Abraham Lincoln: Life and Quotes Essay
Today the name of Abraham Lincoln is known almost to every person in the world. His outstanding achievements in the political sphere made professional historians consider him the greatest president who has ever guided the USA. Due to Lincoln’s commitment to his country and its nation, the most devastating period in the history of America passed away. Lincoln is known for saving the USA from dissolution. He made the slaves free and triggered the development of racial equality.
Abraham Lincoln was born at the beginning of the 19th century in the family that came from England to Massachusetts. His grandfather was killed by Indians, which affected the life of his father greatly. As Lincoln wrote, he turned into “a wandering labor boy… who grew up, literally without education” (“Abraham Lincoln” 1). Still, Thomas Lincoln managed to buy several farms and improve the family’s condition. Little information is known about his mother, Nancy. Historians have several versions regarding her possible parents, but none of them are proved. All in all, Lincoln’s family had three children, including Abraham. His life was mainly connected with his older sister, as a younger brother died, being a baby.
Soon the family moved to Indiana, where the boy was raised to farm work. In this rural area, he also had almost no opportunities to receive a decent education. In total, he spent at school no more than one year. As Lincoln confessed, “I could read, write, and cipher to the Rule of Three; but that was all” (Blaisdell 13). After Nancy’s death, his father married again. His new wife became a good mother for a boy. In 1828, his sister died. Being estranged from his father, Lincoln moved to New Salem three years later. He served in the Black Hawk War the next year and led a volunteer company, which affected his future life.
In 1832, he decided to enter the Illinois legislature, but this experience was not successful. Still, he did not fall into despair and got an opportunity to serve as a Whig during 1834-1841. Such action was expected from Lincoln, as his father also belonged to this party and he was raised following its worldview. Moreover, the proposed program targeted at the economic development of the country met his ideas: “time and experience verified that the poorest and most thinly populated countries would be greatly benefited by the opening of good roads and in the clearing of navigable streams” (HD News para. 6).
Being a Whig, Lincoln differed from other politicians. Being a part of a farmer’s family, he stated that this population is equal to all other people and its labor should not depend on capital. In 1837, he shared his views regarding slavery and claimed that it should be abolished. Instead, he underlined the efficiency of the economic opportunity in the USA, in the framework of which “a man who labored for another last year, this year labors for himself, and next year he will hire others to labor for him” (HD News para. 7).
The future president of the USA decided to become a lawyer under the influence of John Stuart. In 1837, he became a partner of this legislator and started to live in Springfield. With time, he also cooperated with other outstanding professionals (such as Steven Logan) and practiced successfully. During this period, Lincoln had relationships with Mary Todd. He married this religious woman who had genteel origins five years later, and they had four sons.
In 1847, Lincoln came out against the Mexican War. Being a part of the US House of Representatives but remaining a Whig, he considered it to be unconstitutional. Still, Lincoln did not try to express his sympathy towards the country in this way. His claims just showed that president James Polk did not follow the Constitution and conducted wrong actions. Abraham provided extreme support to the Wilmot Proviso, the legislation that focused on the abolition of slavery, as he wanted to ban it and prevent expansion. In 1849, his term ended, but Lincoln did not want to get involved in the run again and returned to Springfield and his previous practice.
Five years later, Abraham lost interest in politics. At this time, the legislation that allowed slavery on the territory where it was previously prohibited was passed. Lincoln considered such a step to be adverse for the development of the country. He was also highly concerned because the act was supported and sponsored by Democratic Senator. In 1855, he tried to reach the US Senate and joined the Republican Party next year. In 1857, he received an opportunity to campaign against that Senator (Douglas). In his speech, Lincoln stated that Douglas and Democratic presidents are willing to nationalize slavery and concluded that the whole population of one county can become slaves or turn free, as “a house divided against itself cannot stand” (“Abraham Lincoln” 3).
