Abraham Lincoln's Attitude Towards Slavery and Emancipation Research Paper

Topics: American Civil War, Slavery in the United States, Abraham Lincoln Pages: 9 (3275 words) Published: November 30, 2012


1. INTRODUCTION………………………………………………………………… p.3



"From a genuine abolition point of view, Mr. Lincoln seemed tardy, cold, dull and indifferent, but measuring him by the sentiment of his country - a sentiment he was bound as a statesman to discuss - he was swift, zealous, radical, and determined." Frederick Douglass, 1876 source?


He survived the tragedy and depression to become America's Greatest President. He had the courage to destroy slavery, but he took a Civil War and the loss of 600,000 lives; his beliefs cost him his life, but without him the United States of America would not exist today. Abraham Lincoln, America's model hero, was a man whose courage saved the nation from destruction. His early life was poor and brutal; he was born on the 12th of February 1809 in a one room cabin in rural Kentucky, a frontier state of America. His family were farmers, he was the first of his family to read; Abraham Lincoln was different to from his friends. The young Lincoln was a child of induce curiosity, he loved to hear people, gave well crafted, well delivered speeches. He would often go to places where such speeches were being made; he memorized parts of them and he would come back and give those speeches to his playmates. It was in Lincoln's nature to embrace new experiences and when he was nineteen he had the opportunity to travel 1200 miles down the Mississippi river. It was a journey that will change his outlook of life forever. He was confronted with the realities of slavery; what he did see was probably the most horrific aspect of slavery and that was the destruction of slave families, the selling of slaves and the use of slaves literally as pieces of commerce. But when he returned to the North, Lincoln left the family home striking out the most exciting town of its day, New Salem - Illinois; here he would be his own man. When he came to New Salem, that was a deliberate choice on his part, to turn his back on the world of farming, the agrarian lifestyle, and coming to New Salem is really a deliberate choice to plunge himself into the world of 19th century of commerce, capitalism, the Industrial Revolution and everything like that. Lincoln's passion to reading continued into his adult life and so that his ideas of fairness will becoming increasingly developed; America was changing, expanding day by day, and Lincoln wanted to be part of it. By 1847 he had studied enough to pass the bar examination, he had decided to become a lawyer. But also he plunged in the world of politics, and he loved politics even more than law because for him law was a means to politics, and his practice as a lawyer was always bound up by his political ambitions. In Illinois he met a woman named Ann Rutledge, but Lincoln's life took a tragic turn when Ann died. Her death plunged Lincoln into a deep depression, but hard work overcame this black spells. He had become a successful local politician, and the ambitious young Lincoln was proving difficult to ignore. Lincoln, had an extraordinary talent and he quickly established himself as a charismatic speaker and talented politician; increasingly ambitious he decided to move again, leaving New Salem he went to live in Springfield - the State Capital of Illinois and there he met and married Mary Todd. Lincoln moved on to the National stage, becoming a Congressman for the District of Illinois. The country was uneasily divided in to 15 free and 15 slave states; when Kansas wanted to join the Union, a fear debate appeared: should it be a slave state or not? In the South it was another commodity that was the key to the slave issue: cotton. By 1840, cotton was more valuable than everything else...

Bibliography: M. McPherson, James. How President Lincoln Decided to Issue the Emancipation Proclamation. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, No. 37 (Autumn, 2002)
The Avalon Project
[7] M. McPherson, op. cit. , p.108
[8] Harold Holzer,Sara Vaughn Gabbard,Lincoln Museum (Fort Wayne, Ind.), Lincoln and freedom: slavery, emancipation, and the Thirteenth Amendment, Southern Illinois University, 2007, p
[9] The Avalon Project. “The Second Inaugural Address: Abraham Lincoln, 1865”. The Yale Law School Project, http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/presiden/inaug/lincoln2.htm
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