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Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War - Essay Example

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The Civil War was fought primarily because of States Rights. Southerners were proud, independent people who despised what they perceived as government overreach such as tariffs that benefited the infrastructure of industrial North much more so than the agriculture-based economy of the South…
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Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War
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Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War

Download file to see previous pages... This has been an argument for the root cause of the Civil War by many. However, high taxes alone were not enough of a catalyst to start a war. Others maintain that the reason was states right, the right for states to own slaves. Free labor drove the Southern economy. Without slavery the white privileged would go broke or worse, have to work themselves. Besides; what to do with all the freed blacks? Southerners were not ready to have blacks as neighbors and were frightened of retribution. Poverty and fear are reasons to start a war. Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation is remembered by history as an altruistic humanitarian effort but it was more a brilliant tactical move. History did get the importance aspect right, the slaves were freed, the union preserved and Lincoln the architect of it all during the most tumultuous time in American history. It was about slavery. Southern states thought of Lincoln as “an obscure and illiterate man” whose “opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery.” (Ball, 2010). As each state formerly left the Union it cited slavery as the main reason for secession. Hard-line secessionists were rightfully convinced that Lincoln’s election would result in the freeing of slaves. Known as ‘Fire-eaters,’ they used shame and fear to convince wavering Southerners of their stance, that slave-owning states had no choice but to form their own country. “Resistance or submission” was the fire-eaters rallying cry. Southerners were implored to defend their rights. Those who resisted were publicly humiliated, branded as cowards. Events such as John Brown’s Raid helped the fire-eaters to convince people to join their cause. Panicky white men joined vigilante groups which targeted Northern sympathizers and former slaves meaning, to them, any black person. (Barney, 2004). Prior to the start of the Civil War Kansas experienced the wrath of fire-eaters paramilitary terrorist groups when its citizens were deciding whether or not to become a slave state. They used intimidation as a tactic to get the desired results. In retribution for their reign of terror, John Brown led a group of men who killed five pro-slavery settlers then stole guns from the military at Harper’s Ferry so to continue the fight but were stopped prior to committing more killings. Coincidentally, Brown and his followers were captured by future commanding Confederate General Robert E. Lee who was leading a group of marines at the time. (KEDT, 1999). Unfortunately for Brown his actions ultimately led to his execution by hanging and generated greater support for the pro-slavery faction. Lincoln was an adamant believer in the idea of the U.S., in democracy and individual freedom. He wanted America to be the shining example for other nations to follow. He knew that if the country became divided it would be widely perceived that the grand experiment of democracy didn’t work, a travesty on a worldwide, historic scale. Lincoln insisted that “the unity of the nation must be maintained. If the nation breaks up, the democratic mission is dead.” (Coker, 2013). As late as 1860 Lincoln said that blacks were entitled to some rights but not to vote or hold office. He had strongly suggested blacks be sent to live elsewhere, ‘rounded up’ so to speak but with the War still very much anybody’s to win and enthusiasm waning, Lincoln needed a new strategy. He added a new element to the struggle by proclaiming all slaves free in 1862. It was now society against society in addition to army against army, a battle of conscience fought alongside a battle of weapons; the former Lincoln thought he was surer to win. He was never considered a military genius but demonstrated his ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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