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- Abraham Lincoln
- Abraham Lincoln - Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In September Lincoln began practicing law and played an important part in having the Illinois state capital moved from Vandalia to Springfield. In Lincoln himself moved to Springfield to become Stuart's law partner. He did not, however, forget politics. In Lincoln was elected to the U.
During these years Lincoln had become engaged to Mary Todd — , a cultured and well-educated Kentucky woman. They were married on November 2, When Congress met in December , Lincoln expressed his disapproval with the Mexican War —48 , in which American and Mexican forces clashed over land in the Southwest. These views, together with his wish to abolish, or end, slavery in the District of Columbia, brought sharp criticism from the people back in Illinois. They believed Lincoln was "not a patriot" and had not correctly represented his state in Congress.
Although the Whigs won the presidency in , Lincoln could not even control the support in his own district. His political career seemed to be coming to a close just as it was beginning. His only reward for party service was an offer of the governorship of far-off Oregon, which he refused. Lincoln then returned to Illinois and resumed practicing law. During the next twelve years, while Lincoln rebuilt his legal career, the nation was becoming divided. While victory in the Mexican War added vast western territory to the United States, then came the issue of slavery in those new territories.
To Southerners, the issue involved the security and rights of slavery everywhere. To Northerners, it was a matter of morals and justice. A national crisis soon developed. With the compromise, a temporary truce was reached between the states favoring slavery and those opposed to it. The basic issues, however, were not eliminated.
Four years later the struggle was reopened. Lincoln's passionate opposition to slavery was enough to draw him back into the world of politics. He had always viewed slavery as a "moral, social and political wrong" and looked forward to its eventual abolition. Although willing to let it alone for the present in the states where it existed, he would not see it extended one inch. At the same time, Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas — drafted the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which would leave the decision of slavery up to the new territories.
Lincoln thought the bill ignored the growing Northern determination to rid the nation of slavery. Soon, in opposition to the expansion of slavery, the Republican party was born. When Douglas returned to Illinois to defend his position, Lincoln seized every opportunity to point out the weakness in it. Lincoln's failure to receive the nomination as senator in convinced him that the Whig party was dead. By summer he became a member of the new Republicans. Lincoln quickly emerged as the outstanding leader of the new party. At the party's first national convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he received votes for vice president on the first ballot.
Although he was not chosen, he had been recognized as an important national figure.
National attention began turning toward the violence in Kansas and the Supreme Court decision in the Dred Scott case, which debated the issue of slavery in the new territories. Meanwhile, Douglas had returned to Illinois to wage his fight for reelection to the Senate. But unlike in earlier elections, Illinois had grown rapidly and the population majority had shifted from the southern part of the state to the central and northern areas. In these growing areas the Republican party had gained a growing popularity—as had Abraham Lincoln. As Lincoln challenged Douglas for his seat in the Senate, the two engaged in legendary debates.
During the Lincoln-Douglas debates, Lincoln delivered his famous "house divided" speech, stating "A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe the government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. In the Republican National Convention met and chose Lincoln as their candidate for president of the United States. With a divided Democratic party and the recent formation of the Constitutional Union party, Lincoln's election was certain. After Lincoln's election victory, parts of the country reacted harshly against the new president's stand on slavery.
Seven Southern states then seceded, or withdrew, from the Union and formed the Confederate States of America. In his inaugural address he clarified his position on the national situation. Secession, he said, was wrong, and the Union could not legally be broken apart. He would not interfere with slavery in the states, but he would "hold, occupy, and possess" all property and places owned by the federal government. By now there was no avoiding the outbreak of the Civil War. From this time on, Lincoln's life was shaped by the problems and fortunes of civil war.
As president, he was the head of all agencies in government and also acted as commander in chief, or supreme commander, of the armies. For many, Abraham Lincoln has gone down in history as something of a martyr for his country. But Lincoln had already begun to be mythicized during his lifetime, some of his contemporaries drawing parallels between him and figures like George Washington. Abraham Lincoln was born in in a backwoods cabin in Kentucky. His father was a pioneer and a farmer, and his mother was a deeply religious woman who died when Lincoln was young. Lincoln would go on to marry Mary Todd and have four boys with her, only one of whom survived into adulthood.
