Abraham Lincoln: Sectional President as Preserver of the Union

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Abraham Lincoln: Sectional President as Preserver of the Union

Before Lincoln became president, there was already much sectional tension between the North and the South, mostly over slavery. While slavery was illegal in most Northern states, it was still the basis of the South’s economy. The main issue was over slavery in the new territories gained through compromises and the Mexican war. At first, the Missouri Compromise temporarily solved the problem, by making it so that in every territory slavery would be illegal, and in return the North would enforce a stricter slave fugitive law. However, this was overthrown by the Kansas-Nebraska Act, ruining the temporary peace. These acts made it so that slavery in the areas would be decided by popular sovereignty, which meant that the people living there voted on it. The North was outraged and began to fight for abolition. When the South’s candidate John Bell lost to Lincoln, several states seceded, because he threatened their slavery-based economy. By the time Buchanan’s term ended and Lincoln took office, there were already seven states that had seceded. Lincoln’s leadership during the Civil War led to Union victory. First, he ensured that the Border States, the states that were still on the edge, joined the Union by proclaiming that it was not a war to end slavery, but a war to save the Union. If he would not have gained these states, it is very likely that the Confederacy could have won the war. He also proclaimed war in such a way that he would gain support, not lose it. He sent supplies to Fort Sumter, only to provide for them, not to reinforce them. However, South Carolina troops attacked the fort, allowing Lincoln to declare war on the South and gained support from troops to regain control of military forts. Lincoln also extended his powers, because of the Supreme Court case which ruled that the president had more power during a time of war. He created the draft, forcing much needed...
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