Historical Controversies

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We Must Have Kentucky

Introduction to the Civil War

Tags U.S. HistoryWar and Foreign Policy

10/03/2018Chris Calton

Season 3, Episode 25. Lincoln believed that Kentucky, one of the four remaining slave states, was crucial to the Union war effort. Although the state was more thoroughly Unionist than other border states, such as Missouri and Maryland, the administration did not want to take any chances, sending the state’s loyalists thousands of guns and carrying out a policy of political arrests to ensure that Kentucky could not be taken over by secessionists. This episode concludes our look at the border states and the Union effort to prevent their secession.

Chris Calton recounts the controversial history of the Civil War. This is the 25th episode in the third season of Historical Controversies. You may support this podcast financially at Mises.org/SupportHC.

Point of clarification: Although I didn't technically get this wrong, I believe my wording may have been unintentionally misleading. In a paragraph that is largely about the Northern presence in Kentucky, I say "General Leonidas Polk was occupying two towns in western Kentucky by September 3rd." This is correct, but I did not clarify for those who may not have been aware that Polk was a Confederate General, and that this occupation was a Confederate violation of Kentucky’s neutrality, which was justified by Polk on the grounds that the Union violated Kentucky’s neutrality first. In reviewing the context of my statement, I realize that listeners may likely interpret Polk as a Union officer.

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Chris Calton

Chris Calton is an economic historian and a former Mises Research Fellow. He was the writer and host of the Historical Controversies podcast.

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