The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History has put up several rather concise series of commentaries from various historians addressing topics in American history. Here, Allen Guelzo of Gettysburg College explores how Abraham Lincoln viewed slavery, the justification for the Emancipation Proclamation, and how people then and later found fault with the Emancipation Proclamation.
Historians who try to explain Union victory and Confederate defeat during the Civil War approach that question by asking several questions (or at least implicitly offering their answers). The first question is whether Union victory and Confederate defeat were, in fact, inevitable. Was there any way for the Confederacy to win, or was it a lost cause from the beginning?