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"Lincoln And The Bluegrass- Slavery and Civil War in Kentucky"
06-28-2017, 09:59 PM (This post was last modified: 06-28-2017 10:04 PM by Anita.)
Post: #1
"Lincoln And The Bluegrass- Slavery and Civil War in Kentucky"
Written by William H. Townsend, this is a must for your Lincoln library. It is a comprehensive detailed account of how Lincoln's first-hand experiences during several visits to Kentucky after marriage to Mary, Mary's knowledge and insights on all sides of the slavery issue, and his personal friendships with Kentucky Whig politicians influenced Lincoln's policies on containing slavery and ultimately to the Emancipation Proclamation. A very well-researched and documented work, Townsend's footnotes and references are a treasure trove.

Townsend explains in detailed examples, how Mary Lincoln had been taught every side of the great slavery question. When Lincoln married Mary she would read the "Lexington Observer and Reporter" aloud to him, sharing her personal knowledge of the key political players and family histories (stories I'd not read before). Then through visits to Lexington over a number of years, Lincoln experienced first-hand intimate knowledge of the horrors and inhumanity of slavery. On these visits Lincoln attended meetings and political rallies supporting Whig candidates and legislation to improve the conditions of slaves and introduce legislation for the gradual emancipation of slaves in Kentucky. When Clay lost his race for the Presidency, Lincoln commented that no candidate supporting emancipation can ever be elected.

On his 3 week visit in 1849 to handle the Todd estate lawsuit he obtained a deeper insight into the problem of slavery than he had up to then. "Slavery, in the very place where it was said to be the most benign, had left etchings on his memory never to be erased...." What Lincoln witnessed in these weeks you'll have to read. Powerful stuff!

Lincoln came away from the Bluegrass realizing that the more agitation in states where slavery already existed caused it to become more entrenched with increased violence toward the slave. The only way to kill it was to contain the spread. A few months later (1850) back in Springfield John Stuart says, "I said "Lincoln, the time is coming when we shall have to be all Abolitionists or all Democrats." He thought a moment and then answered ruefully and emphatically, "When that time comes my mind is made up, for I believe the slavery question can never be successfully compromised."

Townsend discusses in detail the tremendous time, effort and diplomatic skill Lincoln expended to keep Kentucky neutral as the Confederate States were formed and to maintain that neutrality during the war. Also what it was like for Lexington to have Union Troops in the city and when they were routed by Southern forces. He discusses the impact the war had on Mary's family dynamics due to those who chose to support the Confederacy.

Very readable and you may find something new here.
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06-28-2017, 10:19 PM
Post: #2
RE: "Lincoln And The Bluegrass- Slavery and Civil War in Kentucky"
Thanks for reading and posting about this.
It has been on my internet book reading list for a while.

You can find it in the Internet Archive
https://archive.org/stream/lincolnbluegr...0/mode/2up

It is also available from several internet or walk in bookstores

So when is this "Old Enough To Know Better" supposed to kick in?
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06-29-2017, 05:07 AM
Post: #3
RE: "Lincoln And The Bluegrass- Slavery and Civil War in Kentucky"
I second Gene, Anita. Thank you for posting the review - well done!
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07-01-2017, 07:22 PM
Post: #4
RE: "Lincoln And The Bluegrass- Slavery and Civil War in Kentucky"
(06-28-2017 09:59 PM)Anita Wrote:  Written by William H. Townsend, this is a must for your Lincoln library. It is a comprehensive detailed account of how Lincoln's first-hand experiences during several visits to Kentucky after marriage to Mary, Mary's knowledge and insights on all sides of the slavery issue, and his personal friendships with Kentucky Whig politicians influenced Lincoln's policies on containing slavery and ultimately to the Emancipation Proclamation. A very well-researched and documented work, Townsend's footnotes and references are a treasure trove.

Townsend explains in detailed examples, how Mary Lincoln had been taught every side of the great slavery question. When Lincoln married Mary she would read the "Lexington Observer and Reporter" aloud to him, sharing her personal knowledge of the key political players and family histories (stories I'd not read before). Then through visits to Lexington over a number of years, Lincoln experienced first-hand intimate knowledge of the horrors and inhumanity of slavery. On these visits Lincoln attended meetings and political rallies supporting Whig candidates and legislation to improve the conditions of slaves and introduce legislation for the gradual emancipation of slaves in Kentucky. When Clay lost his race for the Presidency, Lincoln commented that no candidate supporting emancipation can ever be elected.

On his 3 week visit in 1849 to handle the Todd estate lawsuit he obtained a deeper insight into the problem of slavery than he had up to then. "Slavery, in the very place where it was said to be the most benign, had left etchings on his memory never to be erased...." What Lincoln witnessed in these weeks you'll have to read. Powerful stuff!

Lincoln came away from the Bluegrass realizing that the more agitation in states where slavery already existed caused it to become more entrenched with increased violence toward the slave. The only way to kill it was to contain the spread. A few months later (1850) back in Springfield John Stuart says, "I said "Lincoln, the time is coming when we shall have to be all Abolitionists or all Democrats." He thought a moment and then answered ruefully and emphatically, "When that time comes my mind is made up, for I believe the slavery question can never be successfully compromised."

Townsend discusses in detail the tremendous time, effort and diplomatic skill Lincoln expended to keep Kentucky neutral as the Confederate States were formed and to maintain that neutrality during the war. Also what it was like for Lexington to have Union Troops in the city and when they were routed by Southern forces. He discusses the impact the war had on Mary's family dynamics due to those who chose to support the Confederacy.

Very readable and you may find something new here.



I agree, it is an excellent book.
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07-22-2017, 03:15 PM
Post: #5
RE: "Lincoln And The Bluegrass- Slavery and Civil War in Kentucky"
I add my own praise for the book: I just finished it the other day (thanks to Gene's archive.org link) and I enjoyed it very much. Interesting to see a focus on Lincoln's Kentucky connections rather than his Illinois connections.

I have endured a great deal of ridicule without much malice; and have received a great deal of kindness, not quite free from ridicule. I am used to it. (Letter to James H. Hackett, November 2, 1863)
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