Lincoln and Good Politics

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Lincoln and Good Politics Politicians today as well as yesterday must appeal to the masses to have any chance at being elected into office. Leading up to and during the election of 1860, with tensions rising between the North and South, the issue of slavery was a key to winning the election. Abraham Lincoln "had repeatedly affirmed that Congress had no constitutional right to interfere with slavery in the South" (Enduring Vision, p. 399). This modest view is what won him the Republican nomination as presidential candidate as well as a victory in the 1860 election over Democrat Stephen Douglas, who wrote the Nebraska-Kansas Act and was very adamant about popular sovereignty in the new territories concerning slavery. Due to pressures from radicals within the Republican Party Lincoln would change from his modest, self-contained antislavery standpoint to making emancipation of the slaves a war goal of the civil war. He was just practicing good politics to ensure his re-nomination and his re-election in 1864. The Republicans lost the election of 1856 by a very small margin and knew that if they wanted to win in '60 they would have to present a candidate that appealed to a larger audience. With the development of a couple of new federal programs and a candidate, Lincoln, who shared the modest "non-interference" view on slavery with the previous President the Republicans carried enough votes to win the election. From the very beginning Lincoln was used almost as a puppet to win votes and insure victory for his Republican Party members and many Southerners believed that he would be a "front man for more John Browns" (Enduring Vision, p. 400). The South believed this so strongly that by February 1, 1861 seven states had seceded... ... middle of paper ... ...no problem endorsing a couple of laws they do not feel strongly about to gain a few more votes that might give them a slight advantage over the competition, Lincoln was no different. He may not have agreed with slavery but he had no strong feelings on the subject. He once wrote, "I confess I hate to see the poor creatures hunted down, and caught, and carried back to their stripes, and unrewarded toils; but I bite my lip and keep quiet" (Abraham Lincoln To Joshua Speed). He refers to them as creatures; the slaves are not even people to him. His personal view of slavery never changed, what changed was what Lincoln deemed necessary to keep the people happy thus ensuring his re-election. It just so happened that what benefited Abraham Lincoln politically also freed the entire African-American race from slavery which put Lincoln into the history books as a national hero.

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