I happened across another interesting Abraham Lincoln blog, this time created by a Lincoln historian from Anderson University. In an interesting post, the blog author asks what a Lincoln presidency would have looked like absent the Civil War:
"Remove the Civil War from the equation of Lincoln's time as president, and it seems to me that his primary political reality would have been this: he was the leader of a new, fragile political party. I think that shoring up the Republican political foundation would have been a top priority of a peacetime Lincoln presidency."
I can't disagree with that. Lincoln would have been seriously challenged in terms of party unity had he not had the Civil War as a unifying principle. Absent that, the abolitionist wing and conservative wing may well have torn the party in two.
"Peacetime Abe would have confronted two stark and difficult realities that were not so readily apparent during the war. First, the fact of the Republican Party's geographic isolation: not just its total lack of presence in the South, but also the fact that the Republicans got shut out of the Border States, as well. This would have seemed a dire political reality to both Lincoln and other party leaders during his first term; they surely would have thought that they could not count on a four-way split of the American electorate again in 1864, as in 1860....Second, the party's fissure between radicals and conservatives would have been quite pronounced, and required a good deal of smoothing over by Lincoln and other party leaders. The war did this for Lincoln, in many ways. In the real world, from 1861 to 1865 the two wings of the Republican Party could at least agree on one thing: the need to defeat the Confederacy. But after the war the divisions in the party became very apparent. Something like this Reconstruction process would have confronted Peacetime Abe. Take all this together, and I think Peacetime Abe as party leader would likely have steered his presidency in a fairly conservative direction....All presidents steer towards the political center once they enter office. Peacetime Abe would have done so, but the need would have possibly been even more pronounced. And this would have had a decided impact on his policymaking."
An interesting thesis from the A. Lincoln blog and one I'd tend to agree with. However, I wouldn't agree that all presidents steer toward the political center once they enter office. There are plenty of examples to discredit that thesis (Bush 43, LBJ, FDR just to name a few).
I have listed the blog in the blogroll. Enjoy.