Abraham Lincoln Essay, Research Paper
Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, guided his state through the most annihilating experience in its national history & # 8211 ; the Civil War. He is considered by many historiographers to hold been the greatest American president.Early LifeLincoln was born on Feb. 12, 1809, in a log cabin in Hardin ( now Larue ) County, Ky. Indians had killed his gramps, Lincoln wrote, & # 8220 ; when he was tuging to open a farm in the forest & # 8221 ; in 1786 ; this calamity left his male parent, Thomas Lincoln, & # 8220 ; a rolling laboring male child & # 8221 ; who & # 8220 ; grew up, litterally [ sic ] without education. & # 8221 ; Thomas, however, became a skilled carpenter and purchased three farms in Kentucky before the Lincolns left the province. Small is known about Lincoln & # 8217 ; s female parent, Nancy Hanks Lincoln. Abraham had an older sister, Sarah, and a younger brother, Thomas, who died in infancy.In 1816 the Lincolns moved to Indiana, & # 8220 ; partially on history of bondage, & # 8221 ; Abraham recalled, & # 8220 ; but chiefly on history of trouble in land rubrics in Ky. & # 8221 ; Land ownership was more unafraid in Indiana because the Land Ordinance of 1785 provided for studies by the federal authorities ; furthermore, the Northwest Regulation of 1787 forbade bondage at that place. Lincoln & # 8217 ; s parents belonged to a cabal of the Baptist churchs that disapproved of bondage, and this association may account for Abraham & # 8217 ; s later statement that he was & # 8220 ; of course anti-slavery & # 8221 ; and could non retrieve when he & # 8220 ; did non so believe, and feel. & # 8221 ; Indiana was a & # 8220 ; wild part, with many bears and other wild animate beings still in the woods. & # 8221 ; The Lincolns & # 8217 ; life near Little Pigeon Creek, in Perry ( now Spencer ) County, was non easy. Lincoln & # 8220 ; was raised to farm work & # 8221 ; and recalled life in this & # 8220 ; unbroken forest & # 8221 ; as a battle & # 8220 ; with trees and logs and grubs. & # 8221 ; & # 8220 ; There was perfectly nil to excite aspiration for instruction, & # 8221 ; Lincoln was subsequently to remember ; he attended & # 8220 ; some schools, so called, & # 8221 ; but for less than a twelvemonth wholly. & # 8220 ; Still, someway, & # 8221 ; he remembered, & # 8220 ; I could read, compose, and cypher to the Rule of Three ; but that was all. & # 8221 ; Lincoln & # 8217 ; s mother died in 1818, and the undermentioned twelvemonth his male parent married a Kentucky widow, Sarah Bush Johnston. She & # 8220 ; proved a good and sort mother. & # 8221 ; In later old ages Lincoln could lovingly and poetically recall memories of his & # 8220 ; childhood home. & # 8221 ; In 1828 he was able to do a barge trip to New Orleans. His sister died in childbearing the same year.In 1830 the Lincolns left Indiana for Illinois. Abraham made a 2nd barge trip to New Orleans, and in 1831 he left place for New Salem, in Sangamon County near Springfield. The separation may hold been made easier by Lincoln & # 8217 ; s alienation from his male parent, of whom he spoke small in his mature life. In New Salem, Lincoln tried assorted businesss and served briefly in the Black Hawk War ( 1832 ) . This military interlude was uneventful except for the fact that he was elected captain of his voluntary company, a differentiation that gave him & # 8220 ; much satisfaction. & # 8221 ; It opened new avenues for his life.Illinois LegislatorP1Lincoln ran unsuccessfully for the Illinois legislative assembly in 1832. Two old ages subsequently he was elected to the lower house for the first of four consecutive footings ( until 1841 ) as a Whig. His rank in the Whig party was natural. Lincoln & # 8217 ; s male parent was a Whig, and the party & # 8217 ; s ambitious plan of national economic development was the perfect solution to the jobs Lincoln had seen in his rural, hardscrabble Indiana yesteryear. His first platform ( 1832 ) announced that & # 8220 ; Time and experience & # 8230 ; verified & # 8230 ; that the poorest and most thinly populated states would be greatly benefitted by the gap of good roads, and in the glade of navigable watercourses & # 8230 ; .There can non rightly be any expostulation to holding rail roads and canals. & # 8221 ; As a Whig, Lincoln supported the Second Bank of the United States, the Illinois State Bank, government-sponsored internal betterments ( roads, canals, railwaies, seaports ) , and protective duties. His Whig vision of the West, derived from Henry Clay, was non at all pastoral. Unlike most successful American politicians, Lincoln was tough-minded about agribusiness, naming husbandmans in 1859 & # 8220 ; neither better nor worse than any other people. & # 8221 ; He remained witting of his low beginnings and was hence sympathetic to labour as & # 8220 ; anterior to, and independent of, capital. & # 8221 ; He bore no hostility to capital, nevertheless, look up toing the American system of economic chance in which the & # 8220 ; adult