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US 42525.25.26 (2)
All rights reserved.
The Riverside Press, Cambridge, Mass., U. S. A.
EMANCIPATION AND POLITICS.
DURING the spring and summer of 1861 the people of the North presented the appearance of a great political unit. All alleged emphatically that the question was simply of the Union, and upon this issue no Northerner could safely differ from his neighbors. Only a few of the more crossgrained ones among the Abolitionists were contemptuously allowed to publish the selfishness of their morality, and to declare that they were content to see the establishment of a great slave empire, provided they themselves were free from the taint of connection with it. If any others let Southern proclivities lurk in the obscure recesses of their hearts they were too prudent to permit these perilous sentiments to appear except in the masquerade of dismal presagings. So in appearance the Northern men were united, and in fact were very nearly so -- for a short time.
This was a fortunate condition, which the President and all shrewd patriots took great pains to maintain. It filled the armies and the Treasury, and postponed many jeopardies. But too close to the surface to be long suppressed lay the demand that those who declared the Union to be the sole issue should explain how it came about that the Union was put in issue at all, why there was any dissatisfaction with it, and why any desire anywhere to be rid of it. All knew the answer to that
question; all knew that if the war was due to disunion, disunion in turn was due to slavery. Unless some makeshift peace should be quickly patched up, this basic cause was absolutely sure to force recognition for itself; a long and stern contest must inevitably wear its way down to the bottom question. It was practical wisdom for Mr. Lincoln in his inaugural not to probe deeper than secession; and it was well for multitudes to take arms and contribute money with the earnest asseveration that they were fighting and paying only for the integrity of the country. It was the truth, or rather it was a truth; but there was also another and a deeper truth: that he who fought for the integrity of the country, also, by a necessity inherent in the case and far beyond the influence of his volition, fought for the destruction of slavery. Just as soon as this second truth came up and took distinct shape beside the other, angry political divisions sundered the Unionists. Abolition of slavery never displaced Union as a purpose of the war; but the two became mingled, in a duality which could not afterward be resolved into its