Abraham Lincoln; The Ups and Downs

Born simply in a log cabin, the 16th president had to use his wits to pull a country out of a war. As he guided the country through this devastating event. President Abraham Lincoln had his ups and downs. This down to earth and straightforward speaker got through all of his challenges. Even though he was considered one of the greatest presidents, he had to face struggles that most presidents didn’t have to.

Lincoln was elected in 1860. His Inauguration was March 4, 1861. He was a Northerner and was originally a well known politician and lawyer from Illinois. He wasn’t favored by the South because Southerners thought Lincoln would emancipate slavery. Instead, Lincoln wanted to prevent the expansion of slavery. This is the reason that Lincoln didn’t get any support from the South during the election, he didn’t carry a single southern state. It didn’t matter all that much because his competitor, Stephen Douglas (also an old rival), didn’t have any support from Southern Democrats. Lincoln in the election only won 40% of the total votes, but he won the majority of the electoral college.

Now that Lincoln was president, southern states started seceding. The first to leave the United States was South Carolina. Then next states to secede were Texas, Florida, Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana, and Alabama. They formed the Confederate States of America. Then by the end of 1861, four more states seceded; they were North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Virginia. In total eleven states seceded from the Union. They were called the Confederacy for short. The Confederacy selected Jefferson Davis as President. Lincoln’s assurance of friendship was rejected by the confederacy.

The confederacy was built around the production of cotton. They got this cotton from their enslaved people who spent hours and hours in the hot sun picking cotton by hand. The ratio of enslaved people to whites in the confederacy was seven to one (7:1). So they were against emancipation because there would be former slaves all over the south outnumbering whites. This could pose a threat to the whites who are in office or who don’t want to lose their jobs. Anyways the confederacy was rich because of their enslaved people.

The Union and the Confederacy had different views on certain things, like slavery. When the states started seceding, things were stirred up. Abraham Lincoln was trying to pull the country back together. It started to look like the only way to do this was through war. Especially when there were shots fired at Fort Sumter in South Carolina. The confederates took the first shots in this thought out attack. This started a catastrophic war.

Now Lincoln was dealing with a war. Thats not all he had to deal with. His family was still mourning the death of two of his sons. His son Edward died in 1850 and his son Willie died in 1862. This put Lincoln into a deep clinical depression, or as they called it then melancholy. His whole family was suffering as well. His wife Mary Todd Lincoln was entered into an insane asylum.

The president had to struggle through these tragic events and overcome these things to accomplish things: like winning the war, emancipating slaves, or eventually running for a second term. He had a quote he said a couple months after losing his son Willie; it reads, “I distrust the wisdom if not the sincerity of friends who would hold my hands while my enemies stab me.” Abraham Lincoln. The president is saying that his friends didn’t help him in this situation and that they just left alone in his troubling time.

After the shots were fired at Fort Sumter, Lincoln, without permission from congress, sent 75,000 troops to suppress the Southern Rebellion. Lincoln hates war along with the death and destruction involved in it. Since Congress didn’t permit war Southerners were claiming that Lincoln overreached his authority. Also Lincoln didn’t know too much about battle tactics and war. He self educated himself. He taught himself a lot of things about war as a child but he still wanted to learn more. In the battle Lincoln chose the commander, Major General George B. McClellan. Who at the time was one of the best.

In 1862 Lincoln announced the Emancipation Proclamation, which was announced during the Battle of Antietam. The proclamation granted freedom to slaves, who were in the area of the rebellion. This was a smart move by Lincoln because now the war was not just to preserve the Union but to also end slavery. Ending slavery was a war measure.

Additionaly, Lincoln had much respect for all the soldiers and generals. For example, he gave the Gettysburg address in honor of the soldiers who gave their lives for the cause. His speech was so powerful. Lincoln mentioned that people would remember the battle and the sacrifice and not the speeches that were given there.

In conclusion, Lincoln persevered through the up and downs of his presidency. He eventually ended slavery with the 13th amendment. Since Lincoln passed the 13th amendment, the Civil War ended and the nation went into the time of Reconstruction. Lincoln was a huge part of the success of the war. When Lincoln passed, it almost seemed out of place because the nation was in a state of happiness. As he sleeps for eternity his name will always be remembered; Abraham Lincoln.

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