male who labored for another last twelvemonth, this twelvemonth labors for himself, and following twelvemonth he will engage others to labour for him. & # 8221 ; Slavery was the antonym of chance and mobility, and Lincoln stated his political resistance to it every bit early as 1837.Lawyer and U.S. RepresentativeEncouraged by Whig legislator John Todd Stuart, Lincoln became a attorney in 1836, and in 1837 he moved to Springfield, where he became Stuart & # 8217 ; s jurisprudence spouse. With a sequence of spouses, including Stephen T. Logan and William H. Herndon, Lincoln built a successful pattern. Lincoln courted Mary Todd, a Kentuckian of much more genteel beginnings than he. After a brief delay of their battle, which plummeted Lincoln into a deep enchantment of melancholy, they were married on Nov. 4, 1842. They had four boies: Robert Todd ( 1843-1926 ) , Edward Baker ( 1846-50 ) , William Wallace ( 1850-62 ) , and Thomas & # 8220 ; Tad & # 8221 ; ( 1853-71 ) . Mary Todd Lincoln was a Presbyterian, but her hubby was ne’er a church member.Lincoln served one term ( 1847-49 ) as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, where he opposed the Mexican War & # 8211 ; Whigs did everyplace & # 8211 ; as unneeded and unconstitutional. This resistance was non a map of internationalist understanding for Mexico ( Lincoln thought the war inevitable ) but of feeling that the Democratic president, James Polk, had violated the Constitution. Lincoln had been apathetic about the appropriation of Texas, already a slave district, but he opposed any enlargement that would let bondage into new countries ; hence, he supported the Wilmot Proviso, which would hold barred bondage from any district gained as a consequence of the Mexican War. He did non run for Congress once more, returning alternatively to Springfield and the law.The Slavery Issue and the Lincoln-Douglas DebatesLincoln & # 8220 ; was losing involvement in political relations & # 8221 ; when the Kansas-Nebraska Act was passed by Congress in 1854. This statute law opened lands antecedently closed to slavery to the possibility of its spread by local option ( popular sovereignty ) ; Lincoln viewed the commissariats of the act as immoral. Although he was non an emancipationist and thought bondage unalterably protected by the Constitution in provinces where it already existed, Lincoln besides thought that America & # 8217 ; s laminitiss had put slavery on the manner to & # 8220 ; ultimate extinction & # 8221 ; by forestalling its spread to new districts. He saw this act, which had been sponsored by Democratic Senator Stephen A. Douglas, as a new and dismaying development.P2Lincoln vied for the U.S. Senate in 1855 but finally threw his support to Lyman Trumbull. In 1856 he joined the freshly formed Republican party, and two old ages subsequently he campaigned for the Senate against Douglas. In his address
at Springfield in acceptance of the Republican senatorial nomination (June 16, 1858) Lincoln suggested that Douglas, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, and Democratic presidents Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan had conspired to nationalize slavery. In the same speech he expressed the view that the nation would become either all slave or all free: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” The underdog in the senatorial campaign, Lincoln wished to share Douglas’s fame by appearing with him in debates. Douglas agreed to seven debates: in Ottawa, Freeport, Jonesboro, Charleston, Galesburg, Quincy, and Alton, Ill. Lincoln knew that Douglas–now fighting the Democratic Buchanan administration over the constitution to be adopted by Kansas–had alienated his Southern support; and he feared Douglas’s new appeal to eastern Republicans now that Douglas was battling the South. Lincoln’s strategy, therefore, was to stress the gulf of principle that separated Republican opposition to slavery as a moral wrong from the moral indifference of the Democrats, embodied in legislation allowing popular sovereignty to decide the fate of each territory. Douglas, Lincoln insisted, did not care whether slavery was “voted up or voted down.” By his vigorous showing against the famous Douglas, Lincoln won the debates and his first considerable national fame. He did not win the Senate seat, however; the Illinois legislature, dominated by Democratic holdovers in the upper house, elected Douglas.Election to the PresidencyIn February 1860, Lincoln made his first major political appearance in the Northeast when he addressed a rally at the Cooper Union in New York. He was now sufficiently well known to be a presidential candidate. At the Republican national convention in Chicago in May, William H. Seward was the leading candidate. Seward, however, had qualities that made him undesirable in the critical states the Republicans had lost in 1856: Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, and New Jersey. As a result Lincoln won the nomination by being the second choice of the majority.He went on to win the