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Abraham Lincoln, Slavery, and the Civil War - Essay Example

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A lot has been said about the intentions of Abraham Lincoln (February 12th, 1809- April 15th, 1865) towards the US, particularly during and after the American Civil War. …
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Abraham Lincoln, Slavery, and the Civil War
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"Abraham Lincoln, Slavery, and the Civil War"

Download file to see previous pages Going by Lincoln’s second inaugural address which took place on March 4th, 1865, one can cogently defend the standpoint that as the 16th President of the US, he was interested in reconstructing the Union.
In the first place, it can be considered that although he wanted reconstruction, yet he preferred a pragmatic approach. This is seen in the manner in which Lincoln tried to eschew sentiments that would be indicative of punitive measures against the South, even after its defeat. In a way that betrays ingenuity, Lincoln sought to cast both sides as subject to imperfection, in a clever way of toning down the anger against the South. For instance, Lincoln states that “… Both sides dreaded the war and sought to avert it (Johnson 64)” Lincoln also said that “Neither of the parties expected the war, its magnitude, its duration which had already been attained (Ibid 64).” Lincoln also goes further to state that both sides “… Read the same Bible and invoked the same God (Ibid 65).”
Nevertheless, all the above are more of vestiges of a pragmatic approach to constructivism than a show of appeasement of desperation for unification. The prospects of Lincoln’s constructivism are also underscored by the very speech that others would merely pass as unifying. The constructivist aspect of the speech is also underlined by the pieces that are found within the same speech. In a particular instance, he lambasts the prospects of slavery which was very popular and full fledged in the South. In an instance, he quoted Jesus Christ in the Gospel according to St. Matthew, XVIII: VII to state that although offenses were inevitable, yet the person who acts as the perpetrator or harbinger of the same, would be in trouble or deep danger (Johnson 65). In the same wavelength, Lincoln said that if God was willing that the war continues, so that all the wealth that slave owners had amassed be destroyed and all the blood that had been drawn by the taskmaster’s whip be avenged, the same would still prove the justice of God’s judgments (Johnson 65). To show for the seriousness of the matter, Loewen (37) explains that there are certain measures that Lincoln followed through to show that he was interested in the reconstruction of the American nation. The first and the most prominent was the role he played in the adopting of the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution on July 9th, 1868. As a matter of fact, Amendment XIV is one of the most popular Reconstruction Amendments. Among many things, Amendment XIV reconstructed the definition of citizenship to include blacks. This totally overruled the 1857 ruling of the Supreme Court, which in the case, Dred Scott v. Sandford had ostracized the black race from the American citizenship. This amendment had within it, the clause that mandated every state of the US to accord every of its citizen with equal protection and rights, without any discrimination (Arnesen 20). According to Loewen (38), even crusaders against gender discrimination found much help in Amendment XIV since it set the stage for the 1954 Brown v. Board and the Reed v. Reed which totally proscribed all manner of discriminations. The prospects of the Fourteenth Amendment is being seen as a tool that was used for restructuring or reconstruction is also illustrated by its spelling of the conditions under which citizenship could be extended to an individual or revoked. This proved to be a double-edged sword since it excluded many prominent members of the Confederacy from the government. This is a shift away from unification attempts. In the same vein, Lincoln’s speech and behavior relevant to the speech cannot leave an ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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