“That this war will result fatally to slavery I have no doubt. This assurance is to me one of the brightest promises of the future. But I am equally clear that a declaration of emancipation by the administration would be a most fatal mistake. The logic of argument wielded with the varied power of all the minds that have labored on this theme has not brought the people of the North even, up to the necessity. Nothing but the terrible logic of events will do it…Let the war be conducted for the Union till the whole nation shall be enthused, inspired, transfigured with the glory of that high purpose. Let all of the deeds of valor add their glory to that purpose, all the blood of noble men that die in the fight hallow it, all the love of the people for the fallen ones sanctify and exalt it, till the integrity, indivisibility, and glory of that Union shall gather round itself all the hero-worship, pride and power of the nation, and then, perhaps not till then, they will love the Union more than slavery and slay the python…” — James A. Garfield, February 1862, Camp Buell, Kentucky
“Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide:
In the strife of Truth with Falsehood, for the good or evil side;
Some great cause, God’s new Messiah, offering each the bloom or blight,
Parts the goats upon the left hand and the sheep upon the right,
And the choice goes by forever ‘twixt that darkness and that light.
Hast thou chosen, O my people, on whose party thou shalt stand,
Ere the Doom from its worn sandals shakes the dust against our land?
Though the cause of Evil prosper, yet ’tis Truth alone is strong,
And, albeit she wander outcast now, I see around her throng
Troops of beautiful, tall angels, to enshield her from all wrong.”
— James Russell Lowell, The Present Crisis (1844)
“If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through his appointed time, he now wills to remove, and that he gives to North and South this terrible war, as the woe that is due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to him?…Yet, if God wills that it [the war] continue until all the wealth piled by the bondman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn by the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said, ‘The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.'” — Abraham Lincoln, March 4, 1865, 2nd Inaugural Address, Washington, D.C.