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Lincoln and His Party in the Secession Crisis

by Daniel W. Crofts introduction by David M. Potter

440 pages / 5.50 x 8.50 inches / no illustrations

Southern History

  Paperback / 9780807120279 / December 1995

“From every standpoint Lincoln and His Party in the Secession Crisis is a superior book.”—Journal of Mississippi History

Originally published in 1942, this perceptive and impartial analysis of one of the most baffling periods in American history—the months between the election of Lincoln and the fall of Fort Sumter—as a bold declaration of intellectual independence. David M. Potter revolted against the prevailing argument of his time, that Lincoln deliberately provoked the South into war to bring a violent end to slavery, by arguing that Lincoln followed the least aggressive course available to him in dealing with the secession crisis.

Based on a painstaking examination of the writings and statements of both the northern principal players in the secession crisis and other lesser-known Republicans who revealed the party sentiment, this groundbreaking study details the attitudes of the Republicans to the threat of secession, their reaction to the actual withdrawal of the southern states, and their faith that the Union could be restored without violence. Daniel W. Crofts provides a new Introduction, setting Potter’s account in the context of contemporary literature.

“More than a half century after its appearance, Lincoln and His Party in the Secession Crisis remains the single most important book covering the fateful five months between Lincoln’s election and the start of the Civil War.”—Daniel W. Crofts, from his Introduction 

Daniel W. Crofts, professor of history at The College of New Jersey, is the author of Reluctant Confederates: Upper South Unionists in the Secession Crisis and Old Southampton: Politics and Society in a Virginia County, 1834-1869 and editor of Cobb's Ordeal: The Diaries of a Virginia Farmer, 1842-1872.

David M. Potter was Coe Professor of American History at Stanford University. He was the author of several books, including People of Plenty: Economic Abundance and The National Character and The Impending Crisis, 1848-1861.

Daniel W. Crofts is professor of history at Trenton State University. He is the author of Old Southampton: Politics and Society in a Virginia County, 1824-1869 and Reluctant Confederates: Upper South Unionists and the Secession Crisis.

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