Saturday, August 9, 2014

Chris DeRose

Chris DeRose is the author of The Presidents' War: Six American Presidents And The Civil War That Divided Them.

From his Q & A with Randy Dotinga at the Christian Science Monitor:

Q: The ex-presidents all have their own visions about how they'd have avoided the Civil War. What did they say they would have done?

They view the president as conciliator-in-chief, that the president's job is to hold things together, sit on the lid, make concessions for the Southern institutions. It was always about keeping the country together.

All of the ex-presidents supported a negotiated settlement with the South. Four out of the five supported adopting a compromise, although John Tyler really wanted something more like terms of surrender for the North.

Q: How did they contrast to Lincoln?

Lincoln saw his job to be true to the principles on which he was elected, to be honest to the Constitution come what may. He represented a complete transformation of the presidency from conciliator-in-chief to leader of the country.

Q: Of these five ex-presidents – James Buchanan, Martin Van Buren, John Tyler, Franklin Pierce, Millard Fillmore – who's the least supportive of the North?

John Tyler is the biggest a...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue