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1865

America Makes War and Peace in Lincoln’s Final Year

Edited by Harold Holzer and Sara Vaughn Gabbard

Publication Year: 2015

In 1865 Americans faced some of the most important issues in the nation’s history: the final battles of the Civil War, the struggle to pass the Thirteenth Amendment, the peace process, reconstruction, the role of freed slaves, the tragedy of Abraham Lincoln's assassination, and the trials of the conspirators. In this illuminating collection, prominent historians of nineteenth-century America offer insightful overviews of the individuals, events, and issues that shaped the future of the United States in 1865.

Following an introduction by renowned Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer, nine new essays explore the end of the Civil War, Lincoln’s death, and the start of the tentative peace in 1865. Michael Vorenberg discusses how Lincoln shepherded through the House of Representatives the resolution sending the Thirteenth Amendment to the states for ratification, John F. Marszalek and Michael B. Ballard examine the partnership of Lincoln’s war management and General Ulysses S. Grant’s crucial last thrusts against Robert E. Lee, and Richard Striner recounts how Lincoln faced down Confederate emissaries who proposed immediate armistice if Lincoln were to reverse the Emancipation Proclamation. Ronald C. White Jr. offers a fresh look at Lincoln’s second inaugural address, and Richard Wightman Fox provides a vivid narrative of Lincoln’s dramatic walk through Richmond after the Confederates abandoned their capital.

Turning to Lincoln’s assassination, Edward Steers Jr. relates the story of Booth’s organizational efforts that resulted in the events of that fateful day, and Frank J. Williams explains the conspirators’ trial and whether they should have faced military or civilian tribunals. Addressing the issue of black suffrage, Edna Greene Medford focuses on the African American experience in the final year of the war. Finally, Holzer explains the use of visual arts to preserve the life and legacy of the martyred president.

Rounding out the volume are a chronology of national and international events during 1865, a close look at Lincoln’s activities and writings from January 1 through April 14, and other pertinent materials. This thoughtful collection provides an engaging evaluation of one of the most crucial years in America’s evolution.

Published by: Southern Illinois University Press

Cover

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Title page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-viii

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Introduction

Harold Holzer

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pp. 1-6

Toward the end of his tragically curtailed life, Abraham Lincoln belatedly acknowledged a handsome gift that had arrived six months earlier from William Lloyd Garrison, the outspoken abolitionist editor who for years had ardently, sometimes disobligingly, pushed the seemingly reluctant...

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1. The Thirteenth Amendment

Michael Vorenberg

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pp. 7-21

The year 1865 was defined by the constitutional abolition of slavery. It began and ended with the Thirteenth Amendment. When the second session of the Thirty-Eighth Congress reconvened a few days after New Year’s Day, the most pressing matter the lawmakers faced was adoption...

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2. Grant and Lincoln: Partnership for Victory

John F. Marszalek and Michael B. Ballard

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pp. 22-39

As the year 1865 opened, two men stood poised to seal victory in the Civil War for the Union. Their stories had many of the same roots, but their personalities and styles differed. The fate of war brought them together, and together they joined forces to bring the bloodiest contest ever fought on...

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3. Lincoln and the Hampton Roads Conference

Richard Striner

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pp. 40-51

A colorful episode—in some respects inconsequential but in other ways important and suggestive—took place in early 1865 when Abraham Lincoln met with a delegation of Confederate commissioners.¹
This had not been Lincoln’s idea. Early in December 1864, in the aftermath...

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4. Abraham Lincoln’s Sermon on the Mount: The Second Inaugural

Ronald C. White, Jr.

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pp. 52-65

The movie Lincoln brought Abraham Lincoln once again front and center to audiences—not simply in the United States but around the world. Some moviegoers quibbled about the ending, believing the film should have concluded when Lincoln left the White House for the last time to attend...

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5. Lincoln’s Greatest Escapade: Walking through Richmond on April 4, 1865

Richard Wightman Fox

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pp. 66-80

The remembering of Abraham Lincoln has its own history. As time passes, some features of his career gain greater traction in Americans’ minds, while others fade from memory. Nothing is fixed once and for all. Aspects of his character or career that grow dimmer for a stretch of decades may...

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6. Why Was Lincoln Murdered?

Edward Steers, Jr.

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pp. 81-100

“I suppose Lincoln is a man of courage . . . he would undoubtedly resist being captured and I could not stand the imputation to having consented to Mr. Lincoln being assassinated.”¹ These words were not what the young officer sitting across from his president wanted to hear. But Jefferson Davis...

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7. Military Justice, Right or Wrong: Judging the Lincoln Conspirators

Frank J. Williams

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pp. 101-112

The spring of 1865 marked a trying time in America’s history. The nation had just endured a brutal, punishing four-year war. Just as the tide had begun to turn, in the midst of widespread national rejoicing at the restoration of peace, President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination provided...

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8. Allies or Adversaries? Lincoln, Douglass, and Black Suffrage

Edna Greene Medford

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pp. 113-125

Frederick Douglass never let custom or tradition restrict his thinking or limit his actions. Hence, when Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated for the second time in March 1865, the former fugitive from slavery invited himself to the inaugural reception. As Douglass recalled years later, his...

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9. From Living Hero to Martyred Icon: The Evolution of the Lincoln Image in 1865

Harold Holzer

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pp. 126-152

On January 24, 1865, a calamitous fire broke out in the picture gallery of Washington’s Smithsonian Institution, a building Abraham Lincoln had visited a number of times during his presidency. The blaze proved impossible to extinguish and soon engulfed much of the famous red “castle”...

Appendix A: Lincoln’s Final Months (January 1–April 15, 1865)

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pp. 153-172

Appendix B: Chronology for 1865

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pp. 173-177

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Appendix C: Lecture at the Inauguration of the Douglass Institute, by Frederick Douglass

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pp. 178-185

I have, during my public career, had the honor to address many assemblies, both at home and abroad, and in furtherance of various objects; but I do not remember ever to have appeared anywhere under a deeper sense of the importance of the occasion than I feel tonight. I know it is common...

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Appendix D: Letter to Francis Bicknell Carpenter from Mary Todd Lincoln, November 15, 1865

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pp. 186-188

Your last letter, has been received—It would be utterly impossible for me, in my present nervous state, to sit for a photograph—although, I should like to oblige you, very much. There is an excellent painted likeness of me, at Brady’s in N.Y. taken in 1861—have you, ever seen...

Contributors

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pp. 189-190

Index

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pp. 191-199

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780809334025
E-ISBN-10: 080933402X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780809334018
Print-ISBN-10: 0809334011

Page Count: 224
Illustrations: 16
Publication Year: 2015

OCLC Number: 919183732
MUSE Marc Record: Download for 1865

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865 -- Influence.
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865.
  • United States -- Politics and government -- 1861-1865.
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