Among American heroes, Lincoln continues to have a unique appeal for his fellow countrymen and also for people of other lands. This charm derives from his remarkable life story—the rise from humble origins, the dramatic death—and from his distinctively human and humane personality as well as from his historical role as saviour of the Union and emancipator of the slaves. His relevance endures and grows especially because of his eloquence as a spokesman for democracy. In his view, the Union was worth saving not only for its own sake but because it embodied an ideal, the ideal of self- government.
The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D. Lincoln was born in a backwoods cabin 3 miles 5 km south of Hodgenville, Kentucky, and was taken to a farm in the neighbouring valley of Knob Creek when he was two years old. His earliest memories were of this home and, in particular, of a flash flood that once washed away the corn and pumpkin seeds he had helped his father plant. Though much less prosperous than some of his Lincoln forebears, Thomas was a sturdy pioneer. On June 12, , he married Nancy Hanks.
The Hanks genealogy is difficult to trace, but Nancy appears to have been of illegitimate birth. In December , faced with a lawsuit challenging the title to his Kentucky farm, Thomas Lincoln moved with his family to southwestern Indiana. Soon he built a permanent cabin, and later he bought the land on which it stood. Abraham helped to clear the fields and to take care of the crops but early acquired a dislike for hunting and fishing. Fortunately, before the onset of a second winter, Thomas Lincoln brought home from Kentucky a new wife for himself, a new mother for the children. Sarah Bush Johnston Lincoln, a widow with two girls and a boy of her own, had energy and affection to spare.
She ran the household with an even hand, treating both sets of children as if she had borne them all; but she became especially fond of Abraham, and he of her. Both his parents were almost completely illiterate, and he himself received little formal education. His neighbours later recalled how he used to trudge for miles to borrow a book. Of course, when I came of age I did not know much. Still, somehow, I could read, write, and cipher to the rule of three; but that was all. From his earliest days he must have had some familiarity with the Bible , for it doubtless was the only book his family owned.
Lincoln's decision to withdraw enabled his Whig supporters and Trumbull's antislavery Democrats to combine and defeat the mainstream Democratic candidate, Joel Aldrich Matteson. In part due to the ongoing violent political confrontations in Kansas , opposition to the Kansas—Nebraska Act remained strong throughout the North.
As the elections approached, Lincoln joined the Republicans. The convention platform asserted that Congress had the right to regulate slavery in the territories and called for the immediate admission of Kansas as a free state. Lincoln gave the final speech of the convention, in which he endorsed the party platform and called for the preservation of the Union.
Lincoln supported the Republican ticket, campaigning throughout Illinois. The Democrats nominated former Ambassador James Buchanan , who had been out of the country since and thus had avoided the slavery debate, while the Know Nothings nominated former Whig President Millard Fillmore. Lincoln's vigorous campaigning had made him the leading Republican in Illinois.
Eric Foner contrasts the abolitionists and anti-slavery Radical Republicans of the Northeast, who saw slavery as a sin, with the conservative Republicans, who thought it was bad because it hurt white people and blocked progress. Foner argues that Lincoln was a moderate in the middle, opposing slavery primarily because it violated the republicanism principles of the Founding Fathers , especially the equality of all men and democratic self-government as expressed in the Declaration of Independence. In March , in Dred Scott v. Taney wrote that blacks were not citizens and derived no rights from the Constitution.
While many Democrats hoped that Dred Scott would end the dispute over slavery in the territories, the decision sparked further outrage in the North. Douglas was up for re-election in , and Lincoln hoped to defeat him. With the former Democrat Trumbull now serving as a Republican senator, many in the party felt that a former Whig should be nominated in , and Lincoln's campaigning and willingness to support Trumbull in had earned him favor.
