Online Book: John Abbott's History of the Civil War, Volume 1; Published 1862

  • I have found a marvelous history of the origins and early part of the US Civil War online published in about 1862 by an northern professor, minister, and lecturer that was apparently an abolitionist. His name was John Abbott. Incredible human being. This is the best underrecognized book on the Civil War written back during that time I have yet found. If I understand correctly, he wrote his history of the Civil War as it was unfolding in volumes covering about two years at a time. He is amazingly frank in his comments and he bases his narrative on newspaper accounts, some observation from travels, some on interviews with politicians and soldiers, and it is utterly remarkable. Being written before the outcome, it is a history with a biased POV of a northern abolitionist, but without the bias of the winners. It is history written before the ending, so there is an absence of the rationalizations and covering up of what happened to preserve careers and nation state relations that plagues most Civil War history. Here is a good quote from the preface. It is an Edward Everett interview of the Duke of Wellington about the difficulty understanding war. It goes like this: “The Hon. Edward Everett once inquired of the Duke of Wellington, respecting the battle of Waterloo. The Duke, with that singular good sense, which ever characterized him, replied, " By comparing and study- ing the various descriptions of the battle, by English, French and German writers, a man of sense can acquire a better knowledge of it, at the present day, than any one, even the commander-in-chief, could get, at the time, from personal observation.”” Here is the link to the Civil War history book by John Abbott.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Interesting. I will have to take a look at it. I like this sentence in the Preface:

    “The impartiality of history does not require that the treason of Arnold and the patriotism of Washington, should be alike recorded, without commendation or censure.”

  • P.S.: Abbott wrote many histories of major military-political figures of the era leading up to the Civil War, also. He wrote biographies of: Napoleon Bonaparte, Joseph Bonaparte, Josephine Bonaparte, and one I am especially interested to find and read on Frederich II aka Frederich the Great. I have not yet formed an opinion on how right he got things. I haven’t read any critical assessments of him yet either. But his book on the US Civil War is worth its weight in gold just for his discussion of Union General Fremont’s bitter Civil War legacy that is diametrically opposed to what conventional post war histories have made it appear. It could be that Abbott is wrong about what happened to Fremont, but if what Abbott asserted holds water, it makes Lincoln’s conduct of the early years of the US Civil War make stark, if disillusioning, sense in strategic terms. Get ready to go through the looking glass on Lincoln’s conduct of the early years of the US Civil War. It is flipping amazing.

  • @jaybate-1.0 What format are you reading it in? It looks like a .txt file, and my phone doesn’t display iy in any way to be able to read it. I will try my PC sometime to see if it is better.

  • @mayjay

    Prepare to be engaged and to have contemporary history’s version of the motivations of Lincoln and his conduct of the early years of the Civil War significantly complexified.

    You have to work some extra to put yourself in Abbott’s position writing without knowledge of how the war would play out after 1862 to do justice to what he accomplished, even just in the reportorial aspects of his narrative.

    But it is his remarks about certain incidences, like General Fremont’s being relieved in the Missouri department, and the reasons behind it, that this book just dropped my jaw wide open.

    Again, his is one version and one version only. But regarding Fremont, alone, what he claims is so crucial and so extensive in its implications, professional and amateur historians absolutely must revisit this moment in the US Civil War. I am already convinced that Lincoln’s conduct of the war cannot be grasped until one understands that Lincoln had, opposing his then new political party–the Republicans–General McClellan on the Democrat’s side hoping to replace Lincoln by building an alliance with the Democratic South, and on the other side of Lincoln, within the Republican Party itself, General Fremont wanting to build a staunch anti-slavery alliance (to take the young Republican party BACK to Fremont’s 1856 presidential campaign position) intent on destroying the South and its feudal planter aristocracy built on chattel slavery and New York loans to build vast plantations. Without putting too fine of a point on it, Lincoln spent the first three years of the war largely having to defeat Democrat McClellan and Republican Fremont, before Lincoln could get on with defeating the South. This may be old news to some, but to me I had always viewed Lincoln as struggling only on one political flank, i.e., with Democrat McClellan.

