Abraham Lincoln's Presidency Term Paper

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Abraham Lincoln's Presidency

Abraham Lincoln is considered to be one of the most important American presidents of its history. He has been portrayed as a symbol of liberty, national unity, and political transformation. His contribution in all these areas is important for the overall development of the country and for its emergence on the international arena.

Lincoln was well-known even before the Civil War as an important political man especially in discussing the issue of slavery and national unity inside the Confederation. However, his qualities as a strategist, political figure, and symbol of the nation were revealed during the Civil War and through his acts that offered the Constitution the true power of its provisions. One of his most important actions was the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 which made all slaves free.

The personality of Abraham Lincoln must be analyzed from the perspectives offered by the actions he underwent throughout his presidency, including the Civil War and its aftermath. In this sense, his career must be looked at from a military point-of-view, from the perspective offered by the national strategy he conducted during the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation initiative, as well as from the point-of-view of its effects, reasons, and outcomes.

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The historical background of his presidency was greatly marked by the issue of slavery and the controversy surrounding it. The Constitution provided that all men are created equal and that every human being should enjoy certain inalienable rights conferred to them by the nature of the human being. However, the "peculiar institution" placed in question this issue and denied African-Americans the right to be free and to determine their future on their own. Form this point-of-view the discussions on this issue affected both the history of the states at that time and the structure of the society, especially the relationship between the white and the black population.

Term Paper on Abraham Lincoln's Presidency Assignment

The Civil War had numerous causes; however, they were related to the increasing tensions existing between the northern and the southern states. These revolved around the idea of the acceptance of slavery as a useful institution and a necessary one. However, the issue of the Civil War also gave birth to a series of issues that came to question the unity of the nation because there was the matter of each state being able to decide for itself in the matter of slavery. Nonetheless, while states in the north questioned the morality and necessity of slave workers, the south considered it to be the cornerstone of their economic prosperity at this point the split had been created. In this sense, after the end of the war, Lincoln underlined the actual reason for going to war in the first place "we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth" (the White House, n.d.).

Abraham Lincoln saw the Civil War to be a necessary evil destined to give back the unity of the American nation. At the same time, the Civil War was a war fought for the equality among men. During the Gettysburg Address, he pointed out that "Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure." Therefore, it can be said that the main reason for the Civil War according to Lincoln was to keep united the country. The same idea was expressed in the "House Divided" speech part of the Lincoln- Douglas debate in which he pointed out the fact that the issue of slavery would lead to the destruction of the unity of the nation.

His military and strategic qualities enabled him to achieve a relative sense of unity among the population that survived the Civil War. However, in order to assess his achievements, it is important to consider his actions during this time.

Although he had a rather good political visibility, he could not manage the front stage in the republican political life. However he became president in 1861. However the times were turbulent and at the time of his arrival in Washington, "the Confederate States of America had been formed. In his first inaugural address, Lincoln tried to woo the South back into the Union, but after the bombardment of Fort Sumter, April 12, he called for 75,000 volunteers to suppress "the insurrection," declared a blockade of Southern ports, and authorized the suspension of Habeas Corpus in areas threatened by pro-secessionist elements." This attitude represented an important step in his approach concerning the Civil War because it represented the approval of the use of force in order to bring back the order and unity in the country. Many of the politicians of the time considered him to be a tyrant precisely because he intervened in the exercise of their Constitutional rights. However, he considered that a more important role must be played by the desire for unity rather than the respect for socially enabled rights.

His belief came from a rather well developed sense of rationality. He pointed out the role this element plays in choosing the actual priorities of the political leaders. In this sense, "Lincoln warned that the pillars of the republic must fall "unless we, their descendants, supply their places with other pillars, hewn from the solid quarry of sober reason. Passion has helped us; but can do so no more. It will in future be our enemy. Reason, cold, calculating, unimpassioned reason, must furnish all the materials for our future support and defense." Therefore, from this perspective it can be said that the most important reason for which he actually considered the solution of the civil war between the northern and the southern states was the rationale behind all possible solutions. Thus, his choice was calculated and discussed in terms of benefits and advantages, as opposed to disadvantages and more importantly to the eventual total dissolution of the national unity.

The choice of military use can also be justified by the fact that he trusted the forces at his disposal. From the point-of-view of the human potential, the North had a larger power than the South. Therefore, the advantage was obvious. Moreover, the fact that the worst alternative to a war was the dissolution of the state, the President assumed responsibility and decided that the best response to the resupply attempt in Charleston was to call for troops to put down the rebellion. The first spark of the war was Lincoln's decision to retaliate and to command its forces against the Confederation.

Despite the fact that the president had a military advantage over the South, the South had a better strategic position, an element which made Lincoln's task increasingly harder. However there are voices that considered the issue of the war in terms of military failure by the Confederation rather the success of the Union. In this sense, in relation to the military aspects, "Historians have often attributed the failure of the Southern Confederacy to win its independence to its inferiority in available manpower and to other equally tangible factors such as inadequate industrial support, weak internal transportation, and a dearth of naval facilities. Indeed, for more than a generation after the end of the war, Union numerical and material superiority seemed, to Southern observers at least, to constitute a full explanation for Confederate defeat." However, the actual military task of the Union was to conquer more than 750,000 square miles of enemy territory and not a mere defensive war. In this sense, the technique applied involved a more active military technique and additional resources.

The strategic initiative of President Lincoln included the use of the military in order to conquer and subject the major cities in the South. The perspective the South had on the actual war revolved around the idea of a defensive war. In this sense, "if the South could keep its army in the field until the North lost the will to fight, the Confederacy would win the war. In contrast, the North needed to attack on a broad front and sustain long avenues of communication and supply. Whereas the South merely had to defend itself, the North needed to destroy the South's capacity to make war and compel total surrender." Therefore, it can be said that the strategy of the North needed to be more aggressive than the South's.

In determining the direction for his action, not necessarily in terms of military action, but in discussing the overall approach of the situation, Lincoln had to face certain challenges. On the one hand, he had to consider a way and means to rally the support of his northern compatriots. In this sense, he used not only the issue… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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