Chapter

Preserving the Republic While Defeating the Slave Power, 1848–1865

Andrew L. Slap

in The Doom of Reconstruction

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print February 2007 | ISBN: 9780823227099
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823234998 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fso/9780823227099.003.0003

Series: Reconstructing America

Preserving the Republic While Defeating             the Slave Power, 1848–1865

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This chapter discusses the liberal republicans' efforts from 1848 to 1865 to defeat slavery while preserving the republic. Liberal republicans were antislavery partly because they felt the institution was immoral, but largely because they saw it as a threat to republican government. As early as the 1840s, they stressed the danger that the “Slave Power” posed to republican institutions. They wished to pursue the war vigorously to end slavery, yet their belief that republican government would also be threatened by corruption and a strong central government made them reluctant to support the Republican Party's economic policies and war measures. This left them with a serious dilemma; while they ultimately gave their reluctant support to policies that increased the power of the federal government, they remained ambivalent about the war measures, unsure whether they would threaten the republic or save it.

Keywords: Slave Power; republican government; Republican Party; Civil War; corruption

Chapter.  10404 words. 

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