For the first time, Illinois Republicans held a convention to agree upon a Senate candidate, and Lincoln won the nomination with little opposition. Accepting the nomination, Lincoln delivered his House Divided Speech , drawing on Mark , "A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved—I do not expect the house to fall—but I do expect it will cease to be divided.
It will become all one thing, or all the other. The Senate campaign featured seven debates , the most famous political debates in American history. Lincoln warned that " The Slave Power " was threatening the values of republicanism, and accused Douglas of distorting the values of the Founding Fathers that all men are created equal , while Douglas emphasized his Freeport Doctrine , that local settlers were free to choose whether to allow slavery, and accused Lincoln of having joined the abolitionists.
Lincoln's argument was rooted in morality. He claimed that Douglas represented a conspiracy to extend slavery to free states. Douglas's argument was legal, claiming that Lincoln was defying the authority of the U. Supreme Court and the Dred Scott decision. Though the Republican legislative candidates won more popular votes, the Democrats won more seats, and the legislature re-elected Douglas. Lincoln's articulation of the issues gave him a national political presence.
Childhood and youth
Seward , Salmon P. Chase , Edward Bates , and Simon Cameron. While Lincoln was popular in the Midwest, he lacked support in the Northeast, and was unsure whether to seek the office. Lincoln argued that the Founding Fathers had little use for popular sovereignty and had repeatedly sought to restrict slavery. Lincoln insisted that morality required opposition to slavery, and rejected any "groping for some middle ground between the right and the wrong".
Journalist Noah Brooks reported, "No man ever before made such an impression on his first appeal to a New York audience. Historian David Herbert Donald described the speech as a "superb political move for an unannounced candidate, to appear in one rival's Seward own state at an event sponsored by the second rival's Chase loyalists, while not mentioning either by name during its delivery". On May 18, at the Republican National Convention in Chicago, Lincoln won the nomination on the third ballot, beating candidates such as Seward and Chase.
Lincoln's success depended on his campaign team, his reputation as a moderate on the slavery issue, and his strong support for Whiggish programs of internal improvements and the tariff. Pennsylvania put him over the top, led by Pennsylvania iron interests who were reassured by his tariff support.
Most Republicans agreed with Lincoln that the North was the aggrieved party, as the Slave Power tightened its grasp on the national government. Throughout the s, Lincoln doubted the prospects of civil war, and his supporters rejected claims that his election would incite secession. Delegates from eleven slave states walked out of the Democratic convention , disagreeing with Douglas's position on popular sovereignty, and ultimately selected incumbent Vice President John C.
Breckinridge as their candidate. Lincoln and Douglas competed for votes in the North, while Bell and Breckinridge primarily found support in the South. Lincoln's campaign team carefully projected his image as an ideal candidate. Michael Martinez wrote:. Lincoln and his political advisers manipulated his image and background Sometimes he appeared as a straight-shooting, plain-talking, common-sense-wielding man of the people. His image as the "Rail Splitter" dates from this era.
His supporters also portrayed him as "Honest Abe," the country fellow who was simply dressed and not especially polished or formal in his manner but who was as honest and trustworthy as his legs were long. Even Lincoln's tall, gangly frame was used to good advantage during the campaign as many drawings and posters show the candidates sprinting past his vertically challenged rivals. At other times, Lincoln appeared as a sophisticated, thoughtful, articulate, "presidential" candidate. Prior to the Republican convention, the Lincoln campaign began cultivating a nationwide youth organization, the Wide Awakes , which it used to generate popular support throughout the country to spearhead voter registration drives, thinking that new voters and young voters tended to embrace new parties.
People of the Northern states knew the Southern states would vote against Lincoln and rallied supporters for Lincoln. As Douglas and the other candidates campaigned, Lincoln was the only one to give no speeches. Instead, he relied on the enthusiasm of the Republican Party. The party did the leg work that produced majorities across the North, and produced an abundance of campaign posters, leaflets, and newspaper editorials.
