The Man Behind the Myth
Abraham Lincoln is by far our most revered president in the history of the United States. He had a strong moral vision of where his country must go to preserve and enlarge the rights of all her people, but he was also a good man with a strong sense of character and a great discipline in the art of law; and he sought to continue the great and mighty legacy of the Constitution. He believed that the Founding Fathers had drawn up the Constitution without the mention of slavery because they felt that it would later die of a natural death. He would soon learn that that would not be the case.
Lincoln's greatness can be seen from the very beginning of his presidency, even from the Great Debates with Stephen A. Douglas. His speeches, above all else, would enthrall his audiences and paint beautiful pictures of the future of the American way of life, as he would hope it to be, and would keep the morale of his listeners high. In his Inaugural Address of March 4, 1861, he spoke to the South, saying, "In your hands and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war." It was a harsh blow to the President when he learned that Unionism was dead in all the seceded states, and that many wanted a skirmish to unite the Confederacy to its cause. But Lincoln was fully aware that the men of Fort Sumter needed supplies in order to live, and chose to stand strong for his beliefs. And in that attempt, not to attack the Confederacy, but to lend aid to the Union Fort Sumter, thereby the first ringing shot of the Civil War was sounded.
After a harsh year of fighting with no end in sight, Lincoln adopted more ruthless war policies, something he had hoped he would not have to do. He instigated martial law, property confiscation, the emancipation of the slaves in the rebel states, the taking on of black troops, conscription, and scorched-earth warfare. When Lincoln spoke to Congress in December of 1864, he enhanced the...