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Republican Platform, 1860
"We deny the authority of Congress...or of any individuals, to give legal existence to Slavery in any Territory of the United States."

Democratic Platform, 1860 (Breckinridge faction)

"State thus organized ought to be admitted into the Federal Union, whether its constitution prohibits or recognizes the institution of slavery."

Democratic Platform, 1860 (Douglas faction)

"...difference of opinion exists in the Democratic party...over the institution of slavery"

Crittenden Compromise by  John Crittenden

"Serious and alarming dissensions have arisen between the northern and southern states..."

Declaration of Causes of Seceding States - South Carolina

"The slaveholding States will no longer have the power of self-government, or self-protection, and the Federal Government will have become their enemy."

Secession Ordinances of 13 Confederate States.

"..absolved from all the obligations, restraints, and duties incurred to the said Federal Union, and shall from henceforth be a free, sovereign, and independent State."

Declaration of Causes of the Seceding States - Mississippi

"Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world."

Declaration of Causes of the Seceding States - Georgia

"To avoid these evils we resume the powers which our fathers delegated to the Government of the United States, and henceforth will seek new safeguards for our liberty, equality, security, and tranquility."

Battle Hymn of the Republic by  Julia Ward Howe

"His truth is marching on."

Declaration of Causes of Seceding States - Texas

"They have refused to vote appropriations for protecting Texas against ruthless savages, for the sole reason that she is a slave-holding State."

The Civil War Begins

"Terrible News!"

Letter from General Robert E. Lee to General Philip St. George Cocke by  Robert E. Lee

"Invasion of our soil will be considered as an act of war"

The Mood in Marietta, Ohio, at the Beginning of the Civil War by  Frederic Pearce

"The battle [is] opened"

Life in Camp After the First Battle of Bull Run by  James R. Kelly

"We had an alarm last night"

The Civil War as an Opportunity to Abolish Slavery and Destroy the Slave Power by  John Jay III

"We have an agency...for the abolition of slavery in the...war"

Reflections on the War's Causes by  David Hopkins

"The men who struck this blow at our government are playing for a bigger stake than the right to...extend slavery"

Lincoln's Role in the Formulation of Military Strategy by  Abraham Lincoln

"I propose to offer you a few suggestions"

Constitution of the Confederate States

"...in order to form a permanent federal government, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity..."

A Supporter of the Confederacy Reflects on the Emancipation Proclamation by  Mansfield Lovell

"Lincoln's Proclamation will produce dissensions and trouble at the North"

Racism and the Law

"satisfied that even in a doubtful case, we would be impelled to this decision on ground of public policy"

President Lincoln Approves the Execution of a Slave Trader by  Abraham Lincoln

"Nathaniel Gordon was indicted and convicted for being engaged in the Slave Trade"

Abraham Lincoln to Horace Greeley by  Abraham Lincoln

"I would like a bill to have...three main features"

Firsthand Account of the Battle of Shiloh Written by a Northern Soldier by  Edgar Pearce

"A great number...were killed on Sunday"

California Imposes a Tax on Chinese Laborers by  Ellen Greene

"shall be fined in a sum not exceeding one thousand dollars"

Confederate Reaction to "Beast" Butler by  General Pierre G.T. Beauregard

"Shall our mothers, our wives, our daughters and sisters, be...outraged by the ruffianly soldiers of the North"

Speech to the Senate and House of Representatives of the Confederate States by  Jefferson Davis

"Our country is involved in desolating war"

Native Americans and the Civil War by  John Ross

"The Cherokee People...desire...ample Military protection for life and property"

The Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation by  Abraham Lincoln

"All persons held as slaves...within any State in rebellion, shall be...free"

Abraham Lincoln Dismisses a Union Officer for Disloyalty by  Abraham Lincoln
(09/26/1862 to 09/27/1862)

"To the question 'Why was not the rebel army bagged'...you answer 'That is not the game'"

Wartime Separation of Spouses by  David V.M. Smith

"We have not been paid anything since I was at home"

The Civil War's Human Cost by  George C. Burling

"We left...numbering near 3600...To day we do not number more than 1200"

Morrill Land Grant Act

"An Act donating Public Lands to...provide Colleges for the Benefit of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts."

A First-Hand Description of the Battle of Gettysburg by  Josiah C. Fuller

"Worrying will do no good"

The Emancipation Proclamation by  Rufus Blanchard

"An incalculable element of strength to the Union cause"

A Northerner Reflects on the Significance of the Emancipation Proclamation by  Amos Lewis

"How is the Proclamation to be enforced?"

