegiance to the national government. Lincoln comprehended the sentiment of the North and he never gave public expression to any opinion that he did not sincerely hold. In his fourth of July message to the special session of Congress he said: It may well be questioned whether there is to-day a majority of the legally qualified voters of any State, except perhaps South Carolina, in favor of disunion. There is much reason to believe that the Union men are the majority in many, if not in every other one, of the so-called seceded States.