James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927). History of the Civil War, 1861–1865. 1917.

Page 438

        O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills.
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still.”
  25   Although exasperated by Lincoln’s assassination, the North was at the same time inspired by the grandeur of Grant’s conduct at Appomattox. Nobody was hanged for a political crime, 1 no land of the vanquished Confederates confiscated. Since the Americans’ “most noble closing of the Civil War,” wrote George Meredith, “I have looked to them as the hope of our civilization.” 2  26   The great man of the Civil War was Lincoln. Lacking him the North would have abandoned the contest. His love of country and abnegation of self made him a worthy leader. Other rulers of great power have remorselessly crushed those who stood in their way. He said, I am not in favor of crushing anybody out. Give every man a chance.  27   Lincoln is not as Mommsen wrote of Cæsar—the “entire and perfect man” who “worked and created as never any mortal did before or after him.” Verily Cæsar created Cæsarism for the modern world, the autocracy of the super-man. But which is the better policy to transmit to mankind, despotism or liberty? the better injunction, Submit yourselves unto Cæsar, or Give every man a chance? In intellect Cæsar and Lincoln are not to be compared. We speak of the mighty Cæsar, never of the mighty Lincoln. But nobody speaks of honest Julius, while Honest Old Abe will live through the ages.  28
Note 1. “It has been eloquently said that the grass soon grows over blood shed upon the battlefield but never over blood shed upon the scaffold.” Froude’s Elizabeth, IV, 368. [back]
Note 2. Lect., 193, n. 1; see V, passim. [back]