Emergence of Lincoln, Vol. 2: Prologue to Civil War, 1859-1861, The

Allan Nevins
"Violence was an American tradition," Allan Nevins reminds us at the beginning of this chronicle of the eve of the Civil War. On October 16, 1859 John Brown and seventeen of his followers seized the armory and arsenal at Harper's Ferry. They had counted on an uprising of the slaves. There was no uprising. On December 2, Brown was hanged after a fair trail. To certain Northern zealots he was a martyr; to Allan Nevins he was a victim of his own reasoning insanity. The Union had not long to live. In the following summer Southern hotheads bolted the Democratic convention at Charleston that nominated Stephen A. Douglas for President. When America went to the polls, Douglas faced not only Abraham Lincoln, but also the hotheads' favorite John H. Breckenridge, and John Bell, the candidate of the Constitutional Unionists. South Carolina's response to Lincoln's election was immediate. On December 20, 1860 the Palmetto state was the first to secede from the Union. 524 pages with illustrations.

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