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Abraham Lincoln' Political Religion - Essay Example

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It can be stated that Lincoln’s political religion was rooted in the Declaration of Independence; he strongly believed in the universal equality of human rights and upheld the true meaning of the Declaration of Independence…
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Abraham Lincoln Political Religion
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Download file to see previous pages Even though Lincoln never proved himself to be an ardent abolitionist he strongly protested against the extension of slavery to other territories. He emphasized the concept of self-government and strongly believed that the Founders of the Constitution foresaw the abolition of slavery in America in the long run. Lincoln makes it clear that even though the Declaration of Independence was formed by the representatives of thirteen States of the confederacy out of which twelve were slaveholding communities they made provisions in the Constitution to the abolition of slave trade in the long run. However, unlike the abolitionists Lincoln sought to address the issue of slavery within the limits of the Constitution and later his speeches and presidential debates explicitly reinforce his anti-slavery sentiments. This paper seeks to explore Guelzo’s argument that the Declaration of Independence formed the Scripture of Lincoln’s political religion and in doing so the paper also shows how Lincoln has accommodated his political ideologies with the Constitution that binds the Union together. In his 1854 campaign one can find Lincoln upholding the constitution, the Union and the good will of the Founders. He makes it clear that the Founders were always against slavery and they took special efforts to stop the spread of slavery into the Old Northwest Territory. For him, the Founders “could not avoid the unpleasant fact that slavery already existed in the Southern states of the Union, but they had regarded its existence as an anomaly and they tolerated its continuation there as an “argument of necessity” for establishing the national Union” (Guelzo 185-86). Lincoln also goes on to purport that even Missouri winning the administration as a slave state in 1820 and its slave status was only a concession aimed at further spreading slavery into the West. One can also find Lincoln repudiating Douglas’s arguments in favor of the doctrine of self-government and popular sovereignty. While Douglas justified the Kansas–Nebraska Act of 1854 that allowed settlers in the territories to determine through Popular Sovereignty whether they would allow slavery within each territory, Lincoln was well aware of the dangers of Kansas-Nebraska. Douglas was of the opinion that “slavery had to be given its chance in the territories because it was the right of free settlers to exercise their popular sovereignty in choosing their own kind of government” (Guelzo 186) whereas Lincoln argued that popular sovereignty would subvert the principle of self-government as this would offer a choice for slavery. During his 1859 campaign speeches in the Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin Lincoln repeatedly asserted that the even though the Founders sought to restrain the spread of slavery in the territories Douglas and Kansas-Nebraska had wrecked that bargain by trying to extend slavery across the nation. While Douglas argued that popular sovereignty would enable territories to refuse slavery Lincoln held that slavery could never cease to exist unless and until it is prohibited by law. He also observed that in such territories and states where “slavery was not prohibited, it was established” and the Northerners were kept free due to the “explicit congressional legislation embodied in the Northwest Ordinance, banning the extension of slavery” rather than by the logic of popular sovereignty (Guelzo 230). Similarly, Lincoln regarded slavery as a total destruction of self-government. For him, the white man not only governs himself in self-government but also displays despotism by governing the blacks. Thus, Lincoln made ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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