The Cult Of Robert E. Lee

These days of re-thinking the Civil War there is one that seems to have this whole cult around him….that is Gen. Robert E. Lee, commanding general of the Confederate Forces.

It is fascinating, at least to me, that a traitor like Benedict Arnold is hated and a traitor like Lee is deified…..and believe me….in the South Lee is deified.

How did this whole cult spring up around Lee?

The reason the South fought the American Civil War has been contested ever since the Confederacy surrendered in 1865. An odd turn of events, considering that when 11 Southern states seceded from the Union at the war’s outset, they were very clear about why they were doing it.

In declaration after declaration, Confederate states explicitly said that they had seceded in order to preserve slavery.

South Carolina, the first to secede, cited “an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery” in its declaration of secession. Mississippi’s declaration argued “There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union.” 

It was only after the war that many former Confederates changed course, creating an alternative narrative that historians refer to as the “Lost Cause.”

https://www.history.com/news/how-the-cult-of-robert-e-lee-was-born

Lost Cause….something I have also written about…..read it for yourself…….

Did Lee commit treason?

Led an armed rebellion against the government and person of the United States of America……then YES HE WAS!

In case you are interested…..https://athenaeumreview.org/essay/did-robert-e-lee-commit-treason/

More on the actions of Lee……

Robert E. Lee was a great “American” general, who attended West Point, led American soldiers to victory as a commander in the Mexican War and was beloved by his men

Until 1862, that is, when he turned traitor and gave up his commission in the US Army for a stint as commanding general of the “Confederate States of America” after South Carolina fired on Fort Sumter, South Carolina in April 1861, as an act of war. A devoted son of Virginia, Lee returned home and took up arms against the United States of America whose Constitution he had sworn to protect and defend.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/trumps-great-general-robert-e-lee-was-a-traitor-and-a-bad-person

To be fair I offer this short video that tries to refute the idea…..

Lee IMO was a bigger traitor than Arnold…..but that is the post for a rainy day.

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A Necessary Evil?

I have often heard the statement that something is a necessary evil…..I may sure that you have as well…..but what does the statement actually mean?

A Necessary Evil…….something bad or unpleasant that you have to accept in order to achieve what you want…..

There are few things that I could say are necessary evils…..

I, for one, consider yard work to be a necessary evil.Mr Waldegrave’s shambolic performance in the press conference was a necessary evil.We do not look at government as a necessary evil.It may be a necessary evil, but it is surely an evil.However, the authors, like most others then and now, saw those shortcomings as a necessary evil in maintaining control.They’re a necessary evil, like the woman who sawed off all my lovely hair.Lawyers are a necessary evil that I try to use as little as possible due to their cost.Bureaucracy was also a necessary evil to cope with the ravages of war.They viewed such methods as a necessary evil, unavoidable yet somehow beneath their dignity.

All this confusion is from something the “Mouth Of The South”, Tom Cotton, had to say about slavery….

“As the Founding Fathers said, it was the necessary evil upon which the union was built.” That’s how Sen. Tom Cotton described slavery in an interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Friday. The Republican was speaking out against the 1619 Project at the time, a New York Times-based curriculum examining the history of slavery in the US. Cotton has introduced a bill that would reduce federal funding for any school that uses it, the Hill reports, but he’s now facing criticism for his comments on it. In context:

  • “We have to study the history of slavery and its role and impact on the development of our country because otherwise we can’t understand our country. As the Founding Fathers said, it was the necessary evil upon which the union was built, but the union was built in a way, as Lincoln said, to put slavery on the course to its ultimate extinction.”
  • Cotton also said that the US should not be portrayed as “an irredeemably corrupt, rotten and racist country,” but “as an imperfect and flawed land, but the greatest and noblest country in the history of mankind.” He added, “The entire premise of the New York Times’ factually, historically flawed 1619 Project … is that America is at root, a systemically racist country to the core and irredeemable. I reject that root and branch. America is a great and noble country founded on the proposition that all mankind is created equal. We have always struggled to live up to that promise, but no country has ever done more to achieve it.” A director of the project was among those criticizing Cotton, but Cotton’s response to her got retweeted by the president himself: “Describing the *views of the Founders* and how they put the evil institution on a path to extinction, a point frequently made by Lincoln, is not endorsing or justifying slavery.”

