Books NF Lincoln, Antietam and a Northern Lost Cause


Lieutenant General
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Apr 1, 1999
Martinsburg, WV

Lincoln, Antietam and a Northern Lost Cause:
What If a Union Victory Did Not End Slavery?

by Gene Schmiel - @geneofva

Published March 28, 2019
Belatedly Launched on CWT on 8/22/2019

The nation's preeminent Civil War Scholar, Professor James McPherson, has read this book and called it "fascinating" We hope you will join him and find out why he also said he enjoyed reading it. Here is what it is all about: What if, even after the Union had won the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation, slavery had remained legal in the United States?

In this thought-provoking speculative history, written in a "you are there" style using the words of the participants themselves, award-winning Civil War historian Gene Schmiel shows exactly how that ironic and tragic series of events could have happened. He describes how one changed decision at the Battle of Antietam, September 17, 1862, could have created a "Civil War butterfly effect" and irrevocably changed American history.

Most people don't know that Lincoln saw the Emancipation Proclamation as giving the Confederate states one more chance to re-join the Union, whether or not they abolished slavery. This book will explain how, as a result, slavery might not have ended despite a Union victory. Lincoln hoped that slavery would cease eventually, but at the time he thought that ending the war and re-uniting the nation were sufficient achievements. Schmiel explains also how this series of events might have split the ranks of both the Union and Confederate governments on these issues.

To some in the North, the failure to abolish slavery would have become "the Northern lost cause" noted in the title. Abolitionists and black leaders would be bitter that despite the bloodshed, victory had not brought the cherished goal of destroying slavery. Would that then have started an entirely new debate about the future of slavery in a country no longer divided? That too is among the thought-provoking questions arising from this book.

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Andy Cardinal

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Feb 27, 2017
It was a good read for sure. Made me think of it all in a new and different way. Still have to write that Amazon review i promised!