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.92 To Lincoln, the election answered the "grave question whether any government, not too strong for the liberties of its people, can be strong enough to maintain its own existence, in great emergencies."93Returned to office with a more secure electoral base, Lincoln pursued Reconstruction anew.As David Donald has observed, Lincoln and Congress had very different goals in mind.Lincoln wanted to use Reconstruction to end the fighting.He believed that quickly forming loyal governments in recaptured territory might encourage other Confederate states to rejoin the Union.Radical Republicans, by contrast, were concerned about a host of other issues, such as the continuing strength of the white elites and the economic and political rights of the black freedmen.94 Reconstruction involved the intersection of executive and legislative powers: The President had the authority as Commander-in-Chief to govern occupied enemy territory and the executive power to pardon rebels; Congress controlled the seating of members of Congress, the rules governing the territories, and the admission of states.Lincoln wanted a quick restoration of the Union; Congress wanted to remake Southern society first.95After his election, Lincoln threatened to veto any congressional effort to deny admission to Louisiana, which had been reconstructed according to his 10 percent plan.While congressional Republicans in 1864 had passed the Wade-Davis Bill, in 1865 they could not override Lincoln's approach.When he first came to the legislature, "this was a Government of law," Congressman Davis exclaimed."I have lived to see it a Government of personal will."96 Nevertheless, in a demonstration of the checks that Congress still possessed over executive war policy, Radical Republicans filibustered a Lincoln-supported proposal to admit Louisiana in the spring of 1865.Lincoln had recognized Congress's power in his December 1864 State of the Union message.Some Reconstruction questions, he admitted, "would be beyond the Executive power to adjust; as, for instance, the admission of members of Congress, and whatever might require the appropriation of money."97It was in this political setting that Lincoln delivered one of his greatest speeches, the Second Inaugural Address.He would not venture a prediction for the end of the war, but held "high hope for the future." Lincoln's main purpose was to argue not just for Reconstruction, but reconciliation.It is true, he said, that insurgents had sought to dismember the Union to preserve slavery, which the government could not permit."Both parties deprecated war; but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive; and the other would accept war rather than let it perish.And the war came."Lincoln avoided placing the blame on individuals or on states."Neither party expected for the war, the magnitude, or the duration, which it has already attained.Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with, or even before, the conflict itself should cease." Both sides were guilty of miscalculation."Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding." He emphasized their common heritage, too."Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invoked His aid against the other." While Lincoln remarked that owning slaves was not his idea of a good Christian -- "it may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces" -- even there he insisted, "let us judge not that we be not judged."98Lincoln was not interested in assigning responsibility for the amazing costs of the war.He referred to the war almost as an act of God: "All dreaded it -- all sought to avert it." He saw it as God's punishment of the nation as a whole for the sin of human slavery."He gives to both North and South, this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offence came." No one wanted the war to go on."Fondly do we hope -- fervently do we pray -- that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away." But it would be God, not man, who would decide how long the war must continue to atone for slavery [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]