This investigation will evaluate to what extent was Lincoln’s leadership essential to the Northern victory in the Civil War? In order to determine whether or not Lincoln’s presidential leadership truly did influence the outcome of the American Civil War, the investigation focuses on several historical accounts of his life and presidency during the years in which the Civil War took place. His decisions during this time period, as well as any legislation passed while he was in office during the Civil War, are also explored. The authors’ backgrounds as well as the strengths and limitations of their works are to be considered within the investigation.
B. Summary of Evidence
When Abraham Lincoln was elected in 1860, Southerners were in an uproar and left the Union of the United States of America. Lincoln was opposed to the spread of slavery to the west and he simply wanted to preserve the Union, however his opinion toward slavery pushed away the Southerners and caused them to secede. (Foote) Seven slave states left the Union initially to form the Confederate States of America, and four more joined when skirmishes began to break out between the North and the South. Lincoln vowed to preserve the Union, enforce the laws of the United States, and end the secession (Abraham Lincoln).
Lincoln’s election created a crisis for the nation, as many southern Democrats feared that it would just be a matter of time before Lincoln would move to kill slavery in the South. Rather than face a future in which black people might become free citizens, much of the white South supported secession. (Wynalda) This reasoning was based upon the doctrine of states' rights, which placed ultimate sovereignty with the states. Lincoln vowed to preserve the Union even if it meant war. He eventually raised an army and navy of nearly 3 million northern men to face a southern army of over 2 million soldiers. (Abraham)
In Lincoln’s inaugural speech, he restated his promise to leave slavery where it already existed, and he assured the Confederate states that he would not punish them for their actions at Montgomery. He reminded them that no state could leave the Union "upon its own mere motion" and pledged to enforce the laws, "In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not mine, is the momentous issue of civil war"(Paludan). Not long after, Lincoln received a message from Fort Sumter asking for supplies, which he decided to give them. The Confederacy was wary of the Union ships and ended up firing on the fort, thus beginning the Civil War.
Throughout the War, Lincoln used war tactics that were immensely effective, such as the “Anaconda Plan”, cutting off all supplies to the confederate soldiers by occupying all Border States, blockading the Mississippi River thereby cutting the South in two and putting the confederacy on defense (McPherson).
Lincoln often visited Union war camps to talk to the soldiers. He also allowed the national bank to come into existence during this...