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“I Never Was an Abolitionist”: Ulysses S. Grant and Slavery, 1854–1863

“I Never Was an Abolitionist”: Ulysses S. Grant and Slavery, 1854–1863 <p>Abstract:</p><p>Ulysses S. Grant’s views toward slavery before the Civil War have been a point of strong debate among historians. Few letters exist from Grant’s time as a farmer in St. Louis, Missouri (1854–59), leading most scholars to excessively rely on postwar reminisces and Grant’s own memoirs to argue that he consistently opposed slavery. This essay explores Grant’s relationship with slavery when he lived in St. Louis. It also questions conventional wisdom by arguing that Grant did not hold a lifelong aversion to slavery. Rather, his views evolved during his tenure as a U.S. general during the American Civil War. As the contingencies of a prolonged and bloody conflict pushed the Lincoln administration to support emancipation as a war measure to defeat the Confederacy, Grant realized that the end of slavery was necessary for Union victory and as an effective postwar reconstruction.</p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of the Civil War Era University of North Carolina Press

“I Never Was an Abolitionist”: Ulysses S. Grant and Slavery, 1854–1863

The Journal of the Civil War Era , Volume 9 (3) – Sep 3, 2019

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright @ The University of North Carolina Press
ISSN
2159-9807

Abstract

<p>Abstract:</p><p>Ulysses S. Grant’s views toward slavery before the Civil War have been a point of strong debate among historians. Few letters exist from Grant’s time as a farmer in St. Louis, Missouri (1854–59), leading most scholars to excessively rely on postwar reminisces and Grant’s own memoirs to argue that he consistently opposed slavery. This essay explores Grant’s relationship with slavery when he lived in St. Louis. It also questions conventional wisdom by arguing that Grant did not hold a lifelong aversion to slavery. Rather, his views evolved during his tenure as a U.S. general during the American Civil War. As the contingencies of a prolonged and bloody conflict pushed the Lincoln administration to support emancipation as a war measure to defeat the Confederacy, Grant realized that the end of slavery was necessary for Union victory and as an effective postwar reconstruction.</p>

Journal

The Journal of the Civil War EraUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Sep 3, 2019

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