19th Century

Lincoln, the North, and the Question of Emancipation

What are Lincoln's arguments against slavery? What distinctions do Lincoln and other white Northerners draw between ending the institution of slavery, saving the Union, and achieving racial equality? What feelings and concerns do writers and artists—both white and African American—express about the consequences of emancipation?

Slavery, Civil War, and the “New Birth of Freedom”

What arguments did writers make before the Civil War for the abolition of slavery? How did they frame their appeals in moral, social, political, and economic terms? How did the war’s purpose shift from “saving the union” to destroying slavery? What would freedom mean for former slaves, for Southern society, and for the nation as a whole, according to various writers both before and after the war?