At his first speech, when he saw a supporter in the crowd being attacked, Lincoln grabbed the assailant by his "neck and the seat of his trousers" and threw him. Lincoln served as New Salem's postmaster and later as county surveyor, all the while reading voraciously.
He then decided to become a lawyer and began teaching himself law by reading Blackstone 's Commentaries on the Laws of England and other law books. Of his learning method, Lincoln stated: He won election to the state legislature; though he ran as a Whig , many Democrats favored him over a more powerful Whig opponent. Admitted to the Illinois bar in ,  he moved to Springfield, Illinois, and began to practice law under John T. Stuart , Mary Todd's cousin.
He partnered with Stephen T. Logan from until Then Lincoln began his practice with William Herndon , whom Lincoln thought "a studious young man". Successful on his second run for office, Lincoln served four successive terms in the Illinois House of Representatives as a Whig representative from Sangamon County.
He first articulated this in , saying, "[The] Institution of slavery is founded on both injustice and bad policy, but the promulgation of abolition doctrines tends rather to increase than abate its evils. From the early s, Lincoln was a steadfast Whig and professed to friends in to be "an old line Whig, a disciple of Henry Clay".
Lincoln ran for the Whig nomination for Illinois's 7th district of the U. House of Representatives in , but was defeated by John J. However, Lincoln won support for the principle of rotation, whereby Hardin would retire after only one term to allow for the nomination of another candidate. Lincoln hoped that this arrangement would lead to his nomination in He was the only Whig in the Illinois delegation, but he showed his party loyalty by participating in almost all votes and making speeches that echoed the party line.
Giddings , wrote a bill to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia with compensation for the owners, enforcement to capture fugitive slaves, and a popular vote on the matter.
He abandoned the bill when it failed to garner sufficient Whig supporters. On foreign and military policy, Lincoln spoke out against the Mexican—American War , which he attributed to President Polk 's desire for "military glory—that attractive rainbow, that rises in showers of blood". Lincoln emphasized his opposition to Polk by drafting and introducing his Spot Resolutions.
The war had begun with a Mexican slaughter of American soldiers in territory disputed by Mexico and the U. Polk insisted that Mexican soldiers had "invaded our territory and shed the blood of our fellow-citizens on our own soil ".
Congress never enacted the resolution or even debated it, the national papers ignored it, and it resulted in a loss of political support for Lincoln in his district. One Illinois newspaper derisively nicknamed him "spotty Lincoln".
Realizing Clay was unlikely to win the presidency, Lincoln, who had pledged in to serve only one term in the House, supported General Zachary Taylor for the Whig nomination in the presidential election. Lincoln returned to practicing law in Springfield, handling "every kind of business that could come before a prairie lawyer". As a riverboat man, Lincoln initially favored those interests, but ultimately represented whoever hired him.
The idea was never commercialized, but Lincoln is the only president to hold a patent. Barret, who had refused to pay the balance on his pledge to buy shares in the railroad on the grounds that the company had changed its original train route.
The decision by the Illinois Supreme Court has been cited by numerous other courts in the nation. Lincoln's most notable criminal trial occurred in when he defended William "Duff" Armstrong , who was on trial for the murder of James Preston Metzker. After an opposing witness testified seeing the crime in the moonlight, Lincoln produced a Farmers' Almanac showing the moon was at a low angle, drastically reducing visibility.
Based on this evidence, Armstrong was acquitted. Lincoln rarely raised objections in the courtroom; but in an case, where he defended a cousin, Peachy Harrison, who was accused of stabbing another to death, Lincoln angrily protested the judge's decision to exclude evidence favorable to his client. Instead of holding Lincoln in contempt of court as was expected, the judge, a Democrat, reversed his ruling, allowing the evidence and acquitting Harrison.
The debate over the status of slavery in the territories exacerbated sectional tensions between the slave-holding South and the North, and the Compromise of failed to defuse the issue. Douglas of Illinois proposed popular sovereignty as a compromise measure; the proposal would take the issue of slavery out of the hands of Congress by allowing the electorate of each territory to decide the status of slavery themselves.
The proposal alarmed many Northerners, who hoped to stop the spread of slavery into the territories. For months after its passage, Lincoln did not publicly comment on the Kansas—Nebraska Act, but he came to strongly oppose it. I cannot but hate it.
I hate it because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself. I hate it because it deprives our republican example of its just influence in the world Nationally, the Whigs were irreparably split by the Kansas—Nebraska Act and other efforts to compromise on the slavery issue. Reflecting the demise of his party, Lincoln would write in , "I think I am a Whig, but others say there are no Whigs, and that I am an abolitionist [ In the elections, Lincoln was elected to the Illinois legislature but declined to take his seat.
Trumbull was an antislavery Democrat, and had received few votes in the earlier ballots; his supporters, also antislavery Democrats, had vowed not to support any Whig. Lincoln's decision to withdraw enabled his Whig supporters and Trumbull's antislavery Democrats to combine and defeat the mainstream Democratic candidate, Joel Aldrich Matteson.
In part due to the ongoing violent political confrontations in the Kansas , opposition to the Kansas—Nebraska Act remained strong in Illinois and throughout the North. As the elections approached, Lincoln abandoned the defunct Whig Party in favor of the Republicans.
The convention platform asserted that Congress had the right to regulate slavery in the territories and called for the immediate admission of Kansas as a free state. Lincoln gave the final speech of the convention, in which he endorsed the party platform and called for the preservation of the Union. Lincoln strongly supported the Republican ticket, campaigning for the party throughout Illinois.
