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The Doom of ReconstructionThe Liberal Republicans in the Civil War Era$
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Andrew L. Slap

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780823227099

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823227099.001.0001

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Preserving the Republic While Defeating the Slave Power, 1848–1865

Preserving the Republic While Defeating the Slave Power, 1848–1865

(p.51) 3 Preserving the Republic While Defeating the Slave Power, 1848–1865
The Doom of Reconstruction

Andrew L. Slap

Fordham University Press

This chapter discusses the liberal republicans' efforts from 1848 to 1865 to defeat slavery while preserving the republic. Liberal republicans were antislavery partly because they felt the institution was immoral, but largely because they saw it as a threat to republican government. As early as the 1840s, they stressed the danger that the “Slave Power” posed to republican institutions. They wished to pursue the war vigorously to end slavery, yet their belief that republican government would also be threatened by corruption and a strong central government made them reluctant to support the Republican Party's economic policies and war measures. This left them with a serious dilemma; while they ultimately gave their reluctant support to policies that increased the power of the federal government, they remained ambivalent about the war measures, unsure whether they would threaten the republic or save it.

Keywords:   Slave Power, republican government, Republican Party, Civil War, corruption

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