    Now, because my juices are flowing, I must inject some of my own thoughts expanding way beyond Abbott’s relatively brief speculations about the possible motivations of the dismissal of Fremont, and about McClellan’s often conspicuously limited macro prosecution of the war. IMHO, General Fremont may have actually conceived a detailed military strategy for military conquest of the South as far back as in the Missouri Department 1861, or also possible, the US Army may have previously conceived of this plan in the 10-20 year run up to the war, during the many times the southern states threatened the north with secession. But since prewar planning is pure speculation at this point, let me get back to Fremont. In 1861, Fremont recommended moving immediately from Missouri to take the forts on the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers, as was in fact done several years later by the Union. Note also that Grant was serving under Fremont in Missouri, and my hypothesis is that Grant got his big picture strategy for the war from Fremont and/or surviving staff in the coming few years. My speculation is that Fremont immediately understood that striking there, forced the South, not merely to fend off the attack, but to have to choose which way to defend the North at perhaps its weakest, most vulnerable point (note: not at the easiest, least costly point for the North to attack, but the point that would most devastate the South strategically and make it the least able to win an all out war). If the South defended the eastward path (i.e., to protect their supply lines to New Orleans, and later to Mexican ports used by the English) , Fremont would go south and take Vicksburg and the south Mississippi Basin. If they defended the Southern Mississippi, he would strike immediately farther eastward into the heart of the south. From that moment, the south would be continually in the grip of having to choose whether to stop his eastward movement, or stop his southward movement, as he progressed across the south, cutting it in two, as in fact Grant and Sherman would eventually copy. Starting so early would also have forced the South to move major forces from Virginia to stop Fremont, which would have enabled any Union general to march down the eastern seaboard with far less resistance and take over the ports and railroads of the eastern seaboard much faster, pivot and head east across Georgia and put the South in a hammer and anvil in Chattanooga, or Atlanta. If Abbott’s speculations were to be verified about Fremont’s astuteness and skillfulness, thus refuting the “official story” of Civil War history about Fremont being an incompetant–the version written by the winners afterwards that had cleared both Fremont and McClellan from Lincoln’s wake, then it is significantly plausible that General Fremont’s plan was intentionally shelved and Fremont cleared from Lincoln’s wake, while Lincoln focused on finding a way to get rid of McClellan next, BEFORE getting on with defeating the South. Had Fremont not been sidelined, Fremont might well have accelerated toward victory in a way that would have: a.) enhanced a Fremont candidacy; and b.) forced McClellan to more aggressive fighting just to save his southern allies from Fremont, and so the war might have concluded by 1863! Why? Because left in charge and to his own devices, Fremont would likely have begun the operations on the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers in 1861, or early 1862, instead of as it dragged on due to unnecessary retreats, and reconquests, in Missouri and strategically unnecessary engagements west of the Mississippi, such as at Pea Ridge. Offensive action penetrating into the heart of the Confederacy did not reach full steam until October of 1863, when Lincoln promoted Grant head of the Division of the Mississippi, and March 1864 when Lincoln promoted Grant to head of all Union Armies.

    Why would Lincoln not have been ready to defeat the south ASAP? That is a HUGE historical question?

    The answer is likely multi-factorial.

    Lincoln, a deeply unpopular President from the start, and one facing so many assassination threats even just as President-elect, that he came into Washington, D.C., unannounced, had to prosecute the war in a way that kept him President, or he would not have been able to achieve either his personal objectives, or the objectives of his core base base of Great Lakes industrialists and Morgan banking interests (the Morgan’s being the USA agent banker for the Rothschild’s and Bank of England, which were simultaneously financing the North, the South and the Joint Great Power invasion of Mexico that would start about a year after the start of the US Civil War, when Anaconda had blocked off the Confederate ports. The British invading Mexico assured they could keep ports open their and off load supplies to be shipped north overland to the Confederacy.

