Abraham Lincoln, Slavery and the American Civil War

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This investigation will analyze how Abraham Lincoln's view on slavery reflected during and after the American Civil War from 1861 to 1865. To analyze exactly how Lincoln's position on slavery affected the war overall, this investigation looks at Lincoln's moral and religious views as well as his social and political views. Two main sources were used, both dealing with events relevant to his political career and his roots in his career and other important issues including slavery. Lincoln by David Herbert Donald tells a deep and detailed story on all aspects of his life and career. Abraham Lincoln and the Union deals with his struggle towards Union victory. Both Lincoln and Abraham Lincoln and the Union will be evaluated for their values, origins, purposes, and limitations.

This investigation does not directly assess the difference in ideologies of North and South or does it assess the opinions of Lincoln's opponents.

The American Civil War started off as a plea for states' rights. Among those rights was the institution of slavery. Lincoln's roots were very anti-slavery. He and his family were Separate Baptists. The church was against slavery and his father was in fact hostile towards it so Lincoln was “naturally anti-slavery” . Furthermore, during one of Lincoln's political lectures in Chicago during the year of 1859, he states that “slavery is a moral, political and social wrong” . It was clear that Lincoln was against slavery yet Lincoln was not like a hardcore abolitionist who wanted to wholly expel slavery from the United States. While Lincoln did have a strong view against slavery, sudden abolition was not a choice as he didn't have the authority to execute a direct order until during the Civil War itself. As a politici...

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...very, he could not end it immediately and soon, Lincoln was driven by circumstance to end it, not to directly fulfill his main objective of keeping the Union, but instead to win the Civil War to win back the Union since it was too far gone. The true change Lincoln faced was the actual action, and he acted according to necessity.

Works Cited

Donald, David Herbert. Lincoln. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996.

Furgurson, Ernest B. Freedom Rising: Washington in the Civil War. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004.

Handlin, Oscar and Lilian. Abraham Lincoln and the Union. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1980.

Huggins, Nathan Irvin. Slave and Citizen: the Life of Frederick Douglass. Edited by Oscar Handlin. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1980.

Lincoln, Abraham. "A House Divided.” June 17, 1858

Lincoln, Abraham. "Emancipation Proclamation." January 1, 1863

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