The Democrats nominated former Ambassador James Buchanan , who had been out of the country since and thus had avoided the debate over slavery in the territories, while the Know Nothings nominated former Whig President Millard Fillmore.
Though Lincoln did not himself win office, his vigorous campaigning had made him the leading Republican in Illinois.
Eric Foner contrasts the abolitionists and anti-slavery Radical Republicans of the Northeast who saw slavery as a sin, with the conservative Republicans who thought it was bad because it hurt white people and blocked progress. Foner argues that Lincoln was a moderate in the middle, opposing slavery primarily because it violated the republicanism principles of the Founding Fathers , especially the equality of all men and democratic self-government as expressed in the Declaration of Independence.
The opinion by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney held that blacks were not citizens and derived no rights from the Constitution.
While many Democrats hoped that Dred Scott would end the dispute over slavery in the territories, the decision sparked further outrage in the North. Douglas was up for re-election in , and Lincoln hoped to defeat the powerful Illinois Democrat. With the former Democrat Trumbull now serving as a Republican Senator, many in the party felt that a former Whig should be nominated in , and Lincoln's campaigning and willingness to support Trumbull in had earned him favor in the party.
For the first time, Illinois Republicans held a convention to agree upon a Senate candidate, and Lincoln won the party's Senate nomination with little opposition. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free.
I do not expect the Union to be dissolved—I do not expect the house to fall—but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other. The Senate campaign featured the seven Lincoln—Douglas debates of , the most famous political debates in American history.
Lincoln warned that " The Slave Power " was threatening the values of republicanism, and accused Douglas of distorting the values of the Founding Fathers that all men are created equal , while Douglas emphasized his Freeport Doctrine , that local settlers were free to choose whether to allow slavery or not, and accused Lincoln of having joined the abolitionists.
Lincoln stated Douglas' popular sovereignty theory was a threat to the nation's morality and that Douglas represented a conspiracy to extend slavery to free states.
Douglas said that Lincoln was defying the authority of the U. Supreme Court and the Dred Scott decision. Though the Republican legislative candidates won more popular votes, the Democrats won more seats, and the legislature re-elected Douglas to the Senate. Despite the bitterness of the defeat for Lincoln, his articulation of the issues gave him a national political reputation. Seward , Salmon P. Chase , Edward Bates , and Simon Cameron looming as rivals for the nomination.
While Lincoln was popular in the Midwest, he lacked support in the Northeast, and was unsure as to whether he should seek the presidency. Lincoln argued that the Founding Fathers had little use for popular sovereignty and had repeatedly sought to restrict slavery. Lincoln insisted the moral foundation of the Republicans required opposition to slavery, and rejected any "groping for some middle ground between the right and the wrong".
Journalist Noah Brooks reported, "No man ever before made such an impression on his first appeal to a New York audience. Historian Donald described the speech as a "superb political move for an unannounced candidate, to appear in one rival's Seward own state at an event sponsored by the second rival's Chase loyalists, while not mentioning either by name during its delivery". Lincoln's success depended on his campaign team, his reputation as a moderate on the slavery issue, and his strong support for Whiggish programs of internal improvements and the protective tariff.
On the third ballot Pennsylvania put him over the top. Pennsylvania iron interests were reassured by his support for protective tariffs. Most Republicans agreed with Lincoln that the North was the aggrieved party, as the Slave Power tightened its grasp on the national government with the Dred Scott decision and the presidency of James Buchanan. Throughout the s, Lincoln doubted the prospects of civil war, and his supporters rejected claims that his election would incite secession.
Delegates from 11 slave states walked out of the Democratic convention , disagreeing with Douglas' position on popular sovereignty, and ultimately selected incumbent Vice President John C. Breckinridge as their candidate. Lincoln and Douglas would compete for votes in the North, while Bell and Breckinridge primarily found support in the South.
Lincoln had a highly effective campaign team who carefully projected his image as an ideal candidate. As Michael Martinez says:. Lincoln and his political advisers manipulated his image and background Sometimes he appeared as a straight-shooting, plain-talking, common-sense-wielding man of the people.
His image as the "Rail Splitter" dates from this era. His supporters also portrayed him as "Honest Abe," the country fellow who was simply dressed and not especially polished or formal in his manner but who was as honest and trustworthy as his legs were long. Even Lincoln's tall, gangly frame was used to good advantage during the campaign as many drawings and posters show the candidates sprinting past his vertically challenged rivals.
At other times, Lincoln appeared as a sophisticated, thoughtful, articulate, "presidential" candidate. Prior to the Republican convention, the Lincoln campaign began cultivating a nationwide youth organization, the Wide Awakes , which it used to generate popular support for Lincoln throughout the country to spearhead large voter registration drives, knowing that new voters and young voters tend to embrace new and young parties.
People of the Northern states knew the Southern states would vote against Lincoln because of his ideas of anti-slavery and took action to rally supporters for Lincoln. As Douglas and the other candidates went through with their campaigns, Lincoln was the only one of them who gave no speeches.
Instead, he monitored the campaign closely and relied on the enthusiasm of the Republican Party. The party did the leg work that produced majorities across the North, and produced an abundance of campaign posters, leaflets, and newspaper editorials. There were thousands of Republican speakers who focused first on the party platform, and second on Lincoln's life story, emphasizing his childhood poverty.
The goal was to demonstrate the superior power of "free labor", whereby a common farm boy could work his way to the top by his own efforts. He was the first president from the Republican Party. His victory was entirely due to the strength of his support in the North and West; no ballots were cast for him in 10 of the 15 Southern slave states, and he won only two of counties in all the Southern states. Lincoln received 1,, votes, Douglas 1,, votes, Breckinridge , votes, and Bell , votes.
