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2017 NYTimes book review
09-05-2023, 11:44 AM
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2017 NYTimes book review
The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln, Volume II, 1849-1856
By Sidney Blumenthal

Douglas’s crowning, if ultimately catastrophic, achievement was the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, which forms the central armature of Blumenthal’s story. Beneath his expedient rhetoric, Douglas’s main goal may have been to line the pockets of his speculator friends, who stood to reap immense profits from the development of a transcontinental railroad. Douglas could only secure the deal with the support of the South, by agreeing to open part of the Nebraska Territory, and implicitly more of the West, to slavery. Brilliant though he was as a legislative strategist, Douglas failed to grasp the depth of outrage the act would spark across the North. Even racist whites did not want to compete for work with slaves. Irreconcilable fissures over slavery erupted in both the Democratic Party and among Lincoln’s Whigs.

According to one Illinois colleague, Lincoln even feared “that the tendency of the times was to make slavery universal, and that Illinois ... would soon legalize slavery there.”

"So very difficult a matter is it to trace and find out the truth of anything by history." -- Plutarch
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2017 NYTimes book review - David Lockmiller - 09-05-2023 11:44 AM

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