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Abraham Lincoln's First Inaugural - Essay Example

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One needs to reach out straightaway to the Inaugural Address Abraham Lincoln delivered to the Nation on March 4, 1861 as the President of the United States, to understand the power of the Executive under the American Constitution…
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Abraham Lincolns First Inaugural
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Download file to see previous pages The nation was at the crossroads with the process of meeting the threat of secession and absorbing the shocks of the related challenges.Abraham Lincoln, the greatest American President, had to face the bitter critics for his style of functioning. In this connection, one important aspect related to his Presidency, is worth profound consideration. Wise people say desperate situations need desperate remedies. Lincoln was not a power hungry individual and he reached up to the office of the President by employing fair, democratic means. Those who accused Lincoln of “executive usurpation” need to bear in mind this trait of his personality. He acted and used the power of the Executive under extraordinary circumstances, when the nation was in the thick of Civil War.
He took office as the President and then his executive branch consisted of a small number of staff but it had expanded substantially by the time his term was over. His critics leveled charges against and labeled him of being despotic for sidetracking a decision of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and for the suspension of habeas corpus. His actions were set as precedents by other Presidents at the time of war for increase of Executive authority.
The discussion on the legal implications as for the power of the Executive was still at infancy when Lincoln assumed the office of the President. One of the examples quoted was, Lincoln waged war by raising armies but the Constitution directed the Congress to take action on those lines. Roy. P. Basler argues, “Now, it is insisted that Congress, and not the Executive, is vested with this power. But the Constitution itself is silent as to which or who is to exercise the power.”(601) Unity, integrity and security of the nation were of utmost importance. Actions of Lincoln needed to be judged from the angle of his conscience, and not in which legal frame they would fit into. In his address to the Congress in July 1861, he silenced his critics by stating categorically that he would do anything that he considered right in the interest of the nation in a state of rebellion. Basler substantiates this position and writes, “It was with the deepest regret that the Executive found the duty of employing the war power in defense of the Government forced upon him.”(609) Lincoln’s stand on the Emancipation Proclamation is liable to be interpreted both ways. That he was trying to usurp more powers for himself as the President of USA or was it the situational demand? That was a legal document written by Lincoln himself and it was drafted from defense view point. He did that as the Commander in Chief. He gradually expanded his powers as the President, like the horse that moves ahead, well-controlled by the jeans. That particular Executive decision was supported by indisputable legal stand. Under the umbrella of the legal provision Lincoln proceeded to act to abolish slavery and involuntary servitude. Even otherwise, Lincoln was a rebel against procedures, wherever they blocked national progress. Lincoln was a man of words and a man of action who delivered results to his country. Under any weak and wavering President, the unity of United States of America would have been in peril and the country would have been torn into fragments. He was not inclined to over-reach for the sake of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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