presidential election, defeating the Northern Democrat Douglas, the Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge, and the Constitutional Union candidate John Bell. Lincoln selected a strong cabinet that included all of his major rivals for the Republican nomination: Seward as secretary of state, Salmon P. Chase as secretary of the treasury, and Edward Bates as attorney general.By the time of Lincoln’s inauguration in March 1861, seven states had seceded from the Union. His conciliatory inaugural address had no effect on the South, and, against the advice of a majority of his cabinet, Lincoln decided to send provisions to Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor. The fort was a symbol of federal authority–conspicuous in the state that had led secession, South Carolina–and it would soon have had to be evacuated for lack of supplies. On Apr. 12, 1861, South Carolina fired on the fort, and the Civil War began.The Civil WarAs a commander in chief Lincoln was soon noted for vigorous measures, sometimes at odds with the Constitution and often at odds with the ideas of his military commanders. After a period of initial support and enthusiasm for George B. McClellan, Lincoln’s conflicts with that Democratic general helped to turn the latter into his presidential rival in 1864. Famed for his clemency for court-martialed soldiers, Lincoln nevertheless took a realistic view of war as best prosecuted by killing the enemy. Above all, he always sought a general, no matter what his politics, who would fight. He found such a general in Ulysses S. Grant, to whom he gave overall command in 1864. Thereafter, Lincoln took a less direct role in military planning, but his interest never wavered, and he died with a copy of Gen. William Sherman’s orders for the March to the Sea in his pocket.P3Politics vied with war as Lincoln’s major preoccupation in the presidency. The war required the deployment of huge numbers of men and quantities of materiel; for administrative assistance, therefore, Lincoln turned to the only large organization available for his use, the Republican party. With some rare but important exceptions (for example, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton), Republicans received the bulk of the civilian appointments from the cabinet to the local post offices. Lincoln tried throughout the war to keep the Republican party together and never consistently favored one faction in the party over another. Military appointments were divided between Republicans and Democrats.Democrats accused Lincoln of being a tyrant because he proscribed civil liberties. For example, he suspended the writ of habeas corpus in some areas as early as Apr. 27, 1861, and throughout the nation on Sept. 24, 1862, and the administration made over 13,000 arbitrary arrests. On the other hand, Lincoln tolerated virulent criticism from the press and politicians, often restrained his commanders from overzealous arrests, and showed no real tendencies toward becoming a dictator. There was never a hint that Lincoln might postpone the election of 1864, although he feared in August of that year that he would surely lose to McClellan. Democrats exaggerated Lincoln’s suppression of civil liberties, in part because wartime prosperity robbed them of economic issues and in part because Lincoln handled the slavery issue so skillfully.The Constitution protected slavery in peace, but in war, Lincoln came to believe, the commander in chief could abolish slavery as a military necessity. The preliminary Emancipation Proclamation of Sept. 22, 1862, bore this military justification, as did all of Lincoln’s racial measures, including especially his decision in the final proclamation of Jan. 1, 1863, to accept blacks in the army. By 1864, Democrats and Republicans differed clearly in their platforms on the race issue: Lincoln’s endorsed the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution abolishing slavery, whereas McClellan’s pledged to return to the South the rights it had had in 1860.Lincoln’s victory in that election thus changed the racial future of the United States. It also agitated Southern-sympathizer and Negrophobe John Wilkes Booth (see Booth, family), who began to conspire first to abduct Lincoln and later to kill him. On Apr. 14, 1865, five days after Robert E. Lee’s surrender to Grant at Appomattox Court House, Lincoln attended a performance of Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theatre in Washington. There Booth entered the presidential box and shot Lincoln. The next morning at 7:22 Lincoln died.Lincoln’s achievements–saving the Union and freeing the slaves–and his martyrdom just at the war’s end assured his lasting fame. No small contribution was made by his extraordinary eloquence–exemplified in the Gettysburg Address (Nov. 19, 1863), in which he defined the war as a rededication to the egalitarian ideals of the Declaration of Independence, and in his second inaugural address (Mar. 4, 1865), in which he urged “malice toward none” and “charity for all” in the peace to come.