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15 - “So Long As a Spark of Vitality Remains in the Institution of Slavery”

from Part III - Abolition: State and Federal, 1864

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 January 2023

John C. Rodrigue
Affiliation:
Stonehill College, Massachusetts
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Summary

Focusing much attention on Unionist governments in Arkansas and Louisiana, congressional Republicans emphasize – in debating the Wade–Davis bill during spring 1864 – that Lincoln’s Reconstruction policy might allow the rebellious states to return to the Union without abolishing slavery. The US Senate also refuses to seat claimants from Arkansas’s Unionist government. The Republican national convention nominates Lincoln for reelection and endorses the Thirteenth Amendment, but the amendment fails to secure approval in the House of Representatives. Lincoln pocket vetoes the Wade–Davis bill, fearing it will invalidate Louisiana and Arkansas governments. The vitriolic language of the Wade–Davis manifesto disguises the substantive point – which historians almost always overlook – that the ten-percent plan might allow for the preservation of slavery. With the war stalled, it appears by August 1864 that Lincoln will lose the presidential election.

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Chapter
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Freedom's Crescent
The Civil War and the Destruction of Slavery in the Lower Mississippi Valley
, pp. 297 - 317
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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