Douglas won Missouri, and split New Jersey with Lincoln. Although Lincoln won only a plurality of the popular vote, his victory in the electoral college was decisive: Lincoln had and his opponents added together had only There were fusion tickets in which all of Lincoln's opponents combined to support the same slate of Electors in New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, but even if the anti-Lincoln vote had been combined in every state, Lincoln still would have won a majority in the Electoral College.
As Lincoln's election became evident, secessionists made clear their intent to leave the Union before he took office the next March. There were attempts at compromise. The Crittenden Compromise would have extended the Missouri Compromise line of , dividing the territories into slave and free, contrary to the Republican Party's free-soil platform. Lincoln, however, did tacitly support the proposed Corwin Amendment to the Constitution, which passed Congress before Lincoln came into office and was then awaiting ratification by the states.
That proposed amendment would have protected slavery in states where it already existed and would have guaranteed that Congress would not interfere with slavery without Southern consent. En route to his inauguration by train, Lincoln addressed crowds and legislatures across the North. On February 23, , he arrived in disguise in Washington, D. Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States that by the accession of a Republican Administration their property and their peace and personal security are to be endangered.
There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. Indeed, the most ample evidence to the contrary has all the while existed and been open to their inspection. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of him who now addresses you. I do but quote from one of those speeches when I declare that "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.
The President ended his address with an appeal to the people of the South: We must not be enemies The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.
By March , no leaders of the insurrection had proposed rejoining the Union on any terms. Meanwhile, Lincoln and the Republican leadership agreed that the dismantling of the Union could not be tolerated. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the Nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came. The commander of Fort Sumter, South Carolina, Major Robert Anderson , sent a request for provisions to Washington, and the execution of Lincoln's order to meet that request was seen by the secessionists as an act of war.
On April 12, , Confederate forces fired on Union troops at Fort Sumter , forcing them to surrender, beginning the war.
Historian Allan Nevins argued that the newly inaugurated Lincoln made three miscalculations: William Tecumseh Sherman talked to Lincoln during inauguration week and was "sadly disappointed" at his failure to realize that "the country was sleeping on a volcano" and that the South was preparing for war. Sumter showed he adhered to his vow not to be the first to shed fraternal blood. But he also vowed not to surrender the forts. The only resolution of these contradictory positions was for the confederates to fire the first shot; they did just that.
On April 15, Lincoln called on all the states to send detachments totaling 75, troops to recapture forts, protect Washington, and "preserve the Union", which, in his view, still existed intact despite the actions of the seceding states. This call forced the states to choose sides. Virginia declared its secession and was rewarded with the Confederate capital, despite the exposed position of Richmond so close to Union lines. North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas also voted for secession over the next two months.
Secession sentiment was strong in Missouri and Maryland, but did not prevail; Kentucky tried to be neutral. Historian Allan Nevins says: The thunderclap of Sumter produced a startling crystallization of Northern sentiment Anger swept the land. From every side came news of mass meetings, speeches, resolutions, tenders of business support, the muster of companies and regiments, the determined action of governors and legislatures.
States sent Union regiments south in response to Lincoln's call to save the capital and confront the rebellion. On April 19, mobs in Baltimore, which controlled the rail links, attacked Union troops who were changing trains, and local leaders' groups later burned critical rail bridges to the capital. The Army responded by arresting local Maryland officials. Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus in areas the army felt it needed to secure for troops to reach Washington.
Taney , author of the controversial pro-slavery Dred Scott opinion, to issue a writ of habeas corpus , and in June Taney, acting as a circuit judge and not speaking for the Supreme Court, issued the writ, because in his opinion only Congress could suspend the writ. Lincoln continued the army policy that the writ was suspended in limited areas despite the Ex parte Merryman ruling. Before the Civil War, the only money issued by the United States was gold and silver coins, and only such coins "specie" were legal tender ; that is, payment in that form had to be accepted.
Paper currency in the form of banknotes was issued by privately owned banks. Greenbacks were paper currency printed in green on the back issued by the United States during the American Civil War , they were in two forms:.
They bore no interest, but could be redeemed for specie "on demand". They were not legal tender before March , but like Treasury Notes could be used to pay customs duties.
Unlike private and state banknotes, Demand Notes were printed on both sides. The reverse side was printed in green ink, and so the Demand Notes were dubbed "greenbacks". Initially they were discounted relative to gold, but being fully redeemable in gold were soon at par. In December , the government had to suspend redemption, and they declined. Chase authorized paying interest on Demand Notes, which sustained their value.
Importers therefore continued to use Demand Notes in place of gold. In March , Demand Notes were made legal tender. As Demand Notes were used to pay duties, they were taken out of circulation. The other form of greenbacks where the United States Notes issued in — They were legal tender by law, but were not backed by gold or silver , only the credibility of the U.
After the Battle of Fort Sumter , Lincoln realized the importance of taking immediate executive control of the war and forming an overall Union military strategy to put down the rebellion. Lincoln encountered an unprecedented political and military crisis, and he responded as commander-in-chief , using unprecedented powers. He expanded his war powers, and imposed a blockade on all the Confederate shipping ports, disbursed funds before appropriation by Congress, and after suspending habeas corpus , arrested and imprisoned thousands of suspected Confederate sympathizers.
Lincoln was supported by Congress and the northern public for these actions. In addition, Lincoln had to contend with reinforcing strong Union sympathies in the border slave states and keeping the war from becoming an international conflict. The war effort was the source of continued disparagement of Lincoln, and dominated his time and attention. From the start, it was clear that bipartisan support would be essential to success in the war effort, and any manner of compromise alienated factions on both sides of the aisle, such as the appointment of Republicans and Democrats to command positions in the Union Army.