    Lincoln logically must have realized the Rothschild’s and Morgans, and almost certainly the Crown itself, were financing the US Civil War (by financing both North and South) and planning for the imminent Great Power invasion of Mexico in order to bargain for control of both the building of the transcontinental railroads and a subsequent interocean canal across the Tehuantepec isthmus of Mexico, by destabilizing the troubled USA-Mexican relationship. In turn, Lincoln, the savvy politician, probably logically reasoned that it would be unwise to prosecute the US Civil War in a way that revitalized the Presidential hopes (and still strong popularity) of 1856 anti-slavery candidate Fremont–the anti-slavery candidate who unequivocally wanted to crush the South, and its English and French financed slave plantation economy, and use his wealth and influence in California in conjunction with the Big Four of San Francisco to control the western terminus of any transcontinental railroad and telegraph. Lincoln would also logically have been loath to have made a hero of General McClelland either. Lincoln would not have wanted to intensify the already looming 1864 Presidential hopes of the wildly popular and well connected General McClelland, the conciliatory, pro-north-south-power-sharing candidate with a political-financial base in Baltimore, Philly and with Southern rail interests, as well as specific ties to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad–the rail road and port that could strangle off export of iron, steel, grain, manufacturing, and rapidly increasingly, kerosene exports, from the north’s burgeoning Great Lakes region , if someone other than a Great Lakes industrial coalition wound up with control of the B&O during and after the war. Both Fremont and McClellan were largely forced on Lincoln in the first place. Fremont was a part of the price of keeping California aligned with the North. McClellan was part of the price of trying to keep Philly, and Baltimore and the rest of Maryland on his side, when Baltimore and Maryland were likely to go Confederate, when Philly had to be appeased to keep them from fearing the Pittsburg mill owners were getting too powerful with Lincoln, and, when Robert E. Lee turned down Lincoln’s offer to head the Union Armies, implying Virginia was joining the Confederates. Lincoln did not dare allow Maryland to go confederate for it would have met withdrawing from Washington and that would have opened up massive divisions in the north over where to locate the Union capital.

    Lincoln also desperately needed California on the North’s side, so the telegraph and then his backers’ railroad could go coast to coast, and even more urgently in the short term, Lincoln needed California’s gold to back purchases of munitions and other war spending.

    But, at the same time Lincoln had to accept Fremont and McClelland for reasons just outlined, he had to find ways to keep them from pursuing agendas counter to his and battle plans that either enhanced them as candidates, or undermined his core base’s capacities to control transcontinental rail, telegraph and iron/steel. In short, he had to accept the two generals (and many others, too), find ways to keep them from being too successful at what they wanted to do for their bases (war is economics by other means and many Generals represent private sector interests at least indirectly), and ultimately rid himself of both in order to prosecute the war successfully and come out at the end of the tunnel in control of the vast war machine that was going to be created in order to defeat the South.

    It was the vastness of the war machine Lincoln was able to build and eventually gain full control over in the end that thwarted the British strategy of North American destabilization, brought them finally to partnership with the north in the closing years of the war, and apparently triggered the necessity to assassinate Lincoln at a war’s end.

