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Indeed, after 1862 never again did he mention colonization in public. For one who had professed to be a believer, he discarded the idea with almost indecent haste. Thus he left an even deeper mark on the nation than heretofore noted. ” And as the preeminent African-American histo- Did He Dream of a Lily-White America? 15 rian Benjamin Quarles has concluded, the one man “most responsible” for this was the Civil War president, for he helped give black people “the feeling that they could make their way in America, that this country was ready to take its first big steps.

When the government brought back from the isle off Did He Dream of a Lily-White America? 17 Haiti the survivors of its token colony, nearly all the men signed up to be soldiers in blue. But harm, too, stemmed from Lincoln’s delusion, however inescapably, the curtailed ability to confront realistically (in the president’s case until the very last years of his life, if fully then) the problems for blacks in post-emancipation America. Whatever the price the nation had to pay, it probably included little fanning of hatred.

African Americans came in large numbers. 39 In April of 1865 the first Union troops to march into Richmond, the ruined, burning capital of the Confederacy, were African Americans. “Double quick, march,” ordered the Colonel of the 29th Connecticut, and the men “charged through the main street to the capitol and halted in the square. . ” A day later Lincoln came, too, holding the future and his twelve-year-old son Tad by the hand. Like the troops before, the president was greeted by a joyous crowd of black people.

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Antietam 1862


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