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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
March 2017
Print publication year:
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Book description

Lincoln and the Democrats describes the vexatious behavior of a two-party system in war and points to the sound parts of the American system which proved to be the country's salvation: local civic pride, and quiet nonpartisanship in mobilization and funding for the war, for example. While revealing that the role of a noxious 'white supremacy' in American politics of the period has been exaggerated - as has the power of the Copperheads - Neely revives the claim that the Civil War put the country on the road to 'human rights', and also uncovers a previously unnoticed tendency toward deceptive and impractical grandstanding on the Constitution during war in the United States.


'In this book, Mark Neely, Jr outlines what he considers to be the five big questions of the Civil War. And he gets them spot-on. We can pursue many other aspects and interests of the Civil War era, but these are the nuclear-core questions. And not only does he pose the right questions, he goes one better. He gives the right answers. This is the Civil War book we have been waiting for, and for a long time.'

Allen C. Guelzo - Gettysburg College, Pennsylvania

'Neely offers a presentation of Lincoln that is clear, coherent, and concise. He is authoritative and convincing, yet also refreshingly new.'

Daniel Walker Howe - University of California, Los Angeles

'… a probing and often revelatory look at the loyal opposition during the Civil War. … Anyone curious about the Democratic Party’s conflicted past - as well as Lincoln’s growth as a constitutional thinker - will find this book well worth reading.'

Barry Alfonso Source: Civil War Book Review

'Written in a thoughtful and convincing style, this book sets a new standard for political histories of the Civil War. Highly recommended.'

S. J. Ramold Source: Choice

'Tantalizingly poses new questions, presents an array of fresh research, and feistily questions assumed facts and fellow historians. Probing, daring, and ever-crusty, he has confirmed his reputation as a Lincoln luminary by producing another book that, for all its brevity and quirkiness, cannot be ignored.'

Harold Holzer Source: The Wall Street Journal

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  • Chapter 1 - Beyond Politics: How the North Won the Civil War
    pp 10-44


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