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To What Extent Was Lincoln A Mandate To Abolish Slavery?

998 words - 4 pages

The South feared that their rights to slavery were in jeopardy with the election of Republican, Abraham Lincoln. However, the election of Lincoln was not a mandate for the abolition of slavery in the United States. Lincoln's primary platform while running for president was to stop the spread of slavery, not to abolish it. His Republican principles were the foundation for his disapproval of slavery. However, Lincoln realized that slavery was protected by the constitution and that he did not hold the power to abolish slavery. The popular votes showed that more than half of the population did not vote for Lincoln. The outcome of the election was not a mandate to end slavery because Lincoln did not receive the majority of the popular votes and he had no intention of abolishing slavery.Although Abraham Lincoln disapproved of slavery, he had no intention of abolishing it. Prior to his election, slavery was legal and the ownership of slaves was defended by the constitution as private property. Lincoln understood this law, the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, and he recognized the restrictions of the government when dealing with slavery. It is stated in the Fifth Amendment that "private property can not be taken for public use, without just compensation." During Lincoln's First Inaugural Address, he stated "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so." Lincoln did, however, express his desire to stop the spread of slavery and even to see slavery abolished in the District of Columbia.Lincoln was acutely aware that slavery was protected under the constitution, yet he still expressed his discontent of it by saying he would be "exceedingly glad to see Slavery abolished in the District of Columbia." Lincoln only wanted this if it happened under certain conditions which he viewed as fair to the southern states. In the Lincoln-Douglas Debate at Freeport, Illinois, he stated "I should not, with my present views, be in favor of endeavoring to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia, unless it would be upon these conditions: First that the abolition should be gradual; second, that it should be on a vote of the majority of qualified voters in the district, and third, that compensation should be made to unwilling owners." The plan to gradually end slavery, starting with the territories, (such as the District of Columbia) was not popular with the country. Although the country respected and supported Lincoln, they did not always agree with his views. This country was founded on democratic principles, and therefore it was the majority, not the opinion of one omnipotent ruler, that dictated the laws of the land.Lincoln managed to win the election through the Electoral College, where he received 180 votes. He only received 40 percent of the popular vote. Lincoln's name was not even present on the ballot in ten...

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