Thousands of Republican speakers focused first on the party platform, and second on Lincoln's life story, emphasizing his childhood poverty. The goal was to demonstrate the superior power of "free labor", whereby a common farm boy could work his way to the top by his own efforts.
On November 6, Lincoln was elected the 16th president of the United States. He was the first Republican president and his victory was entirely due to his support in the North and West; no ballots were cast for him in 10 of the 15 Southern slave states, and he won only two of counties in all the Southern states. He won the free Northern states, as well as California and Oregon. Lincoln's victory in the electoral college was decisive: Lincoln had and his opponents added together had only After the November election, secessionists planned to leave the Union before he took office in March.
Attempts at compromise followed. Lincoln and the Republicans rejected the proposed Crittenden Compromise as contrary to the Party's free-soil in the territories platform. Lincoln did tacitly support the proposed Corwin Amendment to the Constitution, which passed Congress before Lincoln came into office and was then awaiting ratification by the states. That proposed amendment would have protected slavery in states where it already existed.
En route to his inauguration, Lincoln addressed crowds and legislatures across the North. On February 23, , he arrived in disguise in Washington, D. Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States that by the accession of a Republican Administration their property and their peace and personal security are to be endangered.
There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. Indeed, the most ample evidence to the contrary has all the while existed and been open to their inspection. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of him who now addresses you. I do but quote from one of those speeches when I declare that "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 cited his plans for banning the expansion of slavery as the key source of conflict between North and South, stating "One section of our country believes slavery is right and ought to be extended, while the other believes it is wrong and ought not to be extended.
This is the only substantial dispute. We must not be enemies The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.
By March , no leaders of the insurrection had proposed rejoining the Union on any terms. Meanwhile, Lincoln and the Republican leadership agreed that the dismantling of the Union could not be tolerated. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the Nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came. Fort Sumter's commander, Major Robert Anderson , sent a request for provisions to Washington, and the execution of Lincoln's order to meet that request was seen by the secessionists as an act of war.
Historian Allan Nevins argued that the newly inaugurated Lincoln made three miscalculations: underestimating the gravity of the crisis, exaggerating the strength of Unionist sentiment in the South, and not realizing the Southern Unionists were insisting there be no invasion. William Tecumseh Sherman talked to Lincoln during inauguration week and was "sadly disappointed" at his failure to realize that "the country was sleeping on a volcano" and that the South was preparing for war. Sumter showed he adhered to his vow not to be the first to shed fraternal blood.
But he also vowed not to surrender the forts. The only resolution of these contradictory positions was for the confederates to fire the first shot; they did just that. On April 15, Lincoln called on the states to send detachments totaling 75, troops to recapture forts, protect Washington, and "preserve the Union", which, in his view, remained intact despite the seceding states.
This call forced states to choose sides. Virginia seceded and was rewarded with the Confederate capital, despite the exposed position of Richmond close to Union lines. North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas followed over the following two months. Secession sentiment was strong in Missouri and Maryland, but did not prevail; Kentucky remained neutral.
States sent Union regiments south. On April 19, mobs in Baltimore, which controlled rail links, attacked Union troops who were changing trains. Local leaders' groups later burned critical rail bridges to the capital. The Army responded by arresting local Maryland officials. Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus in areas the army felt it needed to secure for troops to reach Washington. Taney , author of the Dred Scott opinion, to issue a writ of habeas corpus. In June Taney, acting as a circuit judge and not speaking for the Supreme Court, issued the writ, because in his opinion only Congress could suspend the writ.
Lincoln continued the army policy that the writ was suspended in limited areas despite the ex parte Merryman ruling. After the Battle of Fort Sumter , Lincoln took executive control of the war and formed an overall Union military strategy. Lincoln responded to this unprecedented political and military crisis as commander-in-chief , using unprecedented powers. He expanded his war powers, imposed a blockade on Confederate ports, disbursed funds before appropriation by Congress, suspended habeas corpus , and arrested and imprisoned thousands of suspected Confederate sympathizers.