A Union Soldier Objects to the Emancipation Proclamation by  A soldier in the 12th Vermont Militia

"The Administration are generally damned by the soldiers"

Samuel P. Chase Proposes a National Banking System by  Samuel P. Chase

"I proposed a national Banking system"

Hardships on the Southern Home Front by  Daniel H. Hill

"We have the whole world against us"

The Flight of Slaveholders to Texas by  William Tecumseh Sherman

"They are all moving to Texas with their Negroes"

Resistance to Enlisting African Americans in the Union Army by  Joseph M. Maitland

"If I could not command a Co[mpany] of white men, I would not command any"

A Union Soldier Describes His Attitudes Toward Race by  Samuel Shenk

"I am sorry to hear that the Rebels are in Pennsylvania"

Flagging Confederate Morale by  Christian M. Epperly

"Our wickedness...has brought [us] to what we are"

A Union Soldier Describes the Attempt to Conquer Charleston, South Carolina by  Abram Bogart

"I am...in the midst of death in every form and shape"

Emancipation Proclamation by  Abraham Lincoln
(01/ 01/1863)

"...that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and henceforward shall be free."

Conflict with Native Americans During the Civil War by  George Bonga

"The whites...will not allow their Ind[ians] to roam in their midst much longer"

Plight of Wartime Refugees by  James E. Yeatman

"The condition of the Freed Negroes...is daily becoming worse"

Gettysburg Address by  Abraham Lincoln

“...government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

by  Benjamin F. Butler

"The recruitment of colored troops has become the settled purpose of the Government"

The Lawrence Massacre

"Rush on to the town!"

Four Documents on the Sand Creek Massacre
(1864 to 1865)

The Sand Creek Massacre by  Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War

"Men, women, and children were indiscriminately slaughtered"

Lincoln Experiments with Colonization by  Abraham Lincoln

"You are directed to have a transport...sent to the...colony established at...San Domingo"

Thirteenth Amendment Resolution by  Congress of the United States

"Neither slave nor involuntary servitude...shall exist"

The Confederacy Begins to Collapse from Within by  John McKinley Gibson

"Be prepared for the worst"

A Confederate Criticizes the Union Army of Occupation by  Tobias Gibson

"White children are to...mix in the same cabin with the Negro with the same Yankee Marm for the teacher!"

The Fate of Deserters by  Christian M. Epperly

"Sad and awful Execution[s] which [have] taken place"

The Breakdown of the Plantation System by  Tobias Gibson

"If the South gains its independency plenty of slaves can be got from Africa"

The Two Roads to Peace by  National Union Free Convention

"How shall we End the Rebellion...Coax it, or Crush it?"

A Union Lieutenant Reflects on General George McClellan's Presidential Campaign by  Andrew Knox

"I think a majority of the soldiers are for Lincoln"

Testimony of the Assistant Commissioner of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands by  Samuel Thomas

"To kill a Negro they do not deem murder..."

Newspaper Account of a Meeting between Black Religious Leaders and Union Military Authorities

"We looked upon Gen. Sherman... as a man in the Providence of God."

An Ardent Republican Expresses Her View of Vice President Andrew Johnson by  Mary Y. Prentiss

"All the senators are more anxious to have Mr. Lincoln live than...ever...before"

On to Richmond by  A.R. Lord

"The cry [is]...on to Richmond"

General Robert E. Lee Surrenders by  Robert E. Lee

"The Army...has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources"

The Assassination of President Lincoln by  J.B. Stonehouse

"The President is murdered"

A Northerner Responds to the Assassination of President Lincoln by  W. Henry Pearce

"The news...came...like a clap of thunder in a clear sky"

A Union Soldier Reacts to President Lincoln's Assassination

"It is a very hard blow for this nation to lose our President"

Conditions in the Postwar South by  Edwin H. McCaleb

"Our country is now in a disturbed condition"


"absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves"

Second Inaugural Address by  Abraham Lincoln

"With malice toward none, with charity for all...let us strive to...bind up the nation's wounds..."

Ex parte Milligan

"It is the birthright of every American citizen when charged with crime, to be tried and punished according to law."

Testimony Before Congress's Joint Committee on Reconstruction by  Rufus Saxon

"The word 'color' should be left out of all laws."

Great Sioux Uprising Of 1862 by  Big Eagle

"All these things made many Indians dislike the whites"