I do not agree with “whatsisname”…….it was only necessary for the owners of plantations to get rich….

Any thoughts?

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That “Lost Cause Myth”

Any historians out there?

Any American Civil War buffs out there?

I have never been a fan of the American Civil War……I preferred to study on the time between 1760 and 1812……to me there was far more stuff happening that needs more study…..especially the years between 1800 and 1811…..

But the renewed situation with the statues and flag and a deeper issue of racism has got me to thinking about  the whole ball of wax.

Especially the so-called “Lost Cause Myth” pertaining to the South……..

The Lost Cause of the Confederacy, or simply the Lost Cause, is an American pseudo-historical, negationist ideology which advocates the belief that the cause of the Confederate States during the American Civil War was a just and heroic one.

This is the so-called history that has been taught in the South for many decades. For those that cannot read or understand a couple of short videos can assist.

These statues that are just now coming down helps to explain the BS behind the Lost Cause Myth…..

For the most part, the statues, now being stashed in the back rooms of museums in the South, are anachronistic, leftover artifacts of a mythology that spread throughout Southern states in the early 20th Century, and which historians refer to as the “Mythology of the Lost Cause.” 

The myth grew out of attempts by a few Confederate army officers to justify their failures and ultimately humiliating defeats in the Civil War. It holds that instead of a doomed insurgency launched by racists in order to prolong slavery, the Civil War was, in fact, a romantic tragedy similar to the Hollywood fable portrayed by Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh in Gone with the Wind

The Confederacy, according to this fictional account, fought to defend itself against Northern aggression and to preserve the rights of the besieged Southern states. Proponents insist that the people kidnapped and forced into bondage in the 17th and 18th centuries were most likely better off than they would have been had they remained in Africa. Some may even have preferred slavery, they argue.

Setting the Record Straight

Now ask…how could a defeat been seen as something positive?

Well we can thank Woodrow Wilson for he made the Lost Cause Myth more palatable…..he started naming military bases after defeat Confederate generals…..but why?

Born and raised in Virginia, Wilson was the first American president to hail from the South since the Civil War. He was 8 years old when Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House. Though Wilson grew up to become a northeastern Ivy League academic, the president of Princeton, and later governor of New Jersey, his southern political base saw him as a champion of the Lost Cause. And he didn’t let them down.

As president, Wilson imposed Jim Crow–style segregation on the federal civil service and the Navy, which had been integrated for the previous century, and when he hosted the first-ever screening of a feature film in the White House, the honor went to The Birth of a Nation. An adaptation of the Thomas Dixon Jr. novel The Clansman, the film brought the myth of the Lost Cause to the silver screen in a racist paean to the defeat of Reconstruction through the terrorist violence of the KKK.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/06/the-lost-causes-long-legacy/613288/

Here for your education are some of the tenets of the “Lost Cause Myth”……

  • Confederate generals such as Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson represented the virtues of Southern nobility. This nobility was contrast most significantly in comparisons between U.S. Grant and Lee. The Northern generals, were characterized as men with low moral standards who engaged in vicious campaigns against Southern civilians such as Sherman’s March to the Sea and Philip Sheridan’s burning of the Shenandoah Valley in the Valley Campaigns of 1864.
  • Losses on the battlefield were inevitable and were blamed on Northern superiority in resources and manpower.
  • Losses were also the result of betrayal and incompetence on the part of certain subordinates of General Lee, such as General James Longstreet.  Longstreet was the object of blame because of his association with Grant, conversion to the Republican Party, and other actions during Reconstruction.
  • While states’ rights was not emphasized in the declarations of secession, the Lost Cause focused on the defense of states’ rights, rather than preservation of slavery as the primary cause that led eleven Southern states to secede.
  • Secession was seen as a justifiable constitutional response to Northern cultural and economic aggressions against the Southern way of life.
  • Slavery was fictionally presented as a benign institution, and the slaves were treated well and cared for and loyal and faithful to their benevolent masters.

https://civil-war-journeys.org/the_lost_cause.htm

As an amateur historian this situation forces me to look closer at this part of American history……for me it is any excuse for research.