In order to influence the occurred situation, Lincoln decided to debate with Douglas. He hoped to share his fame and reach the mind of the general public in this way. They agreed to have seven debates in different cities. As Douglas lost southern support and received only the one from the East, people divided into those who supported slavery, considered it to be morally wrong and remained indifferent. Trying to attract more followers, Lincoln claimed that his opponent did not care whether slavery was “voted up or voted down” (Blaisdell and Douglas 329). As a result of the debates, Lincoln’s name and his position became known to the wide population even though he lost the run.
In 1860, Lincoln became a presidential candidate. This was his first major appearance that affected his future life. He was competing with William Seward for this position. The last one was not appreciated by the states lost by the Republicans, which allowed Lincoln to win. Surely, his next step was participation in the presidential election. To win, he had to defeat “defeating the Northern Democrat Douglas, the Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge, and the Constitutional Union candidate John Bell” (“Abraham Lincoln” 4). For his campaign, Lincoln selected the cabinet that consisted of people who supported him during the competition for the Republican nomination.
The inauguration took place in 1861. Until that moment, seven states already left the Union, and the South did not react to the president’s speech. Even though the representatives of Lincoln’s cabinet were reluctant to interact with this territory, he sent provisions to the core of its federal authority – Fort Sumter. Still, South Carolina lacked supplies because of the fort’s decision and fired on it. In this way, the Civil War began soon after Lincoln’s inauguration.
Leading the country in the period of war, Lincoln showed himself as a great commander who was always ready to take vigorous measures. Except for that, he impressed the general public by his frequent contradictions with the Constitution and the military. In this way, he showed that he is the one who controls the situation and shapes the future. However, conflicts with McClellan, who used to be his cooperator lead to the condition, under which he became the presidential revival. Despite all previous actions, Lincoln reconsidered his position all in all. He accepted the military view on the war and agreed that the best way to cope with the enemy is to kill one.
As a result, he looked for a general to address in different cases regardless of this politics and its purposes. For this position, Ulysses Grant was chosen. As this general received the overall command, Lincoln did not have to be so deeply involved in military affairs anymore. Still, abandoning the direct role in planning, the president never stopped interesting in the issue. He remained involved in all projects, which revealed his commitment to the country and its people.
Currently, politics and historians believe that the Civil War was the main Lincoln’s occupation during the period he was a president. This process required huge human and material resources as well as administrative assistance. That is why Lincoln referred to the Republican Party, which he had an opportunity to use to reach his goals. He tried to keep it united and gave its members civilian appointments mainly. Except for that, Lincoln made sure that none of the parties was continuously favored. He divided military appointments so that a part of them was gained by Democrats. Still, the last ones claimed Lincoln to be a tyrant.
They could not forgive him proscribed civil liberties, such as thousands of arbitrary arrests. However, it cannot be denied that the president also had tolerant views towards criticism from the media and other politicians. He often affected commanders, making sure that no excessive arrests are made. In this way, the claim according to which he turned into a dictator soon after becoming the 16th president of the USA cannot be taken for granted.
Lincoln never tried to postpone the next presidential election even though he was almost sure he would lose to his opponent. Historians believe that Democrats’ position was mainly determined by the fact that they lost their influence on the economic issues as Lincoln prevented the expansion of slavery, without which the South considered itself to be dead. Still, as the Constitution allowed slavery during peaceful times, so the president came to the conclusion that he could abolish it during the war as a part of military necessary actions. His preliminary proclamation was justified by the military and Lincoln “endorsed the 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolishing slavery” (“Abraham Lincoln” 5).
His views allowed Lincoln to be re-elected for the second term and affected the future of the USA regarding not only slavery but also racial issues. Still, they also lead to Booth’s conspiracy to abduct and kill him. This radically approached Southern-sympathizer shot Lincoln in 1865 at Ford’s Theatre. The president died the next day.
Abraham Lincoln. n.d. Web.
Blaisdell, Bob, and Stephen Douglas. The Lincoln-Douglas Debates. Mineola: Dover Publications, 2012. Print.
Blaisdell, Bob. The Wit and Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln: A Book of Quotations. Mineola: Dover Publications, 2012. Print.
HD News. Abraham Lincoln. 2016. Web.
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