Abraham Lincoln and the Kansas-Nebraska Act

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Abraham Lincoln’s original views on slavery were formed through the way he was raised and the American customs of the period. Throughout Lincoln’s influential years, slavery was a recognized and a legal institution in the United States of America. Even though Lincoln began his career by declaring that he was “anti-slavery,” he was not likely to agree to instant emancipation. However, although Lincoln did not begin as a radical anti-slavery Republican, he eventually issued his Emancipation Proclamation, which freed all slaves and in his last speech, even recommended extending voting to blacks. Although Lincoln’s feeling about blacks and slavery was quite constant over time, the evidence found between his debate with Stephen A. Douglas and his Gettysburg Address, proves that his political position and actions towards slavery have changed profoundly. Abraham Lincoln was an intricate yet prosperous person, shown through his movement from poverty to politics. Lincoln was born to poverty in Kentucky in 1809 and settled in Illinois at the age fifteen. He was captain of the militia in Illinois during the Black Hawk War of 1832 and served four terms as a Whig in the state legislature and in Congress, from 1847 to 1849. Lincoln strayed away from politics for a little while to return to law but his interest rekindled as a result of the Kansas-Nebraska Act . The Kansas-Nebraska Act was one of the first events that demonstrated Lincoln’s disapproval yet tolerance for slavery. The Kansas-Nebraska Act, proposed by Stephen A. Douglas and signed by Franklin Pierce, divided the region into two territories. The territory north of the 40th parallel was the Kansas Territory and the south of the 40th parallel was the Nebraska Territory, the controv... ... middle of paper ... ...ry have changed drastically by the time of this address. He believed the Civil War created a “new birth of freedom” within the nation. that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain - that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. The sacrifice of the lives of so many soldiers gave Lincoln a new perspective on life, liberty, and freedom and now Lincoln is no longer defending slavery. Before the Civil War, the “Union” tried to ignore slavery and the fact that blacks were actually included in the Declaration of Independence. This was now recognized by Lincoln and the rest of the nation as the essence of a democratic government. The sacrifices of the Union soldiers ensured a government geared by the people and for the people.

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