Prof. Allen Guelzo examines Civil War's start for New York Post

Abe Lincoln got a cruel surprise the day after he was inaugurated, Prof. Allen Guelzo wrote in April 12's New York Post.

Additionally Guelzo was published in the Smithsonian magazine and The Root on similar topics.

From the New York Post:

Surprises can be cruel things. One of the cruelest landed on the desk of Abraham Lincoln the day after he was inaugurated as the 16th president of the United States.

From December 1860 to February 1861, seven Southern states -- South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas -- had, one by one, renounced their allegiance to the United States and seceded from the Union in order to form a new republic, the Confederate States of America. They saw Lincoln's election the previous November as a dagger pointed at their most important economic institution, slavery, and they were getting loose from the federal government's embrace while they still could.

If they could. In his inaugural address, Lincoln warned that the Constitution gave no authority to the states to secede on their own hook any more than a business partnership could be single-handedly dissolved by one of the partners.

AND what threat, Lincoln asked, was driving the slave states to secession? True, he was the first president to publicly oppose slavery. But the same Constitution that prevented them from tearing up the Union also prevented him from meddling with the Southern states' slavery laws. The only threat Lincoln could make as president was the promise that he would recognize the creation of no new slave states in the western territories.

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