Lincoln was supported by Congress and the northern public for these actions. In addition, Lincoln had to reinforce Union sympathies in the border slave states and keep the war from becoming an international conflict. The war dominated Lincoln's time and attention. From the start, it was clear that bipartisan support would be essential to success, and that any compromise would alienate factions on both sides of the aisle, such as the appointment of Republicans and Democrats to command positions. Copperheads criticized Lincoln for refusing to compromise on slavery.
The Radical Republicans criticized him for moving too slowly in abolishing slavery. In practice, the law had little effect, but it did signal political support for abolishing slavery. In late August , General John C. Lincoln cancelled the proclamation, saying its emancipation plan was political, lacking military necessity and a legal basis. In foreign policy, Lincoln's main goal was to stop military aid to the Confederacy.
The U. Navy had illegally intercepted a British mail ship, the Trent , on the high seas and seized two Confederate envoys; Britain protested vehemently while the U. Lincoln ended the crisis by releasing the two diplomats. Biographer James G. Randall dissected Lincoln's successful techniques: . Lincoln painstakingly monitored the telegraph reports coming into War Department.
He tracked all phases of the effort, consulted with governors, and selected generals based on their success as well as their state and party. He worked more often and more closely with Lincoln than any other senior official. In terms of war strategy, Lincoln articulated two priorities: to ensure that Washington was well-defended, and to conduct an aggressive war effort leading to prompt, decisive victory.
However major Northern newspapers demanded more—they expected victory within 90 days. Occasionally Mary would force him to take a carriage ride, concerned that he was working too hard. McClellan general-in-chief. McClellan's slow progress frustrated Lincoln, as did his position that no troops were needed to defend Washington.
McClellan blamed Lincoln's holding troops back for his campaign's subsequent failure. Pope complied with Lincoln's desire to advance on Richmond from the north, thus protecting Washington from counterattack. Pope was then soundly defeated at the Second Battle of Bull Run in the summer of , forcing the Army of the Potomac back to defend Washington. Despite his dissatisfaction with McClellan's failure to reinforce Pope, Lincoln restored him to command of all forces around Washington. Lincoln had waited for a military victory so that the Proclamation would not be perceived as the product of desperation.
McClellan then resisted the president's demand that he pursue Lee's army, while General Don Carlos Buell likewise refused orders to move the Army of the Ohio against rebel forces in eastern Tennessee. Both were presumably more supportive of the commander-in-chief. Burnside, against presidential advice, launched an offensive across the Rappahannock River and was defeated by Lee at Fredericksburg in December.
Desertions during came in the thousands and increased after Fredericksburg. The midterm elections in cost the Republicans severe losses due to rising inflation, high taxes, rumors of corruption, suspension of habeas corpus , military draft law , and fears that freed slaves would come North and undermine the labor market. The Emancipation Proclamation gained votes for Republicans in rural New England and the upper Midwest, but cost votes in the Irish and German strongholds and in the lower Midwest, where many Southerners had lived for generations.
In the spring of , Lincoln became optimistic about upcoming military campaigns to the point of thinking the end of the war could be near if a string of victories could be put together; these plans included attacks by Hooker on Lee north of Richmond, Rosecrans on Chattanooga, Grant on Vicksburg, and a naval assault on Charleston. Hooker was routed by Lee at the Battle of Chancellorsville in May. Meade followed Lee into Pennsylvania and beat him in the Gettysburg Campaign , but then failed to follow up despite Lincoln's demands. At the same time, Grant captured Vicksburg and gained control of the Mississippi River, splitting off the far western rebel states.
The Federal government's power to end slavery was limited by the Constitution, which before , committed the issue to individual states. Lincoln argued that slavery would end by preventing its expansion into new territories. He sought to persuade the states to accept compensated emancipation in return for their prohibition of slavery. Lincoln believed that curtailing slavery would make it obsolete. On June 19, , endorsed by Lincoln, Congress passed an act banning slavery on all federal territory.