    To be blunt, Lincoln was King of North America at war’s end. He could have done what ever he wanted, and made it stick militarily, and financially, at war’s end. Why financially? Because once rock oil and kerosene exports skyrocketed from Lincoln repurposing the whaling fleet to blockading the Southern camphene from being exported, thus driving up the price and demand for kerosene, annual kerosene exports quickly reached around $400,000,000 during 1862, alone. Further, Lincoln had both California’s gold, and the Rockefeller Cleveland rock oil refiners associations oil exports to use to back his new green back currency that freed him from needing to borrow entirely at the mercy of the Rothschild’s and Morgans, and so there was nothing the Crown, or the Rothschild’s, or the Morgans, could do about Lincoln and his New World, American military colossus that everyone from Karl Marx, to Great Power generals had come to study, publicly scoff at, and and secretly worry like hell about. Lincoln also had a sizable Navy and could easily build one equivalent to the Crown of Great Britains in a year, or two at the outside. And he had too big of an Army for the Crown to invade and stop the building of the Navy. And by having taken Baltimore and Maryland, he had gained control of the B&O, so he had indirect control of all of the coal, iron, steel, and kerosene, that needed the B&O to distribute it. That meant that his own oligarchy could not necessarily make him heel. Further, by having authorized the hurried building of the transcontinental telegraph during 1862-63, and being in control of California (Fremont marginalized and broken financially and the Big Four made allies), especially San Francisco Bay, Lincoln had monopoly control of high speed, transcontinental communication, so he could easily out maneuver the Crown of Great Britain, or any other Great Power of Europe, at either end of the continent. Note also that Lincoln was so ambitious and far sighted that he further authorized the building of an overland telegraph from San Francisco to Russian America (shortly purchased as Seward’s Folly called Alaska), thence across the Bering Strait, and across Asia to Moscow. This enterprise collapsed well before completion after Lincoln’s assassination and with Great Britain finally succeeding in laying a transatlantic cable to North America. Imagine if Lincoln’s telegraph linking New York to Moscow had been completed. Imagine an American empire stretching New York to Moscow. But I digress.

    Finally, Lincoln’s combination of a vast land army, near absolute logistical/communication advantage, and a strong navy that could have been easily expanded into the largest Navy in the world, would have made it child’s play to go down and pick off Cuba and Puerto Rico, and eventually St. Kitts (what the British Admiralty called the Gibraltar of the Caribbean), and deny the Caribbean to the Great Powers of Europe, and build a central American canal within a few more years, obsoleting British trade routes around the southern tip of South America, and maybe even the nearly new Suez Canal passage. And Lincoln would have controlled via pure monopoly things like sugar, rum, grain shipping, and all the sea lanes related to such through the western hemisphere. Lincoln would have been in sole control of a toll booth in the Western hemisphere that he could have set any price on for tolls. Plus he would have controlled the world’s center for Naval Stores production in North Carolina.

    Plus he had been suggesting since well before and during the war, that it would be better in the long run if African Americans were sent back to Africa, rather than have America make what he thought would be a difficult, if not impossible attempt at living together. An ugly idea for sure. But what if too many persons have focused too much on the racist dimension of Lincoln’s attitudes (there seems little doubt he was a racist, despite moderating it with his constitutional principles), and not enough on his remarkable ambitions for constitutional, representative government. The epic scale of his plan to join New York and Moscow by telegraph, makes me suspect that his occasionally expressed wish for sending African Americans back to Africa may actually be better understood in terms of Lincoln believing resettlement an expedient path to colonizing Africa to extend the empire of republican government there. Lincoln increasingly appears to me to have viewed the Great Powers of Europe (monarchies and theocracies with their wealth deposited in a British central banking system) as the greatest threat to the American experiment in representative government. Colonizing Africa with representative governments would in conjunction with a New York to Moscow rail and telegraph empire of sorts have formed a belt of representative government around the entire planet.

    In short, Abraham Lincoln was in position to quickly become the most powerful man on the planet with a continental center point in global grand strategy under his nearly unchallengeable control, two oceans at his disposal, control of perhaps two thirds of the globe’s sea lanes and strong prospects for further expansion to Africa. What if it were imperative that such a man be assassinated and that the assassination be blamed on an elaborate, but set up band of Confederate conspirators set up to take the fall, so that the American nation (at least the winning Union portion of it) that had grown to trust Lincoln in war more than anyone else, did not EVER come to realize the almost unimaginable power that they–the duly constituted, sovereign American nation–at that moment, prior to the 1868 14th Amendment incorporation of USA, held in their then sovereign, voting hands. What if they could NEVER be allowed to know that a variety of domestic and foreign interests had interplayed in politics, banking, and great power relations, in pursuit to attain just such a phenomenal position of global geostrategic advantage and that an unintended consequence had delivered Abraham Lincoln, and the sovereign American nation of individuals with certain inalienable rights, to that pinnacle of power, instead of them?

