Friction and Abrasion: The Recruitment of Slaves in Maryland

Sicher, Peter, History - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Gallagher, Gary
Varon, Elizabeth

When the American Civil War began, the Lincoln administration tried to avoid antagonizing Border State slaveholders by taking a hands-off approach to the institution of slavery. In the summer of 1862, however, while campaigning for a program of gradual, compensated emancipation, President Lincoln warned Border State leaders that if they refused to compromise, they would be left with nothing, that the war would destroy slavery by “mere friction and abrasion." A careful examination of military records, newspapers, the personal papers of influential political figures, and the private musings of those who witnessed events on the ground, reveals that, in Maryland at least, Lincoln was correct. By depriving slaveholders of valuable labor, by exacerbating tensions between slaveholding and non-slaveholding whites, by arming and empowering African Americans, and by interposing the authority of the government between master and slave, the process by which the Union Army recruited slaves dealt the institution of slavery a crippling blow in Maryland.

MA (Master of Arts)
William Birney, slaves, politics,, United States history, military history, political history, Augustus Bradford, African American history, Border States, Maryland, black military service, warfare, American history, Baltimore City, politics, Baltimore, 1863, the United States Colored Troops, Edwin Stanton,, the Civil War, history, Abraham Lincoln, The American Civil War, slavery, Robert Schenck
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