Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War
I argue that Lincoln performed everything in his power and to the best of his abilities, to abolish slavery and redirect the nation’s opinion of it. Abraham Lincoln was the sixteenth President of the United States. He was also known as Honest Abe.
Unlike most presidents, Lincoln’s family was not rich or well educated. However, Lincoln did go to college and became a lawyer in the state of Illinois. His mother had passed away from Milk Sickness when he was nine years old. He also married Mary Todd and they had four sons, although only one lived to adulthood. Lincoln served as President in the years 1861 to 1865. During this time, the Civil War was taking place. Lincoln was the Commander in Chief during this war. He implemented different orders such as the Emancipation Proclamation and influenced the Thirteenth Amendment. He was well-known for his famous speech, The Gettysburg Address. At the young age of 56, he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth at the Ford’s theater. The motivation for his assassination is still a mystery that concludes with a few theories.
The Emancipation Proclamation was formed in 1863 and freed millions of salves in the Confederate-held territory. Lincoln was the one who signed this proclamation into order using his executive rights, which lead to the abolishment of slavery. There were three main areas that the proclamation addressed. First, it gave back and restored property to all who were active during the rebellion except for Confederate officials and military leaders. Second, a new state government could be formed if ten percent of registered voters took an oath of allegiance to the United States. Third, southern states who took the oath were encouraged to make plans to tolerate with the freed slaves as long as their freedom was not overlooked. His motivation for putting the Emancipation Proclamation into place was so the Union would have a better chance at winning the Civil War against the confederate states. Although the proclamation’s intent was to abolish all slavery, it did not free all of the slaves. Lincoln was actually freeing people he did not directly control. In order for the proclamation to be into effect the slaves had to be in Union control.
It was believed that the proclamation was an underhanded move by Lincoln to label the Confederate states as a slave nation and yield foreign aid impossible. Depending on state action, however, meant that emancipation must be gradual, compensated, and voluntary and include the prospect of colonization to make it workable within a racist society (Winkle, 1186). Therefore, voluntary action was needed from the states in order to continue with Lincoln’s plan to abolish slavery. Emancipation became a Union war goal and was intended on encouraging other states to rejoin the Union. It also changed the purpose for the war, leading the Europeans out of the war and denying support for the south. I argue that by Lincoln instituting the Emancipation Proclamation, it was a smart choice as to an advancement against the confederate states in order to guide the Union to victory to stand for what is right, which is the abolishment of slavery.
Abraham Lincoln is still remembered to this day for The Gettysburg Address. This was his famous speech given in 1863, during the Civil War at the official dedication ceremony for the National Cemetery of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania. It was also the site for one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. It was intended to remind Americans of the nation’s birth and the foundation for everyone to live by, such as equality and freedom. It is said to contain two simple truths; one is to be found in its first sentence and one in its last. Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal (Lincoln). With his ideal for self-government, he desired for a new birth of freedom. It consisted of topics in the Declaration of Independence as well as argued that all men are equal, going against white slave owners who saw themselves as true Americans. His address talks about the cemetery that is dedicated to the fallen soldiers and the price they paid for every Americans freedom. He ends his speech with a call to action as well as to justify to continue the war to hopefully one day be a united nation. I hypothesize that Abraham Lincoln did want to make a change to social classes and not only for the guilty pleasure of hopefully winning the Civil War.
The Thirteenth Amendment was put into effect in 1865 after the Civil War. Its passage was influenced through Lincoln, due to him playing a key role during this time period. During this period, it was coming close to election year and everyone was almost certain he would not get reelected, but he did. This is thought to be because of his victories against the democratic General running for office as well. When attempting to get it passed, the amendment got stuck in the House of Representatives due to Democrats not voting for it. This amendment was added to the United States Constitution and formerly abolished slavery. Before this amendment, slavery was not mentioned in neither the Declaration of Independence nor the Constitution. Many founders were anti-slavery but they owned slaves themselves, even though it was believed to be wrong. When the Civil War started, nearly four million African American people were held captive in the southern states as slaves.
The title suggests double emancipation- how Lincoln’s decision to make slavery a target of the Union more effort represented both the fundamental change in the nature of the war and an end emancipation from unsuccessful ideas and policies for Lincoln himself (Foner, 147). Loop holes were attempted to still have slaves after the Thirteenth Amendment. For example, black codes were put into effect by the Southern states at this time to restrict the African American’s freedom. African Americans in the former confederate states were now being forced to depend on their former owners. Through instating the thirteenth amendment, Abraham Lincoln was accomplishing what his goal, the abolishment of slavery, as well as accomplishing more on the topic of anti-slavery than any other president had.
Abraham Lincoln was a very trustworthy, compassionate, attentive, admirable, and an honest man, which is how he got his nickname Honest Abe. He had a way with people that made them feel safe and understood which instilled a different level of respect that the people bestowed upon him. Since Abraham Lincoln did not have it so easy when he was younger, it was easier for him to put himself in other people’s shoes and have great empathy for others. Some even say that he is the greatest president of all time due to his many accomplishments. The enactment of the Emancipation Proclamation was one of his first accomplishments while he was president. Although the Emancipation Proclamation was a huge step for Lincoln as well as the Union, it did not free all slaves which led to another one of his greatest accomplishments still in place today, the Thirteenth Amendment. The Thirteenth Amendment abolished all slavery and gave much freedom.
Although, this was very effective, soon after Black Codes were instilled defeating the purpose of the Thirteenth Amendment. Because of the upset with slavery, Abraham Lincoln gave a very memorable speech, The Gettysburg Address. This was to install the mindset that all men are equal as it was stated in the Declaration of Independence. Although Lincoln was a great president and loved by most, there was one man who felt different. John Wilkes Booth resented Lincoln because of his efforts to promote black people the right to vote. Once he heard this information, he made the decision to kill Lincoln verses kidnap him, which was his original plan. Booth succeeded with his plan and assassinated Lincoln on April 14, 1865. The death of President Abraham Lincoln was a turning point in American history and led to radical reconstruction and was the beginning of many harsh fights for equal rights. One of the most popular landmarks in the United States is the Lincoln Memorial which was built in his honor after his death.
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