Making Sense of the Civil War was made possible from a grant from the American Library Association.
We covered the last section of Ayers’ anthology and appropriately ended with Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address. The Second Inaugural has made people ask whether Lincoln was spiritual, religious, or believed in God. Lincoln was first a politician. After reading Team of Rivals, Lincoln’s selection of cabinet men from among the other candidates he had faced in the 1860 election demonstrates his craft.
Reading the Second Inaugural, it is not a stretch to ask, was there divine intervention going on? Let’s face it – it took years of Jim Crow laws, Reconstruction, Truman integrating the Armed Forces, Johnson and the Civil Rights Act, well over a hundred years to get to where we are today. We hold these truths
to be self-evident that all men are created equal. It was not accepted by the founding fathers, Lincoln, northerners and southerners alike. Lincoln at one point wrote about the colonizing of Liberia believing white and black races could not live side by side. In the Lincoln Douglas debates, Lincoln argued about prohibiting the spread of slavery to new territories and states, not abolishing slavery. It was several years into the Civil War that the Emancipation Proclamation was written and freeing slaves became what the north was fighting for. Most northerners were not abolitionists. Without the Union victory at
Antietam, Britain and France may have recognized the Confederate states according to author
James McPherson. United States history could have been very different. Studying Lincoln made me appreciate the change and transformation he had to go through to lead the country through its most conflicted time.
The Civil War did take place in New Mexico. Civil War in Texas and New Mexico Territory by Steve Cottell and Colton’s Civil War in the Western Territories among other stories tell about what happened to Kit Carson, Indian fighter, trapper, explorer, and soldier in the Civil War. Brigadier General Henry Hopkins Sibley’s lost letter book is documented in The Civil War in West Texas and New Mexico. Col. Chivington’s maneuvers with the Colorado regiment are explored in The Battle of Glorietta Pass: The Colorado Volunteers in the Civil War by William C Whitford. Until reading of troops in El Paso, Socorro, and skirmishes near Tucson, I was not aware of the Confederacy’s attempts to control the West.