Copperheads criticized Lincoln for refusing to compromise on the slavery issue. Conversely, the Radical Republicans criticized him for moving too slowly in abolishing slavery. In practice, the law had little effect, but it did signal political support for abolishing slavery in the Confederacy.
In late August , General John C. He declared that any citizen found bearing arms could be court-martialed and shot, and that slaves of persons aiding the rebellion would be freed.
Lincoln believed that Fremont's emancipation was political, neither militarily necessary nor legal. In foreign policy, Lincoln's main goal was to stop military aid from countries abroad to the Confederacy. Navy had illegally intercepted a British mail ship, the Trent , on the high seas and seized two Confederate envoys; Britain protested vehemently while the U.
Lincoln ended the crisis by releasing the two diplomats. Randall has dissected Lincoln's successful techniques: Lincoln painstakingly monitored the telegraphic reports coming into the War Department headquarters. He kept close tabs on all phases of the military effort, consulted with governors, and selected generals based on their past success as well as their state and party.
Nevertheless, he worked more often and more closely with Lincoln than any other senior official. In terms of war strategy, Lincoln articulated two priorities: McClellan general-in-chief of all the Union armies. The campaign's objective was to capture Richmond by moving the Army of the Potomac by boat to the peninsula and then overland to the Confederate capital.
McClellan's repeated delays frustrated Lincoln and Congress, as did his position that no troops were needed to defend Washington. Lincoln insisted on holding some of McClellan's troops in defense of the capital; McClellan, who consistently overestimated the strength of Confederate troops, blamed this decision for the ultimate failure of the Peninsula Campaign.
Lincoln removed McClellan as general-in-chief in March , after McClellan's "Harrison's Landing Letter", in which he offered unsolicited political advice to Lincoln urging caution in the war effort. Pope complied with Lincoln's strategic desire to move toward Richmond from the north, thus protecting the capital from attack.
However, lacking requested reinforcements from McClellan, now commanding the Army of the Potomac, Pope was soundly defeated at the Second Battle of Bull Run in the summer of , forcing the Army of the Potomac to defend Washington for a second time. Lincoln closely reviewed the dispatches and interrogated naval officers during their clash in the Battle of Hampton Roads. Despite his dissatisfaction with McClellan's failure to reinforce Pope, Lincoln was desperate, and restored him to command of all forces around Washington, to the dismay of all in his cabinet but Seward.
Having composed the Proclamation some time earlier, Lincoln had waited for a military victory to publish it to avoid it being perceived as the product of desperation. McClellan then resisted the President's demand that he pursue Lee's retreating and exposed army, while his counterpart General Don Carlos Buell likewise refused orders to move the Army of the Ohio against rebel forces in eastern Tennessee.
Both of these replacements were political moderates and prospectively more supportive of the Commander-in-Chief. Burnside, against the advice of the president, prematurely launched an offensive across the Rappahannock River and was stunningly defeated by Lee at Fredericksburg in December.
Not only had Burnside been defeated on the battlefield, but his soldiers were disgruntled and undisciplined. Desertions during were in the thousands and they increased after Fredericksburg. The mid-term elections in brought the Republicans severe losses due to sharp disfavor with the administration over its failure to deliver a speedy end to the war, as well as rising inflation, new high taxes, rumors of corruption, the suspension of habeas corpus , the military draft law , and fears that freed slaves would undermine the labor market.
The Emancipation Proclamation announced in September gained votes for the Republicans in the rural areas of New England and the upper Midwest, but it lost votes in the cities and the lower Midwest. The Republicans did maintain their majorities in Congress and in the major states, except New York. The Cincinnati Gazette contended that the voters were "depressed by the interminable nature of this war, as so far conducted, and by the rapid exhaustion of the national resources without progress".
In the spring of , Lincoln was optimistic about upcoming military campaigns to the point of thinking the end of the war could be near if a string of victories could be put together; these plans included attacks by Hooker on Lee north of Richmond, Rosecrans on Chattanooga, Grant on Vicksburg, and a naval assault on Charleston.
Hooker was routed by Lee at the Battle of Chancellorsville in May,  but continued to command his troops for some weeks. He ignored Lincoln's order to divide his troops, and possibly force Lee to do the same in Harper's Ferry , and tendered his resignation, which Lincoln accepted.
He was replaced by George Meade , who followed Lee into Pennsylvania for the Gettysburg Campaign , which was a victory for the Union, though Lee's army avoided capture. At the same time, after initial setbacks, Grant laid siege to Vicksburg and the Union navy attained some success in Charleston harbor.
Even so, he often continued to give detailed directions to his generals as Commander-in-Chief. Lincoln understood that the Federal government's power to end slavery was limited by the Constitution, which before , committed the issue to individual states. He argued before and during his election that the eventual extinction of slavery would result from preventing its expansion into new U.
At the beginning of the war, he also sought to persuade the states to accept compensated emancipation in return for their prohibition of slavery. Lincoln believed that curtailing slavery in these ways would economically expunge it, as envisioned by the Founding Fathers , under the constitution. On June 19, , endorsed by Lincoln, Congress passed an act banning slavery on all federal territory. In July, the Confiscation Act of was passed, which set up court procedures that could free the slaves of anyone convicted of aiding the rebellion.
Although Lincoln believed it was not within Congress's power to free the slaves within the states, he approved the bill in deference to the legislature. He felt such action could only be taken by the Commander-in-Chief using war powers granted to the president by the Constitution, and Lincoln was planning to take that action.