    Ever since the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, then it appears possible that America had been caught up in the midst of an unrelenting, private oligarchic free for all attempting to cartelize control of the North American geostrategic center point from which awesome global power over global trade could be exerted. It has resulted in the most extensive global financial hegemony over global trade in the history of the world and easily the greatest bloodbath of slaughter and conquest in any 170 year stretch of the history of the world. And what if the private oligarchs were not done struggling for control and empire yet?

    This could explain the relentless thirst of American leadership for war for expansion of financial empire that persists to this day in a country that on paper at least constitutes itself as a republic based on principles of all men being created equal and sovereignty of the people, rather than sovereignty of the government. Most ordinary Americans believe in representative government with liberty and justice for all–not global financial hegemony for a 1 %, yet our government, especially the Deep State apparently embedded in it, largely appears to devote our government’s resources to maintaining and expanding the global financial hegemony of the 1%.

    Could it be?


    Rock Chalk!

  • @mayjay

    Look for the book on project guttenberg I think. It has several formats. .txt is one. There are others.

  • @jaybate-1-0 it looks like the text of Abott’s Frederick the Great book is available here:

  • @approxinfinity

    Thanks 4 the assist!

  • @jaybate-1.0

    I read every word you wrote and it is absolutely fascinating. Why is this book so well hidden? It certainly presents a different and plausible alternate narrative to the official version of events. I need to get a copy and read it, time permitting.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    First, I don’t want to mislead you,or others, into thinking this book by Abbott is a radical reinterpretation of the Civil War. It is not. But it certainly comes at it from an abolitionist perspective that differs from most mainstream historians.

    Second, as indicated above, and now reemphasized here, much of what I wrote above was triggered by Abbott’s brief discussion of Fremont and was not in Abbott’s book. Abbott’s remarks about Fremont enabled me a premise from which to bring together much other arcane reading I have done on the Civil War the last seven or so years that has focused on reading about many of the often overlooked aspects of the Civil War, such as the burgeoning rock oil kerosene exports, the repurposing of the whaling fleet, the ensuing decline of northern whale oil illuminant and southern camphene illuminant (an blend of alcohol and turpentine) exports, and Lincoln’s conspicuous high tax on camphene and conspicuous low tax on kerosene. I also have read what I could about the Baltimore and Ohio railroads, and about the transitional era in railroading that began with railroads being built to connect the old north east with the Great Lakes and that then lead to a huge boom in Great Lakes economic growth that lead to much dislocation in the northeast subsequently. Likewise, I have read some about plantations, plantation development, and plantation financing, as well as about the aspect of the New York banking industry that financed both the slave trade and the plantation development and yearly operations budgeting. Yet another area of reading has been the connection between West Point military academy and the railroad industry. West Point was before the Civil War kind of the Silicon Valley of American Railroading. It produced a large number of the engineers and surveyors that oversaw location and building and later operation of building of railroads. West Point and the US Army were also intricately involved in the study and thinking and strategizing about the grand plan of transcontinental railroading and its relationship to what we might call force structure today. It is not an exaggeration to say that the two largest influences on the building and operation of the United States rail network was the US Army and the Morgan banking interests. Army engineers surveyed the the most important right of ways. Army engineers rolled out and took jobs working in management of the railroads. And the US Army was indispensable to providing the military force structure needed to both build the railroads, and then secure them during operation for several decades during the 19th Century. The US Army understood from early in the 19th Century that trains reshaped the battle space and constituted crucial lines of communication for fighting wars. They also understood that once the telegraph became technologically feasible that the telegraph line was the most important leap in lines of communication in war and peace in human history and that railroads, even if they had done nothing else, were necessary to enable the Army to secure the telegraph lines themselves, so that trade and military action could be conducted with the advantage of faster communications than one’s opponent whenever possible. But I digress. Back to your question about where has this book by Abbott been? I will try to answer you question the following way, since I think it is a very good question.

