Streams

Meddling Ex-Presidents during the Civil War

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The flag from Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired on April 12, 1861. The flag from Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired on April 12, 1861. (Department of Interior, National Park Service Historic Photograph Collection, Harpers Ferry Center)

When Abraham Lincoln became president in 1861, five former presidents were still alive. Chris DeRose tells how this ex-Presidents’ Club maneuvered, plotted, advised, and aided during the Civil War. DeRose’s book The Presidents’ War: Six American Presidents and The Civil War That Divided Them explores the stories of the ex-presidents who remained active, influential, and occasionally treacherous as the Union sought to save itself. 

 

Presidents' War by Chris DeRose
Presidents' War by Chris DeRose

 

Guests:

Chris DeRose

Comments [2]

Soldier's Father from Westchester

Several times (e.g., entering West Point, graduating and being commissioned, each time he was promoted) Robert E. Lee took a solemn oath to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, from all enemies, foreign and domestic". Despite these commitments of honor, he decided his loyalty to Virginia outweighed his loyalty and duty to the United States. Why is he lionized as an honorable man?

Aug. 13 2014 12:58 PM
Larry from Williamsburg

Threats of succession were nothing new... New England had threatened to secede over western state issues as did the "western" states of Kentucky and Tennessee over access to the Mississippi.

Aug. 13 2014 12:46 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.