In that month, Lincoln discussed a draft of the Emancipation Proclamation with his cabinet. In it, he stated that "as a fit and necessary military measure, on January 1, , all persons held as slaves in the Confederate states will thenceforward, and forever, be free".
Privately, Lincoln concluded at this point that the slave base of the Confederacy had to be eliminated. However, Copperheads argued that emancipation was a stumbling block to peace and reunification. Republican editor Horace Greeley of the highly influential New York Tribune fell for the ploy,  and Lincoln refuted it directly in a shrewd letter of August 22, Although he said he personally wished all men could be free, Lincoln stated that the primary goal of his actions as the U.
My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery.
If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.
What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union The Emancipation Proclamation, issued on September 22, , and put into effect on January 1, , declared free the slaves in 10 states not then under Union control, with exemptions specified for areas already under Union control in two states.
Once the abolition of slavery in the rebel states became a military objective, as Union armies advanced south, more slaves were liberated until all three million of them in Confederate territory were freed. Lincoln's comment on the signing of the Proclamation was: He commented favorably on colonization in the Emancipation Proclamation, but all attempts at such a massive undertaking failed.
McClellan as commander of the Union Army. Enlisting former slaves in the military was official government policy after the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation. By the spring of , Lincoln was ready to recruit black troops in more than token numbers. In a letter to Andrew Johnson , the military governor of Tennessee, encouraging him to lead the way in raising black troops, Lincoln wrote, "The bare sight of 50, armed and drilled black soldiers on the banks of the Mississippi would end the rebellion at once".
With the great Union victory at the Battle of Gettysburg in July , and the defeat of the Copperheads in the Ohio election in the fall, Lincoln maintained a strong base of party support and was in a strong position to redefine the war effort, despite the New York City draft riots. The stage was set for his address at the Gettysburg battlefield cemetery on November 19, In words, and three minutes, Lincoln asserted the nation was born not in , but in , "conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal".
He defined the war as an effort dedicated to these principles of liberty and equality for all. The emancipation of slaves was now part of the national war effort.
He declared that the deaths of so many brave soldiers would not be in vain, that slavery would end as a result of the losses, and the future of democracy in the world would be assured, that "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth". Lincoln concluded that the Civil War had a profound objective: Meade's failure to capture Lee's army as it retreated from Gettysburg, and the continued passivity of the Army of the Potomac, persuaded Lincoln that a change in command was needed.
Grant 's victories at the Battle of Shiloh and in the Vicksburg campaign impressed Lincoln and made Grant a strong candidate to head the Union Army. Responding to criticism of Grant after Shiloh, Lincoln had said, "I can't spare this man. Nevertheless, Lincoln was concerned that Grant might be considering a candidacy for President in , as McClellan was. Lincoln arranged for an intermediary to make inquiry into Grant's political intentions, and being assured that he had none, submitted to the Senate Grant's promotion to commander of the Union Army.
He obtained Congress's consent to reinstate for Grant the rank of Lieutenant General, which no officer had held since George Washington. Grant waged his bloody Overland Campaign in This is often characterized as a war of attrition , given high Union losses at battles such as the Battle of the Wilderness and Cold Harbor. Even though they had the advantage of fighting on the defensive, the Confederate forces had "almost as high a percentage of casualties as the Union forces".
The Confederacy lacked reinforcements, so Lee's army shrank with every costly battle. Grant's army moved south, crossed the James River , forcing a siege and trench warfare outside Petersburg, Virginia. Lincoln then made an extended visit to Grant's headquarters at City Point, Virginia. This allowed the president to confer in person with Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman about the hostilities, as Sherman coincidentally managed a hasty visit to Grant from his position in North Carolina.
Lincoln authorized Grant to target the Confederate infrastructure—such as plantations, railroads, and bridges—hoping to destroy the South's morale and weaken its economic ability to continue fighting. Grant's move to Petersburg resulted in the obstruction of three railroads between Richmond and the South.
Confederate general Jubal Early began a series of assaults in the North that threatened the Capital. During Early's raid on Washington, D.
As Grant continued to wear down Lee's forces, efforts to discuss peace began. Lincoln refused to allow any negotiation with the Confederacy as a coequal; his sole objective was an agreement to end the fighting and the meetings produced no results.
Days later, when that city fell, Lincoln visited the vanquished Confederate capital; as he walked through the city, white Southerners were stone-faced, but freedmen greeted him as a hero.
On April 9, Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox and the war was effectively over. While the war was still being waged, Lincoln faced reelection in Lincoln was a master politician, bringing together—and holding together—all the main factions of the Republican Party, and bringing in War Democrats such as Edwin M.
Stanton and Andrew Johnson as well. Lincoln spent many hours a week talking to politicians from across the land and using his patronage powers—greatly expanded over peacetime—to hold the factions of his party together, build support for his own policies, and fend off efforts by Radicals to drop him from the ticket.
To broaden his coalition to include War Democrats as well as Republicans, Lincoln ran under the label of the new Union Party. When Grant's spring campaigns turned into bloody stalemates and Union casualties mounted, the lack of military success wore heavily on the President's re-election prospects, and many Republicans across the country feared that Lincoln would be defeated. Sharing this fear, Lincoln wrote and signed a pledge that, if he should lose the election, he would still defeat the Confederacy before turning over the White House: This morning, as for some days past, it seems exceedingly probable that this Administration will not be re-elected.
Then it will be my duty to so co-operate with the President elect, as to save the Union between the election and the inauguration; as he will have secured his election on such ground that he cannot possibly save it afterward. While the Democratic platform followed the "Peace wing" of the party and called the war a "failure", their candidate, General George B.
