2 thoughts on “Crossroads Greatest Hits: A Big Counterfactual

  1. Talmadge Walker June 16, 2015 / 11:09 am

    Jeff Davis is allowed to escape to Brazil, where he dies of yellow fever, so the Lost Cause folks are less one icon. Andrew Johnson just gets drunker, but no one worries about it so he’s incoherent for the rest of his VP term. 14th & 15th Amendments still pass, since without them the southern Democrats would have been in an even stronger position after the War & the end of the 3/5 clause. Lincoln uses the pardon power to reach out to southern Dems (as Johnson did), but he encourages them to work more closely with newly enfranchised southern blacks (as Johnson did not). Just my thoughts.

  2. Bert June 20, 2015 / 4:38 am

    I used to think that we’d live happily ever after, but now think it would have been far more complicated. Oh sure, Lincoln had so much political clout after winning the war that the first several years of Reconstruction may have gone better. However, the same reconciliation and economic forces that made Grant’s job so difficult would have worked against Lincoln too. I’m not sure how you’d stop the violence against and intimidation of the former slaves in the south without bringing back a good chunk of the Grand Army and occupying some areas of the south. I’m not sure the public support to do so would have been there, even for Lincoln.

    But one thing that would likely be better: No Johnson as VP if he ran for a third term. And if Lincoln pushed for Grant as VP, Grant may have just been the 17th president instead of the 18th.

    At the very least, it would have been interesting – I’m not sure the 19th century produced a wiser or more adaptable politician than Lincoln.

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