Abraham Lincoln is often viewed as one of the great heroes of American history, due in no small part to his issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, amidst the chaotic, intense rivalry of the Civil War - the battle between North and South, between freedom and slavery. However, prior to the Civil War, Lincoln had given a speech proclaiming that he, in fact, had never been in favor of equalizing whites and African-Americans. Seemingly contradictorily and inexplicably, he had then elected to free all slaves in United States territories. Yet, there exist several viable explanations for Lincoln’s course of actions. Namely, he had harbored moral arguments, and a general character, against slavery, he had primarily aimed to accomplish the implicit goals of the Republican party on which he sided, and he had established an “official duty”, which could only have been accomplished via the abolition of slavery. Clearly, despite having taken a remarkably contrasting viewpoint from the perception of the public, Lincoln had considered other factors as well, which …show more content…
His self-proclaimed “official duty” as the President of the United States had in fact been to save the Union at all costs, whether it result in the saving or terminating of slavery, or even an intermediary outcome. Moreover, the Proclamation’s primary purpose had also been to settle the widespread, treacherous slave rebellion occurring at the time of the Civil War. Were Lincoln to have refrained from issuing the Proclamation, slaves would have effected an unmanageable insurrection, and the nation would doubtless have collapsed into an unrecoverable state of ruin in all aspects. As such, Lincoln’s decision to issue the Emancipation Proclamation had been further justified, and his modern heroic standing is even more
In The Real Lincoln, Thomas J. DiLorenzo argues thematically throughout nine chapters about the misconception of Abraham Lincoln. He opens each chapter with an argumentative main body, and then provides sources and examples to back up his argument. In chapter two, the belief that Lincoln was the man who fought solemnly against slavery is questioned. DiLorenzo says that, “… Lincoln stated over and over that he was opposed to racial equality” (11). Before his reign as governor of Illinois and presidency, Lincoln ...
. .’, concludes James Oakes’ book with the aftermath of the Civil War and Lincoln’s assassination. Oakes discussed the respect Douglass gathered for Lincoln over the years and the affect his assassination had on both himself and America as a whole. Oakes even brushed over Douglass’ relationship with Andrew Johnson, the president succeeding Lincoln. Analyzing his experience with the new president, it was safe to say that Andrew Johnson had no consideration as to what Douglass and Lincoln previously fought for. Johnson did not have the same political skills as Lincoln did, and he did not retain the same view for America that Lincoln did. It was obvious that Douglass held Lincoln at a higher standard than Andrew Johnson, stating that he was a “progressive man, a humane man, an honorable man, and at heart an anti-slavery man” (p. 269). Oakes even gave his own stance on Andrew Jackson, “It was a legacy that Andrew Johnson could ever match. When all of Lincoln’s attributes were taken into consideration - his ascent from the obscurity to greatness, his congenial temperament, his moral courage - it was easy for Douglass to imagine how much better things would be ‘had Mr. Lincoln been living today’.” (p. 262). It is hard to imagine the pre-war Douglass to have said something like that as opposed to an older, much more reserved Douglass. With the abolishment of slavery, so came much discrimination. Without
The Lincoln-Douglas Debates are considered among “the most significant statements in American political history” (Johannsen). The debates derived from the senatorial campaign in 1858 between Stephen Douglas, the Democratic senator, and Abraham Lincoln, the Republican candidate. The two politicians debated publicly throughout seven of Illinois’ nine congressional districts. By Election Day on November 2nd, Illinois citizens were aware of the primary issues of each man’s political stance (Schulmeister).
Lincoln declared that “all persons held as slaves” in areas in rebellion “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” Not only liberate slaves in the border slave states, but the President has purposely made the proclamation in all places in the South where the slaves were existed. While the Emancipation Proclamation was an important turning point in the war. It transformed the fight to preserve the nation into a battle for human freedom. According the history book “A People and a Nation”, the Emancipation Proclamation was legally an ambiguous document, but as a moral and political document it had great meaning. It was a delicate balancing act because it defined the war as a war against slavery, not the war from northern and southern people, and at the same time, it protected Lincoln’s position with conservatives, and there was no turning
...h the Confederacy. Even if the goal of the Emancipation Proclamation was to win the war, it was also a moral value because at the end of the war, Lincoln supported the 13th amendment, which ended slavery in the USA. Looking at different sources such as Eric Foner’s “emancipation proclamation” and McPherson James’s “how president Lincoln issued the emancipation proclamation” , it is clear that opinions differed regarding the purpose of the emancipation proclamation, but both of them argued that it was both a military tactic but had also a moral value behind it.
James Oakes gave a brilliant and unique perspective to a relationship between two well known historical figures of their time. Abraham Lincoln is a well-admired president for the United States because as Americans culture teaches that he was an honest and well-respected man. He heard about a young African American man, who had high aspirations for his life and the blossoming United States. This man’s name was Frederick Douglass. James Oakes demonstrates how both Douglass and Lincoln worked towards the abolishment of slavery and effectively producing better outcomes within antislavery politics.
