Helper authored a book, The Impending Crisis of the South: How to Meet It, which helped to inflame opposing sentiments leading up to the Civil War. Published in 1857, the book proposed abolishing slavery and influenced Lincoln's election to the Presidency. Helper was vilified throughout the South. In 1861, Lincoln appointed Helper consul to Buenos Aires. He later returned to the United States and, after brief stints as a lobbyist and envoy in Washington, spent the rest of his life promoting the idea of a Three Americas Railway linking North, Central and South America. He became mentally unstable and committed suicide in March 1909.