McClellan, supported the war and repudiated the platform. Lincoln provided Grant with more troops and mobilized his party to renew its support of Grant in the war effort. Sherman's capture of Atlanta in September and David Farragut 's capture of Mobile ended defeatist jitters;  the Democratic Party was deeply split, with some leaders and most soldiers openly for Lincoln.
By contrast, the National Union Party was united and energized as Lincoln made emancipation the central issue, and state Republican parties stressed the perfidy of the Copperheads. On March 4, , Lincoln delivered his second inaugural address. In it, he deemed the high casualties on both sides to be God's will.
Historian Mark Noll concludes it ranks "among the small handful of semi-sacred texts by which Americans conceive their place in the world". Fondly do we hope—fervently do we pray—that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away.
Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man's years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said 3, years ago, so still it must be said, "the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether".
With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations. Reconstruction began during the war, as Lincoln and his associates anticipated questions of how to reintegrate the conquered southern states, and how to determine the fates of Confederate leaders and freed slaves.
Shortly after Lee's surrender, a general had asked Lincoln how the defeated Confederates should be treated, and Lincoln replied, "Let 'em up easy. Thaddeus Stevens , Sen. Charles Sumner and Sen. Benjamin Wade , political allies of the president on other issues.
Determined to find a course that would reunite the nation and not alienate the South, Lincoln urged that speedy elections under generous terms be held throughout the war. His Amnesty Proclamation of December 8, , offered pardons to those who had not held a Confederate civil office, had not mistreated Union prisoners, and would sign an oath of allegiance. As Southern states were subdued, critical decisions had to be made as to their leadership while their administrations were re-formed. Of special importance were Tennessee and Arkansas, where Lincoln appointed Generals Andrew Johnson and Frederick Steele as military governors, respectively.
Banks to promote a plan that would restore statehood when 10 percent of the voters agreed to it. Lincoln's Democratic opponents seized on these appointments to accuse him of using the military to ensure his and the Republicans' political aspirations.
On the other hand, the Radicals denounced his policy as too lenient, and passed their own plan, the Wade-Davis Bill , in When Lincoln vetoed the bill, the Radicals retaliated by refusing to seat representatives elected from Louisiana, Arkansas, and Tennessee. Lincoln's appointments were designed to keep both the moderate and Radical factions in harness. Chase, who Lincoln believed would uphold the emancipation and paper money policies.
After implementing the Emancipation Proclamation, which did not apply to every state, Lincoln increased pressure on Congress to outlaw slavery throughout the entire nation with a constitutional amendment. Lincoln declared that such an amendment would "clinch the whole matter". This first attempt at an amendment failed to pass, falling short of the required two-thirds majority on June 15, , in the House of Representatives.
After a long debate in the House, a second attempt passed Congress on January 31, , and was sent to the state legislatures for ratification. As the war drew to a close, Lincoln's presidential Reconstruction for the South was in flux; having believed the federal government had limited responsibility to the millions of freedmen.
He signed into law Senator Charles Sumner's Freedmen's Bureau bill that set up a temporary federal agency designed to meet the immediate material needs of former slaves. The law assigned land for a lease of three years with the ability to purchase title for the freedmen.
Lincoln stated that his Louisiana plan did not apply to all states under Reconstruction. Shortly before his assassination, Lincoln announced he had a new plan for southern Reconstruction. Discussions with his cabinet revealed Lincoln planned short-term military control over southern states, until readmission under the control of southern Unionists.
Historians agree that it is impossible to predict exactly what Lincoln would have done about Reconstruction if he had lived, but they make projections based on his known policy positions and political acumen. Lincoln biographers James G. Randall and Richard Current , according to David Lincove, argue that: It is likely that had he lived, Lincoln would have followed a policy similar to Johnson's, that he would have clashed with congressional Radicals, that he would have produced a better result for the freedmen than occurred, and that his political skills would have helped him avoid Johnson's mistakes.
Eric Foner argues that: Unlike Sumner and other Radicals, Lincoln did not see Reconstruction as an opportunity for a sweeping political and social revolution beyond emancipation. He had long made clear his opposition to the confiscation and redistribution of land. He believed, as most Republicans did in April , that the voting requirements should be determined by the states. He assumed that political control in the South would pass to white Unionists, reluctant secessionists, and forward-looking former Confederates.
But time and again during the war, Lincoln, after initial opposition, had come to embrace positions first advanced by abolitionists and Radical Republicans. Lincoln undoubtedly would have listened carefully to the outcry for further protection for the former slaves It is entirely plausible to imagine Lincoln and Congress agreeing on a Reconstruction policy that encompassed federal protection for basic civil rights plus limited black suffrage, along the lines Lincoln proposed just before his death.
The successful reunification of the states had consequences for the name of the country. The term "the United States" has historically been used, sometimes in the plural "these United States" , and other times in the singular, without any particular grammatical consistency.
The Civil War was a significant force in the eventual dominance of the singular usage by the end of the 19th century. As early as the s, a time when most political rhetoric focused on the sanctity of the Constitution, Lincoln redirected emphasis to the Declaration of Independence as the foundation of American political values—what he called the "sheet anchor" of republicanism. As Diggins concludes regarding the highly influential Cooper Union speech of early , "Lincoln presented Americans a theory of history that offers a profound contribution to the theory and destiny of republicanism itself.
In March , in Lincoln's first inaugural address , he explored the nature of democracy. He denounced secession as anarchy, and explained that majority rule had to be balanced by constitutional restraints in the American system.