    There is a saying that “the winners write history.”

    That saying oversimplifies things some.

    Winners are comprised of different subgroups.

    First, there is the subgroup that came out on top and orchestrated the victory and usually orchestrates the peace afterwards.

    Next, among the winners are the subgroups that helped win the war, or even catalyzed the war, but were maneuvered out of control, or were never in control, once the war started, and so after the victory find themselves marginalized increasingly. Abolitionists from the old northeast would fit this description during and after the Civil War.

    So: while it is true that the winners write the histories that get canonized and taught, the winners that get marginalized, often write histories, too. And because they are on the winning side, they can often get them published, because the lesser winners like to read about their accomplishments, early on, too. But these histories by those that helped win the war, but were not in control, are apparently not canonized and taught forever after.

    Note: losers also write histories, but they apparently often cannot get them published, unless what they write calculatedly portrays the losers as the “causers” of the war and quite outclassed by the winners. There are exceptions of course. Sometimes the winners have to immediately remobilize the loser to help the winner get the war torn country back producing again, and maybe even to take on another mutual enemy. In those cases, the losers histories are allowed to portray the losers in a more favorable, but not TOO favorable, light. Usually the loser gets its leaders to be portrayed as tactically brilliant, and it soldiers as heroic and courageous in their devotion to duty, and that it was the evil politicians of the losers that wasted the loser’s great generals and brave soldiers on a lost cause, or a misguided cause. Its probably mostly orchestrated by the winners how the history by the losers is written. It probably depends on the expedient needs of the winner, as the peace unfolds.

    Now back to the winners.

    My impression so far is that the author, Cabbott, was solidly apart of the northeastern abolitionist movement and wrote about the early stages of a war in progress from the POV of such an abolitionist.

    While the abolitionists were on the winning side, it at least appears to me that they ultimately may have been used by Lincoln and his core base of Great Lakes industrialists and Morgan banking interests to first trigger support for war, and later to broaden and deepen and perpetuate support of the war. Its also worth noting that the abolitionists and the northeastern wealth that funded the abolitionists do not appear in retrospect wholly altruistic in motivation, though at least the lepers with the most fingers. The northeastern wealth and ordinary workers were reputedly suffering significantly from their industries being eclipsed by the staggering population, rail, and industrial growth occurring further west along the Great Lakes. Whaling was in eclipse, too. Coal and iron production were moving from New York and New Jersey to western Pennsylvania and Ohio. The Northeastern wealth was thus caught between losing out to the dynamic industrial expansion on the Great Lakes, and to the massively expanding plantation economy being developed with New York loans in the South. Each year successful plantation owners, and would be plantation owners, went to New York to get the loans to buy still larger plots of land farther west (moving west from the old south on the seaboard to what historians now call the old southwest in Alabama and Mississippi, and then into the new Southwest of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona). Each year the newest plantations were being scaled up to achieve ever greater economies of scale and to hedge against soil exhaustion on the older smaller plantations farther east. The demand for slaves was rising. And the demand for rural rail road spurs to move cotton, camphene from turpentine plantations, and rice, to market, and slaves and supplies to the new plantations stimulated development of southern iron foundaries in Tennessee and Alabama, and a fledgling steam engine industry in Georgia. And the South’s Senators and the Great Lakes Senators reputedly sometimes allied to suppress economic activities in the northeast to benefit their own regions. And the rising millions of slaves in the south posed a looming industrial threat to the northeast and the Great Lakes industrialists, because sooner, or later, the South would begin to divert its slave labor into industrial production and thus become industrial competitors the North could not match without adopting slavery themselves; this point is something insufficiently explored in histories of slavery so far IMHO. This would have made the northerners as dependent on the New York City slave trade and related lending as the southerners had grown. New York City banks supplied the vast amounts of financing used by southern plantations, which were proto corporate industrial farming. Many of the New York City banks traced their roots to London’s banking entities. New York City, which started as a Dutch Colony, had by the time of the 1850s become a kind of British Hong Kong equivalent in North America. While Britain had lost USA as an incorporated colony on a map, it had regained her as a financial colony shaped and directed from its New York City bank lending.

