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

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  When Lincoln was inaugurated President on March 4, he confronted a difficult situation. Elected by a Union of thirty-three States, he had lost, before performing an official act, the allegiance of seven. Believing “that no State can in any way lawfully get out of the Union without the consent of the others and that it is the duty of the President … to run the machine as it is,” 1 he had to determine on a line of policy toward the States that had constituted themselves the Southern Confederacy. But any such policy was certain to be complicated by the desirability of retaining in the Union the border slave States of Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri, as well as North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas, whose affiliations were close with the four border States. All seven were drawn towards the North by their affection for the Union and towards the South by the community of interest in the social system of slavery. One of Lincoln’s problems then was to make the love for the Union outweigh the sympathy with the slaveholding States that had seceded.  4  It is difficult to see how he could have bettered the policy to which he gave the keynote in his inaugural address. “I hold,” he said, “that the union of these States is perpetual.… Physically speaking we cannot separate.… The power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy and possess the property and places belonging to the Government.” This last declaration, though inevitable for a President in his position, outweighed all his words of conciliation and rendered of no avail his closing pathetic appeal to his “dissatisfied fellow countrymen” not to bring civil war on the country. 2  5  During the progress of the secession, the forts, arsenals, custom-houses and other property of the Federal government
Note 1. Lincoln, C. W. I., 660. [back]
Note 2. III, 318. [back]