He said "A majority held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations, and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people.
Lincoln adhered to the Whig theory of the presidency, which gave Congress primary responsibility for writing the laws while the Executive enforced them. Lincoln vetoed only four bills passed by Congress; the only important one was the Wade-Davis Bill with its harsh program of Reconstruction. The Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act , also signed in , provided government grants for agricultural colleges in each state. The Pacific Railway Acts of and granted federal support for the construction of the United States' First Transcontinental Railroad , which was completed in Other important legislation involved two measures to raise revenues for the Federal government: In , Lincoln signed the second and third Morrill Tariff , the first having become law under James Buchanan.
Also in , Lincoln signed the Revenue Act of , creating the first U. Lincoln also presided over the expansion of the federal government's economic influence in several other areas.
The creation of the system of national banks by the National Banking Act provided a strong financial network in the country. It also established a national currency. In , Congress created, with Lincoln's approval, the Department of Agriculture. Presented with execution warrants for convicted Santee Dakota who were accused of killing innocent farmers, Lincoln conducted his own personal review of each of these warrants, eventually approving 39 for execution one was later reprieved.
In the wake of Grant's casualties in his campaign against Lee, Lincoln had considered yet another executive call for a military draft, but it was never issued. In response to rumors of one, however, the editors of the New York World and the Journal of Commerce published a false draft proclamation which created an opportunity for the editors and others employed at the publications to corner the gold market. Lincoln's reaction was to send the strongest of messages to the media about such behavior; he ordered the military to seize the two papers.
The seizure lasted for two days. Lincoln is largely responsible for the institution of the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. The last such proclamation had been during James Madison 's presidency 50 years before. In , Lincoln declared the final Thursday in November of that year to be a day of Thanksgiving. Lincoln's declared philosophy on court nominations was that "we cannot ask a man what he will do, and if we should, and he should answer us, we should despise him for it.
Therefore we must take a man whose opinions are known. Noah Haynes Swayne , nominated January 21, , and appointed January 24, , was chosen as an anti-slavery lawyer who was committed to the Union. Samuel Freeman Miller , nominated and appointed on July 16, , supported Lincoln in the election and was an avowed abolitionist.
David Davis, Lincoln's campaign manager in , nominated December 1, , and appointed December 8, , had also served as a judge in Lincoln's Illinois court circuit.
Stephen Johnson Field , a previous California Supreme Court justice, was nominated March 6, , and appointed March 10, , and provided geographic balance, as well as political balance to the court as a Democrat. Chase, was nominated as Chief Justice, and appointed the same day, on December 6, Lincoln believed Chase was an able jurist, would support Reconstruction legislation, and that his appointment united the Republican Party. Lincoln appointed 32 federal judges, including four Associate Justices and one Chief Justice to the Supreme Court of the United States , and 27 judges to the United States district courts.
Lincoln appointed no judges to the United States circuit courts during his time in office. West Virginia , admitted to the Union June 20, , contained the former north-westernmost counties of Virginia that seceded from Virginia after that commonwealth declared its secession from the Union. As a condition for its admission, West Virginia's constitution was required to provide for the gradual abolition of slavery. Nevada , which became the third State in the far-west of the continent, was admitted as a free state on October 31, The assassination occurred five days after the surrender of Robert E.
Lee and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. Booth was a well-known actor and a Confederate spy from Maryland; though he never joined the Confederate army, he had contacts with the Confederate secret service.
Conrad previously authorized by the Confederacy  to kidnap Lincoln in exchange for the release of Confederate prisoners. After attending an April 11, , speech in which Lincoln promoted voting rights for blacks, an incensed Booth changed his plans and became determined to assassinate the president. At the last minute, Grant decided to go to New Jersey to visit his children instead of attending the play. Lincoln's bodyguard, John Parker, left Ford's Theater during intermission to drink at the saloon next door.
The now unguarded President sat in his state box in the balcony. Seizing the opportunity, Booth crept up from behind and at about Major Henry Rathbone momentarily grappled with Booth, but Booth stabbed him and escaped.
Doctor Charles Leale , an Army surgeon, found the President unresponsive, barely breathing and with no detectable pulse. Having determined that the President had been shot in the head, and not stabbed in the shoulder as originally thought, he made an attempt to clear the blood clot, after which the President began to breathe more naturally. After remaining in a coma for nine hours, Lincoln died at 7: According to eyewitnesses, he face was fixed in a smile when he expired.
Lincoln's flag-enfolded body was then escorted in the rain to the White House by bareheaded Union officers, while the city's church bells rang. President Johnson was sworn in at For his final journey with his son Willie, both caskets were transported in the executive coach "United States" and for three weeks the Lincoln Special funeral train decorated in black bunting  bore Lincoln's remains on a slow circuitous waypoint journey from Washington D.
As a young man, Lincoln was a religious skeptic ,  or, in the words of a biographer, an iconoclast. Lincoln never made a clear profession of Christian beliefs. However, he did believe in an all-powerful God that shaped events and, by , was expressing those beliefs in major speeches. In the s, Lincoln subscribed to the Doctrine of Necessity , a belief that asserted the human mind was controlled by some higher power.
He wrote at this time that God "could have either saved or destroyed the Union without a human contest. Yet the contest began. And having begun, He could give the final victory to either side any day. Yet the contest proceeds.
Several claims abound that Lincoln's health was declining before the assassination. These are often based on photographs appearing to show weight loss and muscle wasting. One such claim is that he suffered from a rare genetic disorder, MEN2b ,  which manifests with a medullary thyroid carcinoma , mucosal neuromas and a Marfanoid appearance. In surveys of U. Generally, the top three presidents are rated as 1. George Washington; and 3.
