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UNION AT ALL COSTS: From Confederation to Consolidation by John M. Taylor

UNION AT ALL COSTS: From Confederation to Consolidation

by John M. Taylor

426 pages
Lincoln, the Radicals, and the seeds of the modern leviathan.

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About the Book
Union At All Costs: from Confederation to Consolidation, by John M. Taylor, traces the regional differences present from the beginning of the American experiment. This includes the social and economic structure of a predominantly agrarian society versus a society becoming increasingly industrialized. Areas of contention analyzed, include tariffs, banking, and slavery. A basic philosophical difference—the largely Hamiltonian North versus the predominantly Jeffersonian South—involved the relationship between the States and the federal government and the degree of power granted to the latter. All of these issues serve as a backdrop for the schism between North and South.

When the Southern States seceded from what they contended was a voluntary government, there was much resistance in the North, especially from Lincoln and the Radical Republicans. They saw the departure of the Southern States as an economic disaster for the North. Though the South tried repeatedly to negotiate a peaceful settlement with the Lincoln Administration, all of their efforts were thwarted.

As events came to a head and actual war broke out, the Lincoln Administration often went to extreme lengths, with Lincoln's steady theme that the States never actually left the Union. This led to many draconian measures, such as suspension of habeas corpus rights, violations of free speech and free press, violation of international law, etc. Union At All Costs covers the major abuses of the constitution, including violations of the rights of many Northerners.

The text includes multiple examples of Lincoln's political cunning—from the time he was elected in 1860 through his 1864 re-election and the end of the war. Lincoln's 1864 re-election assured the war would continue, as he had no desire for peace, only complete capitulation of the South.

When overwhelming odds and attrition finally ended the war, the South was ripe for occupation, a program that was intensified after Lincoln's untimely death. Many of the tactics used during the war continued into the post-war era. Taylor questions whether the measures implemented were intended to save the Union or create a different Union as well as questioning exactly how the events had any positive impact on the South, e.g., was it a Just War, who benefited from the conflict, etc.?

Post-war, as Jefferson Davis insisted the South had a legal and moral right to govern itself, there was a concerted effort in the North to sanitize and deify Lincoln, the point man for the corporate and banking interests in the North.

Union At All Costs examines multiple sources of resistance to Lincoln in the North as well as his views of democracy and voluntary government. Also, Lincoln's alleged religion is examined.

The book begins to wind down by acknowledging the agenda in the North for Lincoln's apotheosis, an effort led by many who despised him when he lived. As the book concludes, the link between Lincoln and the centralization of power is examined along with the results of the conflict that helped create the highly centralized government we witness today.

 

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About the Author
John M. Taylor, Assistant Director at Adelia M. Russell Library in Alexander City, Alabama, possesses over thirty years of experience in logistics. Combined with almost twenty years of experience as an editor and an intense interest in history, Taylor has written extensively on the South's past.

 

 

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