Towards a new Civil War history (cont.)

To continue this list but with a list of underdeveloped ideas of my own leavened with attributions where needed:

(51) Abraham Lincoln adapted the Mexican War playbook of James Polk:

(51a) Create a USV force structure at the service of party-building and patronage

(51b) Appoint a general-in-chief to direct field forces, one answerable to the president (neutralize seniority)

(51c) Insert own party generals under other party's generals

(51d) Communicate with own party generals under other party's generals

(51e) Adjust strategy, operations, and tempo to serve political agenda

(51f) Appoint the head of the most powerful political machine in the country to be Secretary of State

(52) Lincoln never adopted a strategy to win the war.

(53) Strategy is anathema to politicians.

(54) The fortunes of any general correlate to his standing with a patron, the relative standing of the patron, and events on the field, never simply to events on the field.

(55) A few generals had military patrons only; these were as weak as generals who fell from their patron's favor.

(56) The effects of any victory can be undone by spin.

(57) Battles, as understood by politicians, could win the war: a series of victories forming a pattern strong enough to collapse the political support of the enemy.

(58) Battles, as understood by McClellan, could win the war: a series of victories leading to occupation and control of key points making government of the South geographically impossible.

(59) Battles, as understood by Lincoln, could win the war: as a series of losses, mutually inflicted, to exhaust the reserves of the frailer party ("terrible arithmetic").

(60) Lincoln did not understand until 1864 that the Union was the frailer party.

(61) The war was not won simply by capturing Richmond, Davis, Lee's army, or Johnson's Army; the rump Rebel government had to quit as well. (Winik)

(62) Davis's rump government succumbed to (57).

(63) The surrender of armies could not prevent new armies from being raised or improvised.

(64) Much current analysis is a rehashing of partisan editorials 1861-1864.

(65) Literate ACW people operated deep inside of theatrical and literary conventions; they recast events of their lives in theatrical or novelistic terms.

(66) Modern historians adopt those antiquated theatrical and literary forms for color and interest, polluting their own narratives and history in general.

(67) What we know is shaped by what the publisher can sell.

(68) The publisher can sell what we think we know and what we suspect we want to know.

I'll add links to posts on these themes when I can take more time.