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The Saga Of Hercules

No Irene this is not some silly post about some half Greek god hero and his story…..

There has been a wealth of interests about the musical “Hamilton”…..I am not a fan of musicals but I will give the play credit for introducing the American people to an unsung hero of the Revolution……Hercules Mulligan.

Born in Ireland’s County Londonderry on September 25, 1740, Hercules Mulligan immigrated to the American colonies when he was just six years old. His parents, Hugh and Sarah, left their homeland in hopes of improving life for their family in the colonies; they settled in New York City and Hugh became the eventual owner of a successful accounting firm.

Hamilton lived with Mulligan for a period during his tenure as a student, and the two of them had many late-night political discussions. One of the earliest members of the Sons of Liberty, Mulligan is credited from swaying Hamilton away from his stance as a Tory and into a role as a patriot and one of America’s founding fathers. Hamilton, originally a supporter of British dominion over the thirteen colonies, soon came to the conclusion that the colonists should be able to rule themselves. Together, Hamilton and Mulligan joined the Sons of Liberty, a secret society of patriots that was formed to protect colonists’ rights.

https://www.thoughtco.com/hercules-mulligan-4160489

As a spy during the War…his information twice saved Washington from the Red Coats…..

Twice, the spy’s information prevented General Washington from ruin. On one occasion, a rushed officer came to Mulligan late at night in dire need of a coat. Upon further questioning, the officer carelessly disclosed his mission to capture George Washington later that day. Mulligan sent for Cato immediately and upon receiving the news, Washington relocated to safety. In another instance, the British had caught wind of Washington’s plan to travel to Rhode Island via the Connecticut shoreline. By a stroke of luck, Hercules’s brother, Hugh, was charged with loading the British boats with supplies. Hugh informed Hercules of the enemy’s stratagem and Cato carried the message to Washington who quickly rerouted.

https://www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/hercules-mulligan

Yet another brave American that has not received the accolades he deserved for his part in the victory over England.

America has a way of ignoring those that did the most to protect this country.

This is my little effort to bring those unsung heroes into the light.

There is so much more to the Founding of America than the limited lessons we are taught in schools.

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What The Hell Is The Jones Act?

That time again…the Old Professor’s Classroom…..to learn something does not hurt in anyway.

Before we start…..I think it might be helpful to the understanding of the question to give a little background into the Act.

The Merchant Marine act of 1920 was designed to create a safe network of merchant mariners within the U.S. after World War I, in reaction to the U.S. fleet being destroyed by the German navy. The Jones Act requires all goods shipped between U.S. ports to be transported by U.S. vessels (and operated primarily by Americans).

It calls for providing the nation with a merchant marine that can transport goods between U.S. ports, increase national security during war times, and support a U.S. maritime industry. This nearly century-old law has been amended several times, most recently in 2006.

While much of the current attention on the Jones Act is focused on foreign shipping regulations, the law also contains important information about the maritime industry’s responsibilities regarding safety and well-being of crew. It safeguards the rights of sailors from being exploited, requiring compensation for injuries due to negligence by their employers. It requires employers to maintain safe environments and provide medical care, and also sets standards for vessel maintenance, safety equipment such as lifeboats, and crew qualifications, training and licensing. And, this all-encompassing law has something to say about the environment too, requiring all U.S. ships to comply with EPA regulations.

Now you have a grasp on what the Act entails….we can move onto the debate that is raging (well maybe not raging but intense)……

There is a debate raging on whether the Act has seen better days and should be revoked…..

First a more Libertarian look at the Act…..

For nearly 100 years, a federal law known as the Jones Act has restricted water transportation of cargo between U.S. ports to ships that are U.S.-owned, U.S.-crewed, U.S.-registered, and U.S.-built. Justified on national security grounds as a means to bolster the U.S. maritime industry, the unsurprising result of this law has been to impose significant costs on the U.S. economy while providing few of the promised benefits.

