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Lincoln and the Border States: Preserving the Union Hardcover – September 21, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 430 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas (September 21, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 070061804X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700618040
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,029,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"After reading Harris's account, it is impossible not to sympathize with Lincoln's comment that the turmoil in Missouri had 'tormented' him 'beyond endurance.' Harris distinguishes his work with sound judgment, thorough research, and a readable style. Though he finds fault with Lincoln's course of action in some instances--after rioting in Baltimore, for example, Harris asserts the new president was not careful enough to distinguish states' rights supporters from secessionists--all in all Harris regards Lincoln's border state policies as impressively successful. It is hard to disagree."

--Indiana Magazine of History

From the Back Cover

"In this important new study, Harris examines Lincoln's sometimes rocky relations with the border states and shows with great precision how Lincoln managed to keep the border states mostly on his side and get slavery abolished therein as well."--James M. McPherson, author of Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief

"A masterful work that probes one of Lincoln's most persistent and intractable dilemmas."--Daniel E. Sutherland, author of A Savage Conflict: The Decisive Role of Guerrillas in the American Civil War

"A definitive study that adds a new level of understanding to a neglected but crucial Civil War subject."--Harold Holzer, Chairman, Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Gderf on January 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This well researched and detailed history shows Lincoln skillfully navigating a policy that he deemed necessary to placate many factions from abolitionists to slave owners. Harris cites historian Wm Gienapp in saying that historians lost interest after reconstruction. Politics and social conditions are well covered as well as the progress of the war and terrorism and martial law. There's not so much on economic conditions as with the cotton trade in the border states.

The actions and attitudes of Breckenridge, Crittenden, the Blairs, Reverdy Johnson, and many other lesser lights in politics are covered. The book does a good job of showing the succession of governors, civil and military, in control of affairs in Missouri, Maryland and Kentucky. Delaware is deliberately under written relative to the other three. Since the book is not exactly in chronological order it is sometimes difficult to trace who is in control at each episode. One important aspect was the violence involving raiders like Quantrill and the vigilante Jayhawkers. There are interesting insights into border states involvement in the election of 1864. Harris examines legislative actions in defense of property, land and slaves including martial law as well as local conflicts between Claybanks (Unionists) and secession sympathizers. The book depicts border state attitudes and conflicts towards Confiscation bills and the preliminary EP, towards towards enrollment of blacks in the military and lawlessness in Mo after the war as characterized by the James brothers. The succession of military governors including Fremont, Halleck, Schofield and Rosecrans is very interesting. The single map is inadequate to follow the action.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bernard Lavallee on March 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book explores in detail the machinations and personalities that made the border states so important to the Lincoln administration. With skillful timing Lincoln manages to keep all the border states out of the confederacy despite the endless twist and turns of the various players in each of the states. A great read for Civil War fans.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J M Palmer on June 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Although the subject matter and the conclusion are apt, the author's approach is weaker than I had expected. Much of that is mechanical--weak grammar and syntax, factual errors, typos, and the other things that more careful editing and attention from the author would have prevented. Fuller explanation of events was needed at key points--for instance, the MO state convention. (Did a convention that prevented secession in 1861 continue to meet throughout the war?) That there is no conclusion or epilogue is unfortunate--for example, develop the notion that KY joined the confederacy at the end of the war. And there are some gaffes. The story of John M Palmer and his tenure as Dept of KY commander in 1865 is weakly told. Why did he leave the state under state indictment for violation of their slavery laws. Why is Abraham Lincoln not included in the index?
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