Article Series

Series: Born of Earnest Struggle

When the Civil War began in 1861, President Abraham Lincoln's primary concern was saving the Union and preventing the fracturing of the nation. After the failure of the Peninsula Campaign in the summer of 1862, Union morale was low. The northern economy was shaky, optimism for victory had faded, and Lincoln's Cabinet feared growing Confederate strength would encourage foreign intervention. Lincoln began to see freeing the slaves, not as a constitutional dilemma or a moral choice, but as a way of

  • Chapter 1: The Changes Were Starting

    Photograph of Horace Greeley

    President Abraham Lincoln, sworn to uphold the Constitution which guaranteed slavery, carried out the war for the expressed purpose of saving the Union and preventing the fracturing of the nation. The issue of abolishing slavery was not something he readily embraced. Read more

  • Chapter 2: It Has To Start Somewhere

    Photograph of President Lincoln

    The emancipation of slaves in the United States was not an overnight decision, but a decision that needed to be structured in order to help win the war for the Union. Read more

  • Chapter 3: Keeping It Together

    Print of African-Americans fleeing slavery in Maryland

    Lincoln's primary goal as President was to save the Union. He viewed the secession of states as unconstitutional and a terrible end to the experiment of American democracy. Critical to his war strategy and his success as President was preventing more states from seceding. Also with actions of men like John Brown, how was Lincoln going to keep the Union together? Read more

  • Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park

    Chapter 4: A Chance at Freedom

    Photograph of Henry Williams and Andrew Jenkins with a canal boat.

    The chance at freedom was on the minds of all enslaved people in the United States during the Civil War. Through efforts of Harriet Tubman, and others like her, those enslaved could escape to free lands. Also the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal was a route out of slavery and into freedom. Read more

  • Antietam National Battlefield

    Chapter 5: The Legacy of the Maryland Campaign

    Photograph of the US Colored Infantry

    The Maryland Campaign had a major impact on the release of the Emancipation Declaration and how many of those newly freed men enlisted to save the Union. Read more