In July, the Confiscation Act of was enacted, which set up court procedures to free the slaves of those convicted of aiding the rebellion. Although Lincoln believed this was not within Congress's power, he approved the bill in deference to the legislature. He felt such action could be taken only by the Commander-in-Chief, using Constitutional war powers, which he planned to do.
Lincoln discussed a draft of the Emancipation Proclamation with his cabinet. Privately, Lincoln concluded that the Confederacy's slave base had to be eliminated. However, Copperheads argued that emancipation was a stumbling block to peace and reunification. Although he said he personally wished all men could be free, Lincoln stated that the primary goal of his actions as president he used the first person pronoun and explicitly refers to his "official duty" was that of preserving the Union:  : — My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery.
If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union The Emancipation Proclamation, issued on September 22, , with effect on January 1, , declared free the slaves in 10 states not then under Union control, with exemptions specified for areas under Union control in two states.
Once the abolition of slavery in the rebel states became a military objective, Union armies advancing south liberated three million slaves. Lincoln's comment on the signing of the Proclamation was: "I never, in my life, felt more certain that I was doing right, than I do in signing this paper.
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He supported this in the Proclamation, but the undertaking failed. Enlisting former slaves became official policy. By the spring of , Lincoln was ready to recruit black troops in more than token numbers. In a letter to Tennessee military governor Andrew Johnson encouraging him to lead the way in raising black troops, Lincoln wrote, "The bare sight of 50, armed and drilled black soldiers on the banks of the Mississippi would end the rebellion at once".
Lincoln spoke at the Gettysburg battlefield cemetery on November 19, In words, and three minutes, Lincoln asserted that the nation was born not in , but in , "conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal". He defined the war as dedicated to the principles of liberty and equality for all. He declared that the deaths of so many brave soldiers would not be in vain, that slavery would end, and the future of democracy would be assured, that "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth".
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- Sketch of the life of Abraham Lincoln by Isaac N. Arnold.
- Abraham Lincoln?
William R. Rathvon is the only known eyewitness of both Lincoln's arrival at Gettysburg and the address itself to have left an audio recording of his recollections. One year before his death in , Rathvon's reminiscences were recorded on February 12, , at the Boston studios of radio station WRUL, including his reading the address, itself, and a 78 RPM record was pressed. Rathvon, TR Productions". Grant's victories at the Battle of Shiloh and in the Vicksburg campaign impressed Lincoln.
Responding to criticism of Grant after Shiloh , Lincoln had said, "I can't spare this man. He fights. Meade's failure to capture Lee's army after Gettysburg and the continued passivity of the Army of the Potomac persuaded Lincoln to promote Grant to supreme commander. Grant stayed with Meade's army and told Meade what to do. Lincoln was concerned that Grant might be considering a presidential candidacy in , as was McClellan.
Lincoln arranged for an intermediary to inquire into Grant's political intentions. Assured that he had none, Lincoln submitted Grant's appointment to the Senate. He obtained Congress's consent to make him Lieutenant General, a rank that had remained unoccupied since George Washington. Grant waged his bloody Overland Campaign in , with heavy losses on both sides. Grant's army moved steadily south. Lincoln authorized Grant to target infrastructure—plantations, railroads, and bridges—hoping to destroy the South's morale and weaken its fighting ability.
Lincoln emphasized defeat of the Confederate armies rather than destruction which was considerable for its own sake. As Grant continued to attrit Lee's forces, efforts to discuss peace began. Lincoln refused to allow any negotiation with the Confederacy as a coequal; his sole objective was an agreement to end the fighting and the meetings produced no results.
The Confederate government evacuated and the city fell. Lincoln visited the conquered capital. On April 9, Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox officially ending the war. Lincoln ran again in Stanton and Andrew Johnson. Lincoln used conversation and his patronage powers—greatly expanded from peacetime—to build support and fend off the Radicals' efforts to replace him. To broaden his coalition to include War Democrats as well as Republicans, Lincoln ran under the label of the new Union Party. Grant's bloody stalemates damaged Lincoln's re-election prospects, and many Republicans feared defeat.
