United States Progression, December 8, 1863
In his message to Congress on December 8, 1863 President Abraham Lincoln brought the House of Representatives and the United States Senate up-to-date on the progression of the war and the national accomplishments in the prosecution thereof.
The strenuous efforts of those disloyal to the Union in drawing the United States into world war with Great Britain and France had failed. Queen Victoria had ended the departures of hostile expeditions from all of her ports; and King Napoleon III has vindicated his stand on neutrality not to interfere. Although the Naval Blockade presented its own set of problems with these powers, diplomacy prevailed in the spirit of frankness, justice and mutual good will.
The Civil War was already taking its toll on national opinion as the Chief Executive impressed upon Congress his wishes to require clerks in the court rooms to provide to the national government the names of naturalized citizens or their declarations of intent to naturalize, to the Secretary of the Interior, for the purpose of arranging the names and printing them for general information. Many immigrants now were denying their naturalization placing the burden of proof on the federal government in order to avoid their civil duties in the military service. There were many also who, to avoid duties imposed on them from their native countries, would claim U.S. citizenship only to leave the country never to return and claiming interposition on the United States as citizens living abroad. It was time for Congress to vote an amendment to bar against any such pleas of exemption from military service or other civil obligations on the grounds of alienage.
With the innovations in technology, and none too soon, the President wanted to see a trans-Atlantic telegraph line centered from Washington City to the foreign powers overseas, as well as the national forts along the coastline, including that of the Gulf of Mexico. The quicker means of communication would thus establish economical and effective aide both diplomatically and militarily including that of the Naval Service.
The United States Consulates had appeared to be self sustained through the stress of the war, and in all hopes would continue to do so once peace had been re-established. These men employed as spokesman in foreign lands were working overtime in protecting the commercial interests in Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, Japan, China and throughout the remainder of the Orient.
The mineral resources being mined throughout Colorado, Nevada, Idaho, New Mexico and Arizona had proved themselves far richer than that which had been expected. With manpower still feeding the armies in the field, Congress was tasked with establishing an expedient system for encouraging immigration as many were still flocking to their foreign consulates offering to immigrate from news of the wealth.
The cost of war was not surprising. Financially, the United States Treasury Department at the beginning of the year had a balance of $901,125,674.86, and in its possession were receipts disbursing $895,796,630.65 in various expenditures, leaving a surplus of $5,329,044.21.
Though militarily speaking the Union was still concerned whether public opinion would go against the administration, both diplomatically and economically, the United States was still strong enough to drop the anvil on the agricultural South. The military leadership as well as the political leadership of the South well understood the financial strength of the North. The military campaigns of 1864 would be a matter of turning the public opinion against President Abraham Lincoln. The South had run out of options in the field. Gaining independence now required destroying the war making machine via the 1864 ballot box.
Editors Note: Mr.Moran is a feature writer on the US-Civilwar.com writers staff. He may be contacted with your questions, ideas and requests at firstname.lastname@example.org