This paper provides an overview of the Jones Act by examining its history and the various burdens it imposes on consumers and businesses alike. While the law’s most direct consequence is to raise transportation costs, which are passed down through supply chains and ultimately reflected in higher retail prices, it generates enormous collateral damage through excessive wear and tear on the country’s infrastructure, time wasted in traffic congestion, and the accumulated health and environmental toll caused by unnecessary carbon emissions and hazardous material spills from trucks and trains. Meanwhile, closer scrutiny finds the law’s national security justification to be unmoored from modern military and technological realities

https://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/jones-act-burden-america-can-no-longer-bear

A short con video for the Jones Act…….

Ask a Founder if the Act should go……

During the first Congress in 1789, Alexander Hamilton led the passage of legislation that required trade between U.S. ports to be conducted by U.S.-flagged vessels, which mirrored the laws of most major countries at the time. This forerunner of the Jones Act nurtured the nation’s fledgling maritime industry and provided a pool of U.S. ships, crews, and shipbuilders that could support the country in a conflict. Even free market theorist Adam Smith contended that England’s own similar statutes were “the wisest of all the commercial regulations” given their vital defense role.
Hamilton’s goals still apply today. The domestic U.S. commercial fleet provides some of the ships, and 40 percent of the mariners needed to move military cargoes during a crisis. U.S.-flagged and operated ships also keep foreign vessels and crews off America’s interior waterways and lessen adversaries’ ability to gain control of commercial sea links between the Continental United States and Hawaii, Alaska, or island territories. Furthermore, the Jones Act’s U.S.-build requirement sustains shipyards the government depends on for episodic construction of military ships and ensures ship construction capacity is available in the United States to replace wartime losses.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2020/07/04/end_the_jones_act_ask_alexander_hamilton_115438.html

The con has been stated…..now the pro…..

One hundred years ago today, President Woodrow Wilson enacted a law that would become known as the Jones Act. Its purpose was to help the U.S. shipping industry recover after World War I. Yet few could have predicted how vital it would become to our national security and economic prosperity a full century later — especially during a pandemic.

The Jones Act requires that all vessels carrying goods between two U.S. points be American-built, -owned, -crewed and -flagged. This policy provides stability to the U.S. maritime industry and helps to sustain 650,000 American jobs, resulting in $150 billion in economic benefits each year. Most importantly, the Jones Act advances our national security by helping maintain a vibrant domestic shipbuilding industry and maritime workforce. Our shipbuilders supply the military with warships, and U.S. mariners play a key role in transporting military personnel and equipment overseas in times of crisis.

https://www.defensenews.com/opinion/commentary/2020/06/05/why-the-jones-act-is-still-needed-100-years-later/

There you have both sides and I would like to hear from my readers on whether the Jones Act should stay or should it go.

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Lee’s Dark Side

These days of news reports about statues and persons of the American Civil War and the admiration that Donald the Orange shows them I thought that a post on Robert E. Lee would be an interesting post for my followers to read….for those that missed the original post……https://lobotero.com/2020/07/10/the-real-robert-e-lee/

After it was posted on Twitter I got a reply from a person that also writes a blog and they sent me a link so that I could read more on Lee’s dark side.

Warning – we do not use euphemism or Orwellian double speak.  
 
In this article — torture is torture.  It’s not “discipline.”
 
Buying kidnapped women is buying kidnapped women. Having your own soldiers shot during battle if they ran — is just that.  Look elsewhere for euphemism.  We won’t do it.

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The Real Robert E. Lee

These days of turmoil around the statues of Confederate generals and their “monuments” have lots to talk but few actual accounts of the perpetrators of treason.

This post is about the general of the Confederate Army, Robt. E. Lee……and for all those that think they know all there is to know about the war and the people…..

Robert E. Lee is one of the most revered, beloved generals in modern history. Many are taught that this son of a Revolutionary War hero helped lead a revolution of his own, and although it was ultimately unsuccessful, his legacy and defiant spirit have inspired millions. For a few short years during the American Civil War, Lee thwarted Union armies twice his size with bold attacks and brilliant strategy. He took the fight to the enemy and very nearly won the war for the South, all by himself. After the war, he pushed peace and humble reconciliation, earning the respect of his former foes.