Lincoln confidentially pledged in writing that if he should lose the election, he would still defeat the Confederacy before turning over the White House:  : 80 Lincoln did not show the pledge to his cabinet, but asked them to sign the sealed envelope. While the Democratic platform followed the "Peace wing" of the party and called the war a "failure", their candidate, McClellan, supported the war and repudiated the platform.
Lincoln provided Grant with more troops and led his party to renew its support for Grant. The National Union Party was united by Lincoln's support for emancipation. State Republican parties stressed the perfidy of the Copperheads. On March 4, , Lincoln delivered his second inaugural address. In it, he deemed the endless casualties to be God's will. Historian Mark Noll claims this speech to rank "among the small handful of semi-sacred texts by which Americans conceive their place in the world". Fondly do we hope—fervently do we pray—that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away.
Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man's years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said 3, years ago, so still it must be said, "the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether". With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.
Reconstruction began during the war, as Lincoln and his associates considered how to reintegrate the nation, and the fates of Confederate leaders and freed slaves. Shortly after Lee's surrender, a general asked Lincoln how to treat defeated Confederates. Lincoln replied, "Let 'em up easy. His main goal was to keep the union together. He planned to go forward not by focusing on who to blame, but on how to rebuild the nation as one.
Thaddeus Stevens , Sen. Charles Sumner and Sen. Benjamin Wade , who otherwise remained Lincoln's allies. Determined to reunite the nation and not alienate the South, Lincoln urged that speedy elections under generous terms be held. His Amnesty Proclamation of December 8, , offered pardons to those who had not held a Confederate civil office, had not mistreated Union prisoners, and would sign an oath of allegiance.
As Southern states fell, they needed leaders while their administrations re-formed. Banks to promote a plan that would restore statehood when 10 percent of the voters agreed. Democratic opponents accused Lincoln of using the military to ensure his and the Republicans' political aspirations.
The Radicals denounced his policy as too lenient, and passed their own plan, the Wade-Davis Bill , in , which Lincoln vetoed. The Radicals retaliated by refusing to seat elected representatives from Louisiana, Arkansas, and Tennessee. Lincoln's appointments were designed to harness both moderates and Radicals. Chase , who Lincoln believed would uphold his emancipation and paper money policies. After implementing the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln increased pressure on Congress to outlaw slavery throughout the nation with a constitutional amendment.
He declared that such an amendment would "clinch the whole matter". This first attempt failed, falling short of the required two-thirds majority on June 15, , in the House of Representatives. After a House debate, the second attempt passed on January 31, Lincoln believed the federal government had limited responsibility to the millions of freedmen.
He signed Senator Charles Sumner's Freedmen's Bureau bill that set up a temporary federal agency designed to meet the immediate needs of former slaves. The law opened land for a lease of three years with the ability to purchase title for the freedmen. Lincoln announced a Reconstruction plan that involved short-term military control, pending readmission under the control of southern Unionists.
Historians agree that it is impossible to predict exactly how Reconstruction would have proceeded had Lincoln lived. Biographers James G. Randall and Richard Current , according to David Lincove, argue that: . It is likely that had he lived, Lincoln would have followed a policy similar to Johnson's, that he would have clashed with congressional Radicals, that he would have produced a better result for the freedmen than occurred, and that his political skills would have helped him avoid Johnson's mistakes. Eric Foner argues that: . Unlike Sumner and other Radicals, Lincoln did not see Reconstruction as an opportunity for a sweeping political and social revolution beyond emancipation.
He had long made clear his opposition to the confiscation and redistribution of land. He believed, as most Republicans did in April , that the voting requirements should be determined by the states. He assumed that political control in the South would pass to white Unionists, reluctant secessionists, and forward-looking former Confederates. But time and again during the war, Lincoln, after initial opposition, had come to embrace positions first advanced by abolitionists and Radical Republicans.
