Lincoln: Emancipation As A Means To End War

2376 words - 10 pages

What factors allow a political figure to rise and become one of the most influential figures in history? Abraham Lincoln has gone down as one of the most prominent presidents in the American History. From his inauguration in 1861 to his assassination in 1865, Lincoln was faced one of the most troublesome times in the History of America, having to deal with an institution of slavery that was destroying the American Union and leading the country to its demise through a civil war that resulted in thousands of casualties. As President, he would do the near impossible, and would end the bloodshed between the ideological different north and south to a once again unite America under one union, while eliminating the very institution that had been at the core of Americas troubles since its founding in 1776.
The institution of slavery and the status of African Americans in relationship to Lincoln must be analyzed further, as it was a crucial aspect of his presidency and distinction as a great political leader. Although Lincoln was opposed to the enslavement of other men, as he viewed it as a great moral evil, he was not known to be an abolitionist or posses extreme abolitionist views. During his inauguration speech, he went so far as to state that he would not "interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists" , showing that his goal was to simply prevent slavery's spread onto the free unclaimed soils of American that had yet to be divided. Yet, Lincoln would eventually be a supporter of Emancipation and bring it to fruition under his presidency. How did he go from an individual who was simply opposed to the spread of slavery to one who is known to be "The Great Emancipator" ? This essay will therefore examine Lincoln's views on the institution of slavery and African Americans, demonstrating how he believed that the institution was a key factor that was causing American's internal troubles, and how this would lead to his eventual decision towards the emancipation act which would lead to the end of the civil war and the eventual abolishment of slavery within the United States.
From the beginning of his political rise to his declaration of the emancipation proclamation, Lincoln's personal views on the institution of slavery and African Americans would have an influence on his political decision-making. His views between the slavery and African Americans however, would differ drastically. When looking at slavery, Lincoln was extremely opposed to the system, believing that it was moral wrong to enslave human beings. He highlights this view on several occasions. In a speech on the Kansas - Nebraska Act in Peoria, Illinois in 1854, Lincoln describes how he was opposed to the spread of slavery to new American territories, due to the "monstrous injustice of slavery itself" . His views were further expressed in a letter to one of his oldest friends, Joshua F. Speed, where he would discuss a time when they were together on a steam -...

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