The consensus view of the American Civil War - that it was first and foremost a war to restore the Union and an anti-slavery war only later when it became necessary for Union victory - dies here. James Oakes shows how deftly Lincoln and congressional Republicans pursued anti-slavery throughout the war, pragmatic in policy but steadfast on principle. In the disloyal South the Federal government quickly began freeing slaves, without slaveholder compensation. In the loyal Border States the Republicans coaxed officials into abolishing slavery gradually with promises of compensation. As the war continued, Republicans embraced a more aggressive military emancipation but it took a constitutional amendment to achieve the Union's primary goal in the war.