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The Gettysburg Lectures$
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Gabor S. Boritt

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780195089110

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195089110.001.0001

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The Shadow of a Coming War

The Shadow of a Coming War

(p.1) 1 The Shadow of a Coming War (p.2)
The Gettysburg Lectures

Robert V. Bruce

Oxford University Press

This chapter gives a stalking revelation of the fear that gripped America during its antebellum years of the Civil War. Following 1812 and until the Civil War, balancing the free and slave states was considered a primary goal towards the aim to “preserve the Union”. Many took it for granted that disunion meant war. Spontaneous uprisings against federal authority and state nullification of federal law were clear indicators of a forthcoming war in America. Words such as “disunion” and “civil war” haunted the psyche of Americans. Lincoln willed himself to believe that the unthinkable choice would not have to be made. However, “reconciliation” lay only in war. He rejected the expansion of slavery and its sustenance. “The tug has to come,” he said, “and better now than later”.

Keywords:   disunion, slavery, federal coercion, Missouri compromise, prewar fears, Civil War, Abraham Lincoln

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