Roosevelt, although Lincoln and Washington, and Washington and Roosevelt, are occasionally reversed. President Lincoln's assassination increased his status to the point of making him a national martyr. Lincoln was viewed by abolitionists as a champion for human liberty. Republicans linked Lincoln's name to their party. Many, though not all, in the South considered Lincoln as a man of outstanding ability.
Guelzo states that Lincoln was a  . Lincoln became a favorite exemplar for liberal intellectuals across Europe and Latin America and even in Asia. Schwartz argues that Lincoln's American reputation grew slowly in the late 19th century until the Progressive Era —s when he emerged as one of the most venerated heroes in American history, with even white Southerners in agreement.
In the Cold War years, Lincoln's image shifted to emphasize the symbol of freedom who brought hope to those oppressed by communist regimes. By the s Lincoln had become a hero to political conservatives  for his intense nationalism, support for business, his insistence on stopping the spread of human bondage, his acting in terms of Lockean and Burkean principles on behalf of both liberty and tradition, and his devotion to the principles of the Founding Fathers.
Abraham Lincoln, a self-taught lawyer, legislator and vocal opponent of slavery, was elected 16th president of the United States in November , shortly before the outbreak of the Civil War. Lincoln proved to be a shrewd military strategist and a savvy leader: In April , with the Union on the brink of victory, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth; his untimely death made him a martyr to the cause of liberty, and he is widely regarded as one of the greatest presidents in U.
Lincoln was born on February 12, , in a one-room log cabin in Hardin County, Kentucky ; his family moved to southern Indiana in In , his family moved to Macon County in southern Illinois , and Lincoln got a job working on a river flatboat hauling freight down the Mississippi River to New Orleans.
After settling in the town of New Salem, Illinois, where he worked as a shopkeeper and a postmaster, Lincoln became involved in local politics as a supporter of the Whig Party , winning election to the Illinois state legislature in Like his Whig heroes Henry Clay and Daniel Webster , Lincoln opposed the spread of slavery to the territories, and had a grand vision of the expanding United States, with a focus on commerce and cities rather than agriculture.
Lincoln taught himself law, passing the bar examination in The following year, he moved to the newly named state capital of Springfield.
Lincoln won election to the U. House of Representatives in and began serving his term the following year. As a congressman, Lincoln was unpopular with many Illinois voters for his strong stance against the U. Promising not to seek reelection, he returned to Springfield in Events conspired to push him back into national politics, however: Douglas, a leading Democrat in Congress, had pushed through the passage of the Kansas- Nebraska Act , which declared that the voters of each territory, rather than the federal government, had the right to decide whether the territory should be slave or free.
On October 16, , Lincoln went before a large crowd in Peoria to debate the merits of the Kansas-Nebraska Act with Douglas, denouncing slavery and its extension and calling the institution a violation of the most basic tenets of the Declaration of Independence. Seward of New York and other powerful contenders in favor of the rangy Illinois lawyer with only one undistinguished congressional term under his belt.
In the general election, Lincoln again faced Douglas, who represented the northern Democrats; southern Democrats had nominated John C. After years of sectional tensions, the election of an antislavery northerner as the 16th president of the United States drove many southerners over the brink.
By the time Lincoln was inaugurated as 16th U. Hopes for a quick Union victory were dashed by defeat in the Battle of Bull Run Manassas , and Lincoln called for , more troops as both sides prepared for a long conflict.
While the Confederate leader Jefferson Davis was a West Point graduate, Mexican War hero and former secretary of war, Lincoln had only a brief and undistinguished period of service in the Black Hawk War to his credit.
He surprised many when he proved to be a capable wartime leader, learning quickly about strategy and tactics in the early years of the Civil War, and about choosing the ablest commanders. General George McClellan , though beloved by his troops, continually frustrated Lincoln with his reluctance to advance, and when McClellan failed to pursue Robert E.
During the war, Lincoln drew criticism for suspending some civil liberties, including the right of habeas corpus , but he considered such measures necessary to win the war. Shortly after the Battle of Antietam Sharpsburg , Lincoln issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation , which took effect on January 1, , and freed all of the slaves in the rebellious states but left those in the border states loyal to the Union in bondage.
Two important Union victories in July —at Vicksburg, Mississippi, and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania—finally turned the tide of the war. Grant , as supreme commander of the Union forces.
Abraham Lincoln became the United States’ 16th President in , issuing the Emancipation Proclamation that declared forever free those slaves within the Confederacy in Lincoln warned the South in his Inaugural Address: “In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war.
Abraham Lincoln is considered by many to be America's greatest president. Sadly, his vision of how to reunite the North and South after the Civil War was not given a chance to come to fruition. This page provides a list of fast facts for Abraham Lincoln.
Aug 26, · 2 Terms. Abraham Lincoln was elected for a second term as US President, and inaugurated into office on March 4, He was assassinated on . Abraham Lincoln created peanut butter and wanted to give credit for it to a black person so the southerners would accept the blacks as their equals.
Facts, information and articles about the life of Abraham Lincoln, 16th President Of the United States Abraham Lincoln Facts Born February 12, , Hodgenville, Kentucky Died April 15, , Petersen House, Washington, D.C. cointent_lockedcontent Presidential Term March 4, – April 15, Spouse Mary Todd Lincoln Major Accomplishments Served Four Terms in Illinois Legislature . Watch video · Abraham Lincoln served a single term in the U.S. House of Representatives from to His foray into national politics seemed to be as unremarkable as it was brief.