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264civil war history phrased his questions in such a manner that he frequently put words into the mouths of those he interviewed. For his own perverse reasons Herndon never gave up putting Mrs. Lincoln down and the damage he did is only now being fully evaluated by such studies as Mrs. Ross' biography and the recent big volume of letters by Justin G. Turner and Linda Levitt Turner. There are some slips, such as Edward Dicey's comment about Lincoln 's "large rugged hands' had grasped his like a vine" for "vise" and an undue reliance on Herndon, but Ishbel Ross has still managed to write an engaging and readable biography of a First Lady who has been greatly misunderstood. It is encouraging to see such fresh appraisals making their appearance. With some luck the nation may yet see Mary Todd Lincoln take her rightful place as a woman of competence who loved her husband and was loved in return. Arnold Gates Garden City, N.Y. Democratic Opposition to the Lincoln Administration in Indiana. By G. R. Tredway. (Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Bureau, 1973. Pp. xv, 433.) In this well-written and thought provoking work, Volume XLVIII of the "Indiana Historical Collections," G. R. Tredway disagrees with the traditional interpretation of Wood Gray, George F. Milton, et al. that most "Copperheads" during the American Civil War were Southern sympathizers, and argues instead that many of them were loyalists who feared the development of a "military despotism" led by President Abraham Lincoln (p. 75). Focusing on Indiana because of its strong opposition to administration policies, he shows that residents of the state distinguished between support for the Lincoln government, and support for a war to restore the Union. Lincoln, the author declares, had a "distinct streak of ruthlessness' which most Civil War historians either fail to recognize or refuse to admit (p. 275). His government threatened interference with elections in Indiana; it suspended the right of habeas corpus; it resorted to arbitrary arrests; it confiscated money and property; it engaged in "systematic reprisal executions" (p. 275). Indiana Democrats, Tredway asserts, were apprehensive that the Lincoln administration would institute a new Union encouraging interference with slavery, and having little respect for states' rights and agrarianism. For protection against the federal government, they organized secret societies and joined the "Northwest Conspiracy." The purpose of the war, as they saw it, was to maintain both the Constitution and the Union against policies of Lincoln and the Republican party which ultimately would have led to the "logical conclusion": "the forcible suspension of the free democratic process in order to keep itself in power" (p. 281). BOOK REVIEWS265 Even though the author's research is extensive, he has not given adequate attention to the administration side of the issue. Tredway has relied heavily on state newspapers, private papers, and government records—county, state, and federal. Yet because he has examined the controversial issue of wartime dissent primarily from the perspective of Indiana Democrats, it sometimes appears that there were no bad Democrats, and that there were no good Republicans. The Lincoln administration, right or wrong, believed it could not countenance opposition from a section of the country so open in Southern sympathies. In addition, if the President was as repressive as Tredway believes, it seems illogical that his alleged draconian policies could have disappeared so easily into his projected liberal reconstruction program. The dilemma is that Tredway is dealing with the problem of motive . One may assume, as he does, that lack of support for Lincoln among Indiana Democrats derived from sincere dissatisfaction with his policies, and that this attitude for the most part was separate from pro-Southern tendencies. Yet one cannot discount the fact that many of their criticisms were similar to those posed by the South on the eve of secession. More than a few Indiana opponents of the administration , as Tredway recognizes, had either direct or indirect connections with the South before the Civil War. A number of them had migrated from the South, and as several studies of the antebellum Middle West have shown, many were deeply concerned about the national government 's policy toward blacks. It therefore seems possible that a...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 264-265
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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