Cover image for Abraham Lincoln and a new birth of freedom : the Union and slavery in the diplomacy of the Civil War
Abraham Lincoln and a new birth of freedom : the Union and slavery in the diplomacy of the Civil War
Jones, Howard, 1940-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Lincoln : University of Nebraska Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xii, 236 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Reading Level:
1490 Lexile.
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E469 .J56 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



In Abraham Lincoln and a New Birth of Freedom , Howard Jones explores the relationship between President Lincoln's wartime diplomacy and his interrelated goals of forming a more perfect Union and abolishing slavery. From the outset of the Civil War, Lincoln's central purpose was to save the Union by defeating the South on the battlefield. No less important was his need to prevent a European intervention that would have facilitated the South's move for independence. Lincoln's goal of preserving the Union, however, soon evolved into an effort to form a more perfect Union, one that rested on the natural rights principles of the Declaration of Independence and thus necessitated emancipation.

Author Notes

Howard Jones is University Research Professor in the Department of History at the University of Alabama

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In the early years of the Civil War, Lincoln endured constant frustration as he searched for a commander to execute a winning strategy. At the same time, he engaged in a complicated and precarious diplomatic struggle to prevent foreign intervention. In particular, the threat of British or French formal recognition of Confederate independence would have dealt a hammer blow to Lincoln's preeminent goal of preserving the Union. A key factor in this struggle was the issue of slavery, since antislavery sentiment in both Britain and France was a counterweight against sympathy for the Confederacy. Jones is chair of the department of history at the University of Alabama and has written extensively on American slavery and the abolition movement. In this engrossing study, he examines Lincoln's attitudes toward slavery and his gradual realization that the war must be fought for a "new birth of freedom," not merely for the preservation of the old political structure. This is a fine achievement of historical scholarship. --Jay Freeman

Library Journal Review

Jones, history chair at the University of Alabama and author of Mutiny on the Amistad, here examines some of the most significant and intriguing topics in Civil War historiography: Lincoln, emancipation, and diplomacy. His focus is on Lincoln's attitude toward slavery and the Constitution and his efforts to prevent European intervention into the American Civil War. Facing head on the charge that Lincoln was lukewarm on the slavery issue, he argues that the President moved as quickly as public opinion would allow to abolish the institution and make the nation more democratic, hoping his actions might discourage outsiders from supporting the Confederacy. Though Lincoln-centered literature already abounds, this concise and focused study updates older works such as Jay Monaghan's A Diplomat in Carpet Slippers and is shorter and more focused than Jones's Union in Peril: The Crisis in British Intervention in the Civil War (LJ 11/1/92). A tremendously readable study that promises to become a classic; highly recommended for academic and larger public libraries.√ĄTheresa McDevitt, Univ. of Pennsylvania, Indiana (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

In this informative, important study, Jones (Univ. of Alabama) builds on a foundation laid in his Union in Peril (CH, Mar'93) to expand dramatically the interpretation of Civil War diplomacy beyond a simplistic antislavery versus King Cotton with the addition of the quixotic, imperial visions of Napoleon III. According to Jones, other major factors prompting the French regime and many British leaders to weigh intervention in the US Civil War were a pervasive belief (until July 1863) that the Union could not prevail and a simple humanitarian revulsion over the dreadful carnage, similar to motivation for recent interventions in Bosnia, Kosovo, and now East Timor. The Lincoln portrayed in this book is much more progressive than the old consensus, the persuasive recent writings of such scholars as Brooks D. Simpson and Herman Belz, and a preponderance of fact would suggest. Like many 1990s scholars, Jones shows Lincoln as an ardent emancipationist eager to slip the restraints of Northern and border-state public opinion, not a man held back by constitutional imperatives and popular whim. Jones's evidence is selective but not wholly unpersuasive. All in all, a valuable study of great importance to Lincoln and Civil War scholarship. General readers; upper-division undergraduates and above. R. A. Fischer; University of Minnesota--Duluth

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. x
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Prologue: To Preserve the Unionp. 1
1. Lincoln on Slavery: A Constitutional Right and a Moral Wrongp. 19
2. Lincoln, Slavery, and Perpetual Unionp. 34
3. Southern Slavery, Northern Freedom: The Central Dilemma of the Republicp. 56
4. Emancipation by the Sword? Race War and Antietam as Catalysts to Interventionp. 83
5. "Days of Grace": Emancipation the Prelude to Foreign Intervention?p. 110
6. Autumn of Discontent: The Crisis over Interventionp. 128
7. The Emancipation Proclamation: An Act of Justice, Warranted by ... Military Necessityp. 146
8. The Final Impact of Slavery on Intervention: Napoleon's Grand Design for the Americasp. 163
Epilogue: To Create a More Perfect Unionp. 187
Notesp. 193
Bibliographical Essayp. 223
Indexp. 225