“I will say, then, that I am not, nor have ever been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races [...] I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race,” contradicting previous speeches promising the abolition of slavery. Not only did Lincoln understand the economic benefits of slavery, but also how the promise of its abolition, then speaking out for slavery, would gain him the most votes. In addition, when slavery had been abolished in America, black men did not receive the equal-to-white-man treatment as promised. Although black men were allowed to join the army and fight for the North, they were still not treated as equals, given a lower pay and jobs that endangered them, such as digging wells and trenches. In order to salvage the economic blows of the abolition of slavery, the US government, although promising blacks the title of a “man”, did not receive equal treatment during the Civil War. It would not be until
During the Civil War President Abraham Lincoln had many decisions that he had to make, but the Emancipation Proclamation was the most important decision during his presidency. The Proclamation would abolish slavery only in states of rebellion and make tens of thousands of slaves in those states free and recruit them into the union army. In the making of the proclamation, Lincoln feared that it would push the loyal border states to the confederacy. Also many questioned if the Emancipation Proclamation was going to be Constitutional. Even with those who fear it, Lincoln pushed forward, and justified that it was not only a matter of military necessity but as an act of justice. The decisions that he had
It can hardly be doubted that after 1854 Lincoln's public persona targeted the legal exclusion of the “peculiar institution” in the United States. The “open war” that he now detected against the principles of the founding--his "ancient religion"--and its experiment in self-government--of which he boldly declared more than fifteen years earlier had evolved from an "undecided experiment" to a "successful one"--provoked him to speak out more strongly than he thought necessary or wise at any time prior in his political career against the burgeoning influence of pro-slavery politicians who rejected the latter and threatened the former. To "save the principles of Jefferson from total overthrow"--the principles that Jefferson predicted would be "the Signal of arousing men” to action—Lincoln fought to reset the country's trajectory toward the founders' original intent, as he understood it,
Abraham Lincoln was not pursuing the right course of action when he signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. It is indicated that Lincoln had second guesses regarding his move through signing the deal to end slavery. This is indicated by the fact that Abraham Lincoln was considering convincing Jefferson Davis who, at the time, was committed to freeing the southern states. His dedication is part of the reason why Lincoln’s title of “great emancipator” has meaning. Since then, Abraham has been associated with having played a key role in ending slavery in America. Even though Lincoln is associated with ending slavery, it is said that he was more opposed to the idea of the disintegration of the Union and if he had a chance to select between support for the union and ending slavery, he would have opted for the Union as his choice. The idea that Lincoln would have chosen to be in the same camp with Jefferson is a clear testimony that his signing the Emancipation Proclamation was not the best action (Carrington 570).
Throughout his presidency, Abraham Lincoln, was criticized for actions that were deemed “unconstitutional.” Although, without these important acts by assumption of presidential power, equality, and the country of America itself would be different. As James G. Randall once said, “No president has carried the power of presidential edict and executive order (independently of Congress) so far as (Lincoln) did... It would not be easy to state what Lincoln conceived to the limit of his powers. ” Between April 1861 (the beginning of the civil war) and July 4, 1861, Lincoln performed many important acts without congressional approval. Without these acts America would be far different than it is today. For example, Lincoln, brought forth the militia to go about their way and retire, increased the size of the navy and the army, expended funds for the purchase of weapons, and instituted an act of war and suspended the precious wit of habeas corpus.Indubitably, Lincoln didn’t deem these actions constitutional or the declaration of civil war, but the suspension of rebellion. Therefore,his actions may not have been constitutional, but they stopped the growing feud b...
As stated in the Declaration of Independence, he first believed that all negroes had the right to have natural rights. He declared this in the first Lincoln-Douglas Debate that “he is much entitled to these as the white men.”1 Here, Lincoln emphasized his stance that even a negro is entitled to their natural rights. However, prior to this, Lincoln stated that he has no lawful right or inclination to end slavery and “introduce political and social inequality between the white and the black races.”2 Abraham Lincoln did not even have any intention of ending slavery. He just wanted the public to know that the negroes deserved natural rights and nothing more. He was never in favor of making them voters or jurors in court, or letting them hold office, or marry white people.3 How can one say that he is the “Great Emancipator” when he did not want to give the negroes any more rights? Looking at them as minorities, he still did not want to try and to give them any freedom. He does not view them as equals in society, nor did he have strong feelings to support the negroes at all. Attacking their race, he still calls the white race superior to the negroes. If Lincoln never supported the equal rights of negroes, he cannot be the great emancipator. Showing indifference to the negroes, he was also reluctant to interfere with the state’s rights and wanted to
Lincoln wished to destroy the South and instill it with ideas from the anti-slave North. Blacks would be free to work for themselves as freemen. The South took the Emancipation Proclamation as the Nation’s biggest atrocity committed on its own people in history. Some slave owning Northerners claimed it was unconstitutional and would lead to violent slave uprisings and the taking of white man’s jobs. This was an “act of justice” that needed to be signed and ratified (Chapter 14, pp. 447). Lincoln knew that this was an important moment in history when he said: “If my name ever goes into history, it was for this act” (Chapter 14, pp. 447). This is what Lincoln would be remembered for in the years to come. His name went down in history as the President
Presidents have been elected or 227 years, each one of them making some sort of impact on the country, the government and the citizens. However, the question still remains, which president was the strongest amongst the rest? Having to choose between Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and George washington, the obvious choice of the stronger president is Abraham Lincoln. Not only did Lincoln serve during a tragic time in the countries history which was the civil war and had the potentional to tear the country in half, he also abolished slavery, and he was always sure to make sure his candiacy wasn't two sided by electing officials who had differing viewpoints.
Harris, W. (2001). “After the Proclamation: Lincoln’s Role in the Ending of Slavery”, North & South Vol. No. 5.