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The Presidency of Abraham Lincoln - Essay Example

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The Southern states began seceding from the Union a few months before Lincoln took office but his predecessor, James Buchanan, had done nothing to address the situation leaving the possible collapse of the nation to Lincoln. His main concern upon entering office was re-establishing the United States as a single country…
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The Presidency of Abraham Lincoln
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Download file to see previous pages Abraham Lincoln was a fierce opponent of slavery. He joined the newly formed Republican Party due to its anti-slavery platform. As a U.S. Senator from Illinois, Lincoln was concerned about the institution of slavery being expanding into newly formed states in the west. In June of 1858 he gave the famous “house divided” acceptance speech following his election to the Senate affirming his belief that “this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free.” (Hubbard, 1998). Because of his very public stance against the institution of slavery, his election as president was not acceptable to southern states, seven of which broke off from the Union prior to the inauguration. Lincoln’s first act as president was to call up 75,000 soldiers to stop the Southern revolt. Refusing to send troops that would fight their southern neighbors, claiming Lincoln has exceeded his constitutional authority; Tennessee, Arkansas and Virginia seceded as well joining the Confederate States of America.
Lincoln did not know much about military matters so he educated himself on the subject by reading books on military history. He had no formal education but was a learned man and became a lawyer by reading books so this was an effective method for him. Lincoln sent a supply ship to Fort Sumter located in South Carolina to fortify Union troops stationed in what Southerners now considered a different country, their own. The Civil War officially began when southern troops fired on the ship and fort. Two months later, in an effort to quickly end the war, Lincoln ordered the army to capture Richmond, Virginia, the Confederate capital but the Union was badly defeated on their way in the small town of Manassas, Virginia. Lincoln then realized the war would be protracted so signed a bill into law that called for the enlistment of half a million more troops for a three year period. Lincoln proved to be a capable military tactician and, for the most part, chose effective field commanders. General George McClellan, commander of the biggest Union army, was a favorite of the troops but not Lincoln who was frustrated with McClellan’s unwillingness to advance against the Confederate army. Lincoln relieved McClellan of his command when he did not pursue the retreating Confederates following the 1862 Union victory at Antietam. (“Abraham,” 2012). Lincoln created a great deal of controversy when he suspended the right of habeas corpus (due process of law) in 1861 when Congress was not in session. He had already ended civil law in some areas but regarded these drastic, many correctly called unconstitutional, measures as necessary steps in the war effort. Lincoln revealed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 following the Battle of Antietam which freed the slaves but Southern states ignored it at the time. Two significant Union successes in the summer of 1863 at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and Vicksburg, Mississippi finally gave the Union an advantage. Lincoln made General and future president Ulysses S. Grant the Union forces Supreme Commander in 1864 due to his decisive victory at Vicksburg. General George Meade had been expected to receive the title but missed his opportunity when the troops under his command did not deliver a decisive ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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