Post-secession Congress extremely influential

according to James McPherson’s Battle Cry of Freedom, and led to the following actions:

… Republicans easily overcame feeble Democratic and border-state opposition to pass a homestead act. …

a bill to grant public lands to the states for the promotion of higher education in “agriculture and the mechanic arts.” … The success of the land-grant institutions was attested by the later development of first-class institutions in many states and world-famous universities at Ithaca, Urbana, Madison, Minneapolis, and Berkeley.

-… transcontinental railroadFreed of the southern incubus, Yankee legislators highballed forward 

this Congress drafted “the blueprint for modern America.”

All actions apparently resisted by the plantation aristocratic South.

The author of Retirement Blues suggests(

In some of my more cynical moments, I think that, when the south seceded from the Union, President Lincoln should have just said, “The hell with them.  Let ’em go.  Who needs them, anyway?

This would have been (and I am deadly serious) very good for the rest of us, but really, really bad for the south.  (If you think I need to elaborate, you need to give this some serious thought.  Hints: beneficiaries of federal programs (like TVA and rural electrification), net gains from federal taxation, locations of military bases, whatever social progress Selma, Alabama has reluctantly been dragged into.)

There is merit to the point of view that the South has benefited enormously from being returned to the Union at gunpoint.


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