To what extent was Lincoln a mandate to abolish slavery?

Topics: American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln, United States Pages: 3 (987 words) Published: April 23, 2006
The South feared that their rights to slavery were in jeopardy with the election of Republican, Abraham Lincoln. However, the election of Lincoln was not a mandate for the abolition of slavery in the United States. Lincoln's primary platform while running for president was to stop the spread of slavery, not to abolish it. His Republican principles were the foundation for his disapproval of slavery. However, Lincoln realized that slavery was protected by the constitution and that he did not hold the power to abolish slavery. The popular votes showed that more than half of the population did not vote for Lincoln. The outcome of the election was not a mandate to end slavery because Lincoln did not receive the majority of the popular votes and he had no intention of abolishing slavery.

Although Abraham Lincoln disapproved of slavery, he had no intention of abolishing it. Prior to his election, slavery was legal and the ownership of slaves was defended by the constitution as private property. Lincoln understood this law, the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, and he recognized the restrictions of the government when dealing with slavery. It is stated in the Fifth Amendment that "private property can not be taken for public use, without just compensation." During Lincoln's First Inaugural Address, he stated "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so." Lincoln did, however, express his desire to stop the spread of slavery and even to see slavery abolished in the District of Columbia.

Lincoln was acutely aware that slavery was protected under the constitution, yet he still expressed his discontent of it by saying he would be "exceedingly glad to see Slavery abolished in the District of Columbia." Lincoln only wanted this if it happened under certain conditions which he viewed as fair to the southern states. In...
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