Or, so goes the story, anyway. The reality is, as usual, a bit more complex than the popular version. And in Lee’s case, it’s uglier, too. What were Lee’s actual thoughts on slavery? What about racial equality after the war? How good a general was he really? This is the real, complex, often ugly, untold truth of Robert E. Lee.

There’s no shortage of misconceptions floating around regarding what, exactly, Robert E. Lee’s personal feelings towards the institution of slavery actually were. Proponents of the myth that the war was fought over “state’s rights” often claim that Lee himself was opposed to the practice of owning human beings. They might even cite a letter to his wife in which he calls slavery a “moral and political evil.” Later in the same letter, though, Lee goes on to support the subjugation of slaves at length and claims that only God can free them.

Read More: https://www.grunge.com/223599/the-untold-truth-of-robert-e-lee/

There is another post coming about the president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis……according to family tales was a cousin of my maternal grandmother….her name was Bessie Mae Davis….more on that later.

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Civil War Missed Opportunities

There is a lot of talk these days about the Confederacy…..especially the monuments to the “heroes” of the American Civil War….but this post in NOT about those stone monuments…..but rather the missed opportunities that could have lead to a quicker conclusion of the war.

WHAT IF THE South had marched on Washington D.C. in 1861 after the First Battle of Bull Run? Suppose General George McClellan had been bolder during the 1862 Peninsula Campaign. Picture General George Meade pursuing and destroying Robert E. Lee’s army once and for all after Gettysburg. Could any of these scenarios have led to an early conclusion to the U.S. Civil War?

Debates about how the bloody four-year conflict might have ended had one commander or another moved with greater haste, boldness, or discernment have raged for year

In fact, some of the war’s finest scholars, and more than a few ‘armchair historians’ as well, have explored all manner of ‘what if’ scenarios. And playing these sorts of guessing games carries risks – anyone bold enough to hypothesize is often greeted with scorn, derision and ridicule. After all, Civil War buffs are a passionate breed!

Nevertheless – and grasping full well the firestorm such speculation often ignites among aficionados of the period – I will offer up a few speculations of my own, stipulating as I do, that they are my own humble opinions, and nothing more.

Missed Opportunities – Four Battles That Might Have Ended the U.S. Civil War Long Before 1865

I still think that the South would have lost the war no matter what….they just did not have the industrial base for a prolonged conflict.

In full disclosure….my maternal grandmother’s name was Elizabeth Mae Davis…and according to the family tales and sagas she was related to Jefferson Davis.

I know there are many that like the study of the American Civil war….of which I am not one…..and if they have any thoughts on missed opportunities….please feel free to share….

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The Reign Of Terror

What do we mean by the term “Reign of Terror”?

A period of remorseless repression or bloodshed……the most famous Reign of Terror was that during the French Revolution…..a period of the French Revolution, from about March, 1793, to July, 1794, during which many persons were ruthlessly executed by the ruling faction.

… the Terror was a brief but deadly period where Maximilien Robespierre, the Committee of Public Safety and the Revolutionary Tribunals condemned thousands of people to die under the falling blade of the guillotine.

The realities of the Terror were more complex. The Reign of Terror was not driven by one man, one body or one policy. It was a child with many parents, triggered and driven by different forces and factors.

The Reign of Terror

Anyone that knows a little history will know of the barbarity committed during the French Revolution….what about the Reign of Terror here in the good old US of A?

Yes Irene there was a Reign of Terror here…..and NO it is not some condemnation of the Trump admin….ever hear of the Palmer Raids?

on January 3, 1920—Americans woke up to discover just how little their own government regarded the cherished Bill of Rights. During the night, some 4,000 of their fellow citizens were rounded up and jailed for what amounted, in most cases, to no good reason at all and no due process, either.

Welcome to the story of the Palmer Raids, named for their instigator, Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer. Though largely forgotten today, they shouldn’t be. They constituted a horrific, shameful episode in American history, one of the lowest moments for liberty since King George III quartered troops in private homes.

