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The Personas of Abraham Lincoln Essay

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Abraham Lincoln is perhaps one of the most interesting characters to have ever graced the American political arena and presidency. He is most noteworthy, obviously, for his role in saving the United States from its own destruction and the eradication of the vile Southern tradition of slavery. However, upon deeper inspection, one finds there was much more to Lincoln than his political achievements. Throughout his years as a politician, there's a noticeable shift in terms of his character, and political persona. He seems to go from ambitious and boisterous to being more solemn and reserved. Also, it should be noted that some remark that Lincoln was, quite ironically, both America’s most democratic and autocratic President to have ever held office. However, it seems that though there is abundant evidence for his democratic values, there are little to suggest his autocratic intentions. As though some lines revealing such intent can be found, many are also directly rebutted by powerful democratic rhetoric. All of this can be found in Lincoln’s four main speeches; “A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand”, his Inaugural Addresses and the Gettysburg Address. Basically, in order to properly analyze Lincoln it may be best to look at Lincoln’s personal and political changes within the terms of his antebellum and Civil War “personalities”, as well as to examine his democratic and autocratic leanings; all through scrutinizing Lincoln’s major speeches.
If one is to look at Lincoln’s speech, “A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand”, one would find Lincoln’s younger, more brash self. To start, he boldly goes to declare that, “A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave an...


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...he former. Also, Lincoln shows a remarkable change in character from his ambitious ante bellum days, to his later years concurrent with the civil war, which are drenched in solemnity and even a little bit of religious zeal. It is interesting to watch his growth as a politician, from what could be considered a firebrand, insensitive to the issues at hand, to the unforthcoming fresh president fearful of civil war, to the previously mentioned zealous patriarch. As one can see, his personal and political growth goes hand in hand; being very difficult to separate. Ultimately, by examining Lincoln’s major speeches, one can arrive at a variety of conclusions, being that one can trace the changes of Lincoln’s character and political personality over the years, and determine as to what extent was Lincoln a democratic autocrat; the answer to the latter conclusion being hardly.


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