The Radical and the Republican
This book was a view on slavery between during the Civil War. It shows the different views of the Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. These two had very different views at first, but then learned to adapt to each other and eventually became great friends. Frederick Douglass was born into slavery. He had a strong hatred toward slavery; not just because he was a slave, but because he thought it to be inhumane and cynical. Douglass knew from a young age that he was an abolitionist. He believed slavery was a disease that needed to be eradicated. He ran away from his slave life in Maryland and headed to New York to be with other abolitionists where he could look into politics. Here Douglass met the Garrisonians whom invited him to join them. He started preaching against slavery their way. They were Pacifists and didn’t believe in fighting, The Republican
Party was more so the abolitionists, but before Douglass could join them, he had to escape William Lloyd Garrison. Douglass resisted embracing Lincoln and the Republican Party for some time because it took Lincoln eighteen months to proclaim emancipation – way too long for his taste. It also took Douglass a while to accept the constraints democracy had placed on antislavery politics. Abe Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, was the leader of the North. Lincoln didn’t advocate racial equality, but he hated slavery. According to Oakes, Lincoln said he hated slavery three times in his first big antislavery speech at Peoria in 1854. He went on to quote Lincoln, “I have always hated slavery, I think just as much as any Abolitionist” (Oakes 41). As a child, his preacher and parents instilled in him that slavery was wrong and he could not ever remember a time when he didn’t hate slavery. Although Lincoln hated slavery, he never thought of it as being an issue for discussion. In 1854 however, he had a sudden change, and slavery became the only issue to matter to him. By the end of the 1850s, he made the Republican Party’s message as simple as “We think slavery is wrong and they don’t” (43). Lincoln found slavery to be un-Christian. He believed that men and women should earn the fruits of their labor instead of being treated poorly as with slavery.
When the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 was passed by Congress, Lincoln felt provoked. The act allowed people of the Nebraska Territory decide whether or not they wanted slavery. The reason it bothered Lincoln was that slavery had been outlawed in the Nebraska Territory by the Missouri Compromise of 1820. This meant to Lincoln that the Constitution was not set in stone. Lincoln spoke of the repeal of the Missouri Compromise in his speeches thereafter. He finally conjoined his hatred of slavery with his antislavery politics. Abe felt as though slavery was inevitable. The Civil War was caused by slavery. In order to restore the Union, slavery had to be completely abolished. This would hopefully cause and force emancipation on everyone. If Lincoln realized early that emancipation was inevitable, he was willing to let public opinion catch up with him. Lincoln dealt with this fate modestly. He knew such a tendency as slavery wasn’t easily stopped. Started by the slaveholders themselves, no one could control the damage of slavery. Slavery destroyed the Union and only the destruction of slavery could put it back together. Focusing back to Frederick Douglass, he was not always a supporter of Abraham Lincoln. Douglass accused Lincoln of not really wanting to end slavery. He didn’t think he was a “serious opponent of slavery (Oakes 130)”. Lincoln and Douglass both had the commonality that the anti-slavery attitude was the key
element of the Republican Party. However, Douglass thought that this meant Lincoln should support racial equality as well as emancipation. The only thing Douglass had to offer...
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