Abe Lincoln and Slavery

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Abraham was born a poor farmhand boy in Kentucky, but he moved from small cabins in Kentucky, Indiana, and finally settled in Illinois. He was a farmhand for his father in these states and didn't have much exposure to slavery, although, these states did have black/slave laws. Lincoln got his first dose of slavery at the age of eighteen when he was hired to take a flatboat down to New Orleans. I quote from Lincoln: A Photobiography "Lincoln would never forget the site of black men, women, and children being driven along in chains and being auctioned off like cattle." This still didn't change his "opinion" on slavery (he didn't have one).

In 1846, after experience in law and the Illinois state legislature, Lincoln was elected to the US House of Representatives as a member of the Whig party. As a member of the Illinois State Legislature he took a stand against slavery saying that slavery was "founded on both injustice and bad policy". He supported a bill to prohibit slavery in lands won from Mexico; he also proposed a bill that would ban slavery in the District of Columbia. He also always voted with his party against the spread of slavery in the south. When his bill started to draw negative attention he dropped it. He hated slavery, but he thought that forcing anti-slavery on the south would lead to violence. He hoped that slavery would just wear away as society advanced. He wanted bills to be passed that would eliminate slavery with compensation given to southerners who owned slaves. Now he realizes that he opposes slavery, but not so much that he would fight for it.

When the Kansas-Nebraska Act repealed the Missouri Compromise by allowing slavery in the Louisiana territory forbidden by the Compromise Lincoln was rocketed into an abolitionist standpoint. He spoke against Stephen Douglas' act and campaigned for anti-slavery Whigs. Lincoln spoke harshly against slavery, even going so far as to call it a "cancer". In 1856 Lincoln switched to the Republican Party...
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