    In this context of changing control and rapid bursts of regional growth in the continental interior creating both huge winners and considerable economic dislocation out in the older seaboard regions of the young country: the appeal in the old northeast of abolition, and the funding of abolitionist movements, had both a moral and an economic dimension. Abolition was consistent with the northeast’s dominant protestant religious values. But abolition also struck a blow at lessening the economic and political advantages slavery was accruing to the South, and the disadvantages accruing to the northeast. Put another way, the northeast was against slavery for the same reason England’s working classes were against slavery. They saw slavery as holding down wages, and long term threatening employment itself. Upper classes in the old northeast appear divided on slavery somewhat the same as Great Britain’s upper classes were. New Englanders had little trouble with the merchant marine fleet owners profiting from carrying slaves, so long as they offloaded and on loaded them in NYC, out of sight out of mind, rather than in ports of New England. So: if you were in shipping, you might look favorably on slavery, but perhaps not if you were in the whaling and fishing industries, or manufacturing. It was, as we say today, complicated.

    So: why has Cabbott’s book, which was published during the Civil War, at least in part, subsequently receded into the historical shadows (assuming that it has and we two are just not very well read in the field)?

    My guess is that it is partly that we are not sufficiently well read. I have a hunch many Civil War scholars would have heard, or read of, this book, whether they relied on it much, or not.

    But I suspect there is another part to the phenomenon, also.

    My guess is that it has receded into the shadows the same way a more than superficial understanding of abolitionists and those that funded them have receded into the shadows of American history. The group of winners that were in control at the end of the Civil War, and remained largely in control for the remainder of the 19th and 20th Centuries, appear, in retrospect, to have decided that their own histories and not the abolitionist histories were to be canonized.

    Further, I suspect there are probably more abolitionist histories of various aspects of the war that have fallen through the cracks and into the out of circulation stacks.

    A case can be made that the old republic largely ended with the Civil War and that either a newly incorporated republic in 1868, or a private industrial oligarchy of sorts with some less specific date of inception, replaced it. This new republic, or private oligarchy, seems to have had little in common with the abolitionists that attained such a high profile shortly before and during the Civil War. Only a few short years after Lincoln’s assassination, basically after Andrew Johnson’s impeachment, Lincoln’s little 'r" republican and abolitionist vision of reconstruction ended abruptly, and it was swiftly and cruelly replaced with Jim Crow feudalism aka as share cropping with persons terrorised and informally institutionalized into a politically disenfranchised, quasi-slavery called share-cropping. The plantation owner was freed from the cost of supplying food and housing and health care for the slave, the slave was nominally free but effectively not, and without the power to effectively bargain for his share, or alternatively to engage in businesses that could cater to those in the economy that had wealth and money to spend. And it was being insured as a new economic order by–drum roll please–British insurance companies, and enforced by groups like Knights of the Golden Circle and the KKK. And while this was happening, some former Confederate government officials and Generals that had escaped abroad and been allowed to live and find work in either England, or the British common wealth, began slowly trickling back into Dixie and positions of honor.

    The abolitionists did wield considerable power in the Senate for a time, but never really controlled the administration of the war effort , or the train building, or the iron and steel and oil production, once the war got under way with southern states seceding and Fort Sumpter getting occupied (thus enabling Lincoln to shell it and get the war on its way). The abolitionists could make politics complex and conflicted for the private industrial oligarchy, but they could not in the end every really be the ones driving the war machine and then the peace machine that likely dictated which histories got canonized.

    Hypothesized result: the abolitionist histories got marginalized and it was dumb luck that I stumbled into it a century and a half later, when Project Guttenberg mindlessly copied all the volumes in university and city libaries with expired copyrights that it could and listed them in ways that search engines could pick up when I was looking for other things. 🙂