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Class Year

2016

Abstract

A popular narrative of the Civil War assumes that all Northern states stood united behind President Abraham Lincoln in their loyalty to the Union. However, the case of New Jersey suggests that this narrative of devotion is simply a myth. The agrarian economy of New Jersey kept the state firmly opposed to universal emancipation, and New Jersey behaved more like a border state than its geographic neighbors of Pennsylvania and New York. By examining New Jersey's response to the release of the Emancipation Proclamation and the Election of 1864, the myth of Northern unity is broken by understanding persistent state-level economic factors.

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