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Karl Marx and Abraham Lincoln: A Curious Convergence*

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[Abstract Karl Marx and Abraham Lincoln held very different views on the ‘social question’. This essay explores the way in which they converged in their estimation of slavery during the course of the Civil War; Marx was an ardent abolitionist, and Lincoln came to see this position as necessary. It is argued that the rôle of runaway slaves – called ‘contraband’ – and German-revolutionary ’48ers played a significant rôle in the radicalisation of Lincoln and the direction of the War., AbstractKarl Marx and Abraham Lincoln held very different views on the ‘social question’. This essay explores the way in which they converged in their estimation of slavery during the course of the Civil War; Marx was an ardent abolitionist, and Lincoln came to see this position as necessary. It is argued that the rôle of runaway slaves – called ‘contraband’ – and German-revolutionary ’48ers played a significant rôle in the radicalisation of Lincoln and the direction of the War.]

Affiliations: 1: University of Essexrobinblackburn68@hotmail.com

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