The terror during the night of January 2-3, 1920, shocked and frightened many citizens. In her 1971 book, America’s Reign of Terror: World War I, the Red Scare, and the Palmer Raids, Roberta Strauss Feuerlicht wrote:

https://fee.org/articles/the-palmer-raids-america-s-forgotten-reign-of-terror/

But for those that would like more information on these violation by the US government….https://www.history.com/topics/red-scare/palmer-raids

And this not the first time of which actions by the government…..This wasn’t the first time the government in Washington had trampled the Bill of Rights. No less than the administration of John Adams, an American founding patriot, briefly shut down newspapers and dissenting opinion with its Alien & Sedition Acts of 1798. Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus and arrested thousands of political opponents in Northern states.

The sad thing is that it is all but forgotten with all the “patriotic” BS….it is history and to ignore it means that it could happen again….and again…..

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The Confederacy

There is lots of debate these days about the short lived Confederate States of America…..to some it is “heritage” (for me that is just a cover term) to others it was a repressive state dedicated to the ideal of white supremacy.

Let the old Professor take you on a trip down that historical lane…..

We can pretend that the cause of the war were several factors but the truth of the matter is…..Confederates fought the war mainly to protect a southern society of which slavery was an integral part.

For any of my history buffs….if you would like to see how the CSA was set up then here is a copy of the Constitution…..https://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/csa_csa.asp

Here is the sanitized version of the CSA from the History Net….

The Confederacy, when used within or in reference to North America, generally means the Confederate States of America. It is also called the Southern Confederacy and refers to 11 states that renounced their existing agreement with others of the United States in 1860–1861 and attempted to establish a new nation in which the authority of the central government would be strictly limited and the institution of slavery would be protected. Secession from the existing Union led to the American Civil War, a bloody, four-year struggle that left much of the South in ashes and ended its hope of creating a new confederacy of states on the North American continent.

Confederacy

If you want a truly sanitized look at the American Civil War then let AARP show you the way…..https://www.aarp.org/politics-society/history/info-04-2011/8-ways-civil-war-changed-lives.html

Now let’s look beyond the sanitation of the events of 1861-1865……the Confederacy…..

For the four years of its existence, until it was forced to surrender, the Confederate States of America was a pro-slavery nation at war against the United States. The C.S.A. was a big, centralized state, devoted to securing a society in which enslavement to white people was the permanent and inherited condition of all people of African descent.

The Confederates built an explicitly white-supremacist, pro-slavery, and antidemocratic nation-state, dedicated to the principle that all men are not created equal. Emboldened by what they saw as the failure of emancipation in other parts of the world, buoyed by the new science of race, and convinced that the American vision of the people had been terribly betrayed, they sought the kind of future for human slavery and conservative republican government that was no longer possible within the United States. This is the cause that the statues honor.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/06/confederacy-wasnt-what-you-think/613309/

There you have the facts about the Confederacy.

Now a little extra for this post…..could the Civil War ended earlier than 1865?

In fact, some of the war’s finest scholars, and more than a few ‘armchair historians’ as well, have explored all manner of ‘what if’ scenarios. And playing these sorts of guessing games carries risks – anyone bold enough to hypothesize is often greeted with scorn, derision and ridicule. After all, Civil War buffs are a passionate breed!

Nevertheless – and grasping full well the firestorm such speculation often ignites among aficionados of the period – I will offer up a few speculations of my own, stipulating as I do, that they are my own humble opinions, and nothing more.

Missed Opportunities – Four Battles That Might Have Ended the U.S. Civil War Long Before 1865

Could the war had been avoided with a bit of a compromise?

The only compromise that could have headed off war by then was for the Southern states to forgo secession and agree to abolition. Conceivably Lincoln would have agreed to gradual abolition to avoid war; he certainly believed before the war began that he lacked the constitutional authority to emancipate the slaves unilaterally.

Once the Confederate states seceded and troops fired on Fort Sumter, the only solution possible was complete Southern surrender. And as the war continued, and slavery became an explicit justification for the conflict, emancipation became central to a resolution.

https://www.history.com/news/could-compromise-have-prevented-the-civil-war

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