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Harris maintains that Lincoln held a fundamentally conservative position on the process of reintegrating the South, one that permitted a large measure of self-reconstruction, and that he did not modify his position late in the war. He examines the reasoning and ideology behind Lincoln's policies, describes what happened when military and civil agents tried to implement them at the local level, and evaluates Lincoln's successes and failures in bringing his restoration efforts to closure.

2nd place winner of the 1997 Lincoln Prize

William C. Harris was named an Alumni Distinguished Professor for Research at North Carolina State University on the basis of this book.

"This is the best book I have ever read about Reconstruction during the Lincoln administration. With Charity for All offers a powerful argument for the continuity of Lincoln's generous approach to Reconstruction, and it provides a wealth of information showing how the president's mind worked."—Journal of American History

"Harris offers powerful, fresh arguments about the pros and cons of Lincoln’s policies, and supports all of his conclusions with first-rate scholarship and writing."—Civil War Courier

"Essential reading for all interested in wartime Reconstruction."—Georgia Historical Quarterly

"A detailed, well-organized overview of Lincoln's reconstruction policy."—History

"A very fine book in every way, and an important contribution to Reconstruction historiography. Harris writes clearly with an easy style that effortlessly keeps his readers on track."—Illinois Historical Journal

"Harris brings impressive research and new sophistication to an old question."—North & South

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






Abraham Lincoln, Reconstruction


United States History

With Charity for All: Lincoln and the Restoration of the Union
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