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Abraham Lincoln’s Presidency Essay

2179 words - 9 pages

Abraham Lincoln is a hero to all Americans for he preserved our Union and abolished slavery. Lincoln combined the forces of strength, courage, will, and morality to guide America through a time marked by complete social upheaval and Civil War. Lincoln entered the White House burdened by an oppressive set of domestic issues; the most pressing was the rift between the North and South. Before Lincoln’s inauguration, the Union was dissolving, and he was left with only one choice, to preserve America and to make war against the South. On a scale of one to ten, ten being the highest, Lincoln and his administration would rank as an eight.
Lincoln’s presidency was unique, for it was the only one that endured a Civil War that tore and nearly ruptured the fabric that bound the states together. The war focused his administration on the singular goal to preserve the Union. This central mission fostered several tasks to ensure Northern victory, such as preventing the South from gaining foreign recognition, keeping the Border States in the Union, and stabilizing leadership within the Union army. Despite the prevailing dogma that overwhelmed the Southerners’ view, Lincoln’s primary goal was not to abolish slavery, but to preserve the Union. However, it turned out that the only way to save the Union was to expunge slavery. Lincoln succeeded in limiting the depth of the rift between the North and South, and rejoining the two sides.
It would have been easy for President Lincoln to appoint members to his cabinet that agreed with him through every perilous decision. Lincoln, however, had the fortitude to choose men who not only disagreed with him on many pressing issues, but also greatly disrespected him. He knew that these men would give their deafeningly honest opinions about the problems at hand, and would give their best efforts to find an effective solution. As Doris Kearns Goodwin so aptly says in her Pulitzer Prize winning book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln chose deep political rivals such as Salmon P. Chase, William H. Seward, and Edward Bates, for the cabinet positions of Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of War, and Attorney General, respectively (Goodwin). All of these men ran against Lincoln in the 1860 Republican Party Presidential primary, and berated Lincoln with political and personal attacks. They strongly disagreed with his approaches to many integral issues, yet Lincoln appointed them all due to their political genius and their intense loyalty to the Union. Throughout his administration, Lincoln sought advice on a wide variety of matters, where his cabinet had opinions that dissented from his own. For example, the eventual acquisition of Alaska through the proposal by William H. Seward was only possible under President Johnson because of Lincoln’s strong objections to the plan. Lincoln greatly respected the opinions of his cabinet members and chose them because of their intelligent opposition to...

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