Impact of Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln is a very known individual that simply started off as a self-taught lawyer then worked his way up to be the United States sixteenth president. He was born on February 12, 1809, in Hardin County, Kentucky. His schooling was very limited, and he also had to work to constantly support his family.
Later on in his life, he was able to move to Illinois and start teaching himself law. He earned himself the name Honest Abe in Springfield, Illinois working as a lawyer serving clients such as town individuals up to national railroad lines. Later of many years of territorial tractions, the election of an antislavery northerner as the 16th president of the United States drove many southerners angry and were not happy at all. By the time Lincoln was starting to take initiative as 16th United States president in March 1861, seven southern states had seceded from the Union and formed the Confederate States of America. Florida was part of these seven states. After Lincoln ordered a fleet of Union ships to supply South Carolina’s Fort in April, the Confederates fired on both the fort and the Union fleet. This was the beginning of the Civil War.
Lincoln called for 500,000 more troops as both sides prepared for a long conflict. The two major issues during the civil war were slavery and state rights. The border states between the North and the South had the hardest time during the war. Two major battles and several smaller ones took place in Florida. The Union sent ships to occupy Florida’s ports: St. Augustine, Jacksonville, Key West, and Pensacola. This block off left Floridians unable to participate in their usual sea trade. Florida was a major source of beef and salt for the Confederacy. Florida’s beef became especially important after the Confederates lost control of the Mississippi River in 1864. With the flow of beef from Texas almost completely cut off, Florida’s supply of cattle became a severe food source for the Confederate Army. An estimated amount of 15,000-16,000 Floridians fought in the war. Most were in the Confederacy, but roughly around 2,000 joined the Union army. Some Floridians didn’t want to fight for either side, so they hid out in the woods and swamps to avoid being chosen. Almost 5,000 Floridian soldiers were killed during this war. Most of the Floridians fighting were men so it was up to the women, children, and slaves to keep the farms up and working.
Money was very tight and most families had to grow their own food and make their own clothes. Clothing was collected to send to the troops and iron was collected to make swords, guns, and other armed goods. By 1863, the Confederate Army was in trouble. The bigger Union Army was reducing the Confederate’s numbers. President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed all slaves in the southern states. This made the Confederacy angry and so the war continued. Many freed slaves joined the Union Army and fought to defeat the south and free their family members who were still in bondage. There were two large battles that that took place in Florida and both were won by Confederate troops. Battles were fought in the North and the South, but most of them took place in the South. On February 20, 1864, the largest Civil War battle in Florida occurred near Lake City. It was called the Battle of Olustee. It was a victory for the Confederacy, but this battle did not help win the war. The war continued, but the Confederacy was becoming weaker and weaker and most of the southern capitals were being captured. Supply lines to the Confederate troops were cut off. On April 4, 1865, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant. The war was officially over. Some battles continued for a short period of time, but, once word reached troops who were still fighting, the southern generals surrendered. Florida officially surrendered April 26, 1865. Union troops took over Tallahassee and immediately raised the United States flag. Once again, the states were united.
On April 9 Union victory was near, and Lincoln gave a speech on the White House lawn on April 11, asking his audience to welcome the southern states back into the fold. Unfortunately, Lincoln did not live to help bring out his ideas of Reconstruction. On the night of April 14, the actor and Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth went into the president’s box at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., and shot him in the back of the head. Lincoln was carried to a rooming house across the street from the theater, but he never recovered consciousness and died in the early morning on April 15, 1865. In many regards, Florida remains the forgotten state of the Confederacy. Although the third state to secede, Florida’s small population and limited industrial resources made the state of little importance to either side. For years, differences between North and South over slavery and the federal government’s right to regulate it had divided the country. Political leaders in Florida and throughout the South considered Lincoln’s election the breaking point. If slavery were to survive, the South would have to leave the Union.
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