Abraham Lincoln Essay

1755 words - 7 pages

Abraham Lincoln’s ambition, passion, and ideas changed the course of the United States forever. He could have run for senator in Illinois, lost, and only been a footnote in history, but instead he went on to be one of the most important presidents in the history of the United States. This happened not just because of his strong morals and his ideas, although that was a large part of it, but also for other reasons. He knew how to remain moderate enough that he would appear to not only the most loyal Republicans. He appealed to the basis of the country, the Constitution, Declaration, and the wishes of the forefathers to gain sympathy for his cause. However, it was not only his ideas and what he spoke about that made him so powerful and successful. Lincoln was a spectacular orator, one who could win over crowds and distill the most complex issues into terms that anyone could understand. He had not had a formal education, and could easily relate with the people he wanted to represent, which helped him get elected. His beliefs were strong enough that he would fight for them, but he was an excellent politician in that he knew where in the middle to settle to get enough votes to win. His ability to win people over gave Lincoln the power to put his ideas into motion, and those beliefs and morals changed the world.
Lincoln’s core belief that carried all the way from his senate campaign to his presidency was a need to stop the spread of slavery and, later on, to destroy the institution altogether. In Lincoln’s reaction to the Kansas-Nebraska Act, one of his earlier speeches, this value is the guiding point. Lincoln argued that giving slavery the ability to spread to Kansas and Nebraska was not only immoral, but also against the founders’ wishes. The morality and wrongness of slavery were huge parts of Lincoln’s arguments; the idea that a man owning another man was completely unethical. He argued in this speech that if slavery was right, as the Southerners believed it was, then the Northerners would have had no reason to be slaves. There would be no free blacks in the United States “but for something which has operated on their white owners, inducing them, at vast pecuniary sacrifices, to liberate them. What is that something? Is there any mistaking it? In all these cases it is [their] sense of justice, and human sympathy, continually telling [them], that the poor negro has some natural right to himself” (5). Lincoln repeats his demands for morality throughout all of his speeches, and speaks of it in extremely compelling ways.
Many of Lincoln’s arguments against the spread of slavery are based on morality, but another one of his points is that slavery is unconstitutional. It also is against the Declaration, because if all men are created equal then no man can be held in slavery. In his response to the Dred Scott decision, he states that all men are “equal in ‘certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’”...

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