Excerpt from Chapter Three – “A Patriot’s Legacy: Citizen Soldier”

Published July 14, 2018

Early 1861, the National Scene

The Republican presidential victory is unacceptable to firebrands
in Southern state legislatures. They have made it clear they will
not tolerate any interference with their lifestyle and are convinced
the Republicans, with Lincoln as president, will ultimately undermine
their institution of slavery. South Carolina is the first to rebel,
voting to secede from the Union five days before Christmas. Like
falling dominoes, six other Southern states take the same radical
course, and in February 1861, these seven states formally create the
Confederate States of America. Former secretary of war Jefferson
Davis of Mississippi is elected its president. This all occurs before
Lincoln departs from his home in Springfield, Illinois, and arrives
in Washington. No president-elect has ever faced problems so challenging—
the nation literally falling apart before his eyes.

Standing under the uncompleted dome of the US Capitol Building
on March 4, 1861, the structure itself seeming to symbolize a nation in
disarray, the newly inaugurated president addresses the nation. Lincoln
focuses his remarks to the people of the South. He states his resolve to
protect federal interests in all states, North or South. He argues that the
Union is not dissolvable and that secession from it is not an option. He
makes clear his resolve to use whatever means necessary to preserve the
Union—that the central government will not be the first to use force, but
if attacked, it will respond to quell any rebellion.