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Collaborators for Emancipation

Abraham Lincoln and Owen Lovejoy

William F Moore

Publication Year: 2014

Few expected politician Abraham Lincoln and Congregational minister Owen Lovejoy to be friends when they met in 1854. One was a cautious lawyer who deplored abolitionists' flouting of the law, the other an outspoken antislavery activist who captained a stop on the Underground Railroad. Yet the two built a relationship that, in Lincoln's words, "was one of increasing respect and esteem."In Collaborators for Emancipation: Abraham Lincoln and Owen Lovejoy, the authors examine the thorny issue of the pragmatism typically ascribed to Lincoln versus the radicalism of Lovejoy, and the role each played in ending slavery. Exploring the men's politics, personal traits, and religious convictions, the book traces their separate paths in life as well as their frequent interactions. Collaborators for Emancipation shows how Lincoln and Lovejoy influenced one another and analyzes the strategies and systems of belief each brought to the epic controversies of slavery versus abolition and union versus disunion.Moore and Moore, editors of a previous volume of Lovejoy's writings, use their deep knowledge of his words and life to move beyond mere politics to a nuanced perspective on the fabric of religion and personal background that underlay the minister's worldview. Their multifaceted work of history and biography reveals how Lincoln embraced the radical idea of emancipation, and how Lovejoy shaped his own radicalism to wield the pragmatic political tools needed to reach that ultimate goal.

Published by: University of Illinois Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. vii-xii

We gratefully knowledge those who prepared the ground, planted the seeds, watered the crop, and cultivated the field now ready to harvest. We begin with those professors who in the 1950s grounded our religious and philosophical thinking: Joseph D’Alfonso of Bates College; Dean Walter Muelder, Paul Johnson...

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pp. 1-8

In human history, it is the relation that matters. Owen Lovejoy and Abraham Lincoln were remarkable men with a remarkable relationship. Lincoln confirmed that “every step in it has been one of increasing respect and esteem.” Their mutual trust grew as they saw things as they were while holding a radical vision of what...

Part 1. Attaining Political Power, 1854–1860

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1. Hating the Zeal to Spread Slavery, 1854

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pp. 11-18

Springfield lawyer Abraham Lincoln and Princeton pastor Owen Lovejoy met for the first time on a muddy afternoon at the Springfield State Fair on October 4, 1854.1 The speeches of the day were moved inside to the stately Hall of Representatives in the newly constructed State Capitol. At that time, both Lincoln and...

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2. Traversing Uneven Political Ground, 1855

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pp. 19-37

In the winter of 1855, the Democrats, though the largest minority party, were unable to negotiate a deal to maintain control of the Illinois General Assembly, leaving a power vacuum. The work of Ichabod Codding, Zebina Eastman, and Owen Lovejoy in creating a fusion of the factions opposed to the Kansas-Nebraska...

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3. Standing Together Nobly, 1856

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pp. 38-50

The Republican Steering Committee, meeting in the office of the Chicago Tribune, decided that the fall of 1855 was not the appropriate time to call an anti- Nebraska convention to organize the various factions opposed to the Kansas- Nebraska Act. Neither Abraham Lincoln nor Lyman Trumbull was ready to...

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4. Disputing the Supreme Court Decision, 1857

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pp. 51-63

Both Abraham Lincoln and Owen Lovejoy disparaged the Supreme Court’s political abuse of judicial power displayed in the Dred Scott decision written by Chief Justice Roger Taney. They abhorred the Court’s interpretation that the Constitution provided federal authority to reduce human beings to property without rights...

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5. Trusting Those Who Care for the Results, 1858

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pp. 64-77

Abraham Lincoln ended a politically sensitive March 8, 1958, letter to Owen Lovejoy, “Let this be strictly confidential. . . . I have some valued friends who would not like me any the better for writing it.”1 This cautionary tone demonstrates that Lincoln trusted Lovejoy enough to risk giving him candid information...

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6. Remaining Steadfast to the Right, 1859

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pp. 78-89

With Owen Lovejoy winning by a wider margin in 1858 and Abraham Lincoln winning the support of legislators representing the majority of voters though losing in the state legislature, both men were positioned to enhance the opportunities for a Republican victory in Illinois in 1860. They were recognized leaders..

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7. Disenchanting the Nation of Slavery, 1860

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pp. 90-104

In his politically diverse Illinois, Abraham Lincoln had learned to harness various political forces and pull them together. Could he transfer this knowledge to a wider political arena? His verbal slings during his debates with the popular Stephen A. Douglas fit a good David and Goliath story line. His friends had...

Part 2. Maintaining Political Power, 1861

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8. Holding Firmly to Their Promise, 1861

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pp. 107-122

Shortly after midnight on November 7, 1860, amid boisterous cheers and clanging church bells, an exuberant Abraham Lincoln hurried to his Springfield home, where he announced to his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, “We are elected.”1 The next day, he wrote down the names of eight of his most helpful advisers...

Part 3. Applying Political Power, 1862–1864

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9. Restoring the Founding Purposes, 1962

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pp. 125-142

Despite the military, political, social, and economic crises that beset the United States in 1862, national elected officials confronted an array of new opportunities. With the representatives of the slaveholding states having withdrawn from Congress, Republicans had clear majorities in both the House and the...

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10. Assuring That the Nation Would Long Endure, 1863

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pp. 143-153

On New Year’s Eve, across the nation, diverse constituencies were gearing up to express their responses to the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Some shared the anxiety held by Senator Orville Browning, who predicted that white officers would resign and white soldiers would not reenlist if black recruits joined...

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11. Binding Up the Nation's Wounds, 1864

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pp. 154-158

Owen Lovejoy’s opportunity to assist in shaping Abraham Lincoln’s legacy came unexpectedly in December 1863, when well-known painter Francis Carpenter invited Lovejoy to visit his studio in New York City. Carpenter asked for Lovejoy’s assistance in encouraging Lincoln to sit for a composite portrait depicting...


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pp. 159-162


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pp. 163-188


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pp. 189-196

About the Author, Publisher Notes

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E-ISBN-13: 9780252096341
E-ISBN-10: 0252096347
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252038464

Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2014