Throughout the 1860 election, the Wide Awakes, a novel paramilitary-style organization, held mass rallies, marches, and demonstrations to combat slave power. These “young working-men for Lincoln” successfully combined new media and unrepentant partisanship to mobilize hundreds of thousands against the Southern planter class.
Matthew E. Stanley teaches in the department of history and political science at Albany State University.
Ron Chernow’s new biography rehabilitates the great Civil War general and champion of Reconstruction. But it glosses over the central issues of labor and property that would stifle black equality for a century.