@Book{ oakes2013,
	author = {James Oakes},
	title = {Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States, 1861--1865},
	address = {New York},
	publisher = {W. W. Norton},
	year = 2013,}

Oakes depicts Republicans and abolitionists as part of the same overarching movement: “No doubt there were differences between antislavery radicals and moderates, but they were differences of style more than substance, of strategy more than goals, differences within the ‘great movement’ against slavery” (xxi).


Republicans never forgot that the fundamental conflict of mid-nineteenth-century America was not the squabbling between moderates and radicals within the antislavery movement, but the life and death struggle between those who hated slavery and were prepared to risk war rather than extend its life, and those who defended slavery and were willing to go to war to preserve it" (xxii).

Oakes also says that Republican policies on slavery, which amounted either to peaceful federal containment of slavery or violent emancipation, were “inherited from the antislavery movement” (82).

On p. 318, mentions refugeeing of slaves in LA as evidence that “everyone knew that runaway slaves and Union armies formed a nearly irresistible magnetic attraction.”

Border States

The First Confiscation Act and August 8, 1861 War Department instructions initiated a policy of military emancipation of enslaved people who came voluntarily behind Union lines in the seceded states, but left unclear what would happen in the Border States, where Republicans had always assumed that peacetime efforts to contain slavery would result in the earliest cases of state-by-state abolition. “But what about the Border States where secessionists failed? Could slaves who ran to Union lines in Maryland be retained as ‘contraband of war’? Did the First Confiscation Act apply to Kentucky?” (146) Oakes argues that the questions were complicated by the fact that Republicans wanted not only to keep border slave states in the Union but also to pressure lawmakers there to abolish slavery.

p. 148: “Having declared its neutrality at the outset, Kentucky had neither Union nor Confederate troops within its borders for the first five months of the war. But an ill-starred Confederate invasion in September led to a series of battles that ended in the expulsion of Confederate forces from Kentucky in early 1862.”

p. 160ff: Potential effects of Fremont’s order on secessionists in Kentucky. Lincoln is advised by Joshua Speed on September 1 that the order would hurt Lincoln in Kentucky. Two days later, Confederates invaded Kentucky. Oakes says 35,000 Kentuckians joined secessionists; 70,000 fought for the Union, though the state legislature was careful during the first five months of the war to maintain neutrality, and Union commanders were careful to avoid unnecessary provocations. But “by late August the signs were everywhere that the state’s neutrality was untenable. Union forces were converging on Cairo, Illinois, in preparation for an assault on Columbus, Kentucky. In Tennessee a large Confederate army was amassing for the same purpose. Kentucky was about to be invaded, and everybody knew it” (161). See p. 162 for the warnings being sent to Lincoln about the threats of Kentucky being lost after Fremont’s order, followed by his famous September 22 letter about fears of losing Kentucky.

p. 163 - “As it turned out, there was less cause for alarm than Lincoln feared.”

p. 388 - “An astonishing 57 percent (23,703) of Kentucky’s eligible black men served in the Union army, compared with a mere 8 percent (5,462) of blacks from South Carolina who were eligible for military service.”1

  1. An example cited by Oakes is Peter Bruner.