Lincoln undoubtedly would have listened carefully to the outcry for further protection for the former slaves It is entirely plausible to imagine Lincoln and Congress agreeing on a Reconstruction policy that encompassed federal protection for basic civil rights plus limited black suffrage, along the lines Lincoln proposed just before his death. Lincoln adhered to the Whig theory of the presidency, giving Congress primary responsibility for lawmaking while the Executive enforced them. Lincoln vetoed only four bills; the only important one was the Wade-Davis Bill with its harsh Reconstruction program.
The Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act provided government grants for agricultural colleges in each state. The Pacific Railway Acts of and granted federal support for the construction of the United States' First Transcontinental Railroad , which was completed in In July the US issued paper currency for the first time. The currency became known greenbacks , because it was printed in green on the reverse side.
Other important legislation involved two measures to raise revenues for the Federal government: tariffs a policy with long precedent , and a Federal income tax. In , Lincoln signed the second and third Morrill Tariff s, following the first enacted by Buchanan. Also in , Lincoln signed the Revenue Act of , creating the first U.
The Revenue Act of adopted rates that increased with income. Lincoln presided over the expansion of the federal government's economic influence in other areas. The National Banking Act created the system of national banks.
Abraham Lincoln - Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
It also established a national currency. In , Congress created the Department of Agriculture. Presented with execution warrants for Santee Dakota who were convicted of killing innocent farmers, Lincoln conducted his own personal review of each warrant, eventually approving 39 for execution one was later reprieved.
In response to rumors of a renewed draft, the editors of the New York World and the Journal of Commerce published a false draft proclamation that created an opportunity for the editors and others employed at the publications to corner the gold market. Lincoln attacked the media about such behavior, ordering the military to seize the two papers. The seizure lasted for two days. Lincoln is largely responsible for the Thanksgiving holiday. It had been sporadically proclaimed by the federal government on irregular dates.
The prior proclamation had been during James Madison 's presidency 50 years earlier. In , Lincoln declared the final Thursday in November of that year to be a day of Thanksgiving. In June , Lincoln approved the Yosemite Grant enacted by Congress, which provided unprecedented federal protection for the area now known as Yosemite National Park.
Lincoln's declared philosophy on court nominations was that "we cannot ask a man what he will do, and if we should, and he should answer us, we should despise him for it. Therefore we must take a man whose opinions are known. Noah Haynes Swayne was chosen as an anti-slavery lawyer who was committed to the Union. Samuel Freeman Miller , supported Lincoln in the election and was an avowed abolitionist. David Davis was Lincoln's campaign manager in and had served as a judge in Lincoln's Illinois court circuit.
Democrat Stephen Johnson Field , a previous California Supreme Court justice, provided geographic and political balance. Chase, became Chief Justice. Lincoln believed Chase was an able jurist, would support Reconstruction legislation, and that his appointment united the Republican Party. Lincoln appointed 32 federal judges, including four Associate Justices and one Chief Justice to the Supreme Court of the United States , and 27 judges to the United States district courts.
Lincoln appointed no judges to the United States circuit courts during his time in office. West Virginia was admitted to the Union on June 20, Nevada , which became the third State in the far-west of the continent, was admitted as a free state on October 31, Booth was a well-known actor and a Confederate spy from Maryland; though he never joined the Confederate army, he had contacts with the Confederate secret service.
Lincoln left to attend the play Our American Cousin on April At the last minute, Grant decided to go to New Jersey to visit his children instead of attending the play. Lincoln's guest Major Henry Rathbone momentarily grappled with Booth, but Booth stabbed him and escaped. Lincoln was taken across the street to Petersen House. After death his face relaxed into a smile. Lincoln's flag-enfolded body was then escorted in the rain to the White House by bareheaded Union officers, while the city's church bells rang.
Booth was tracked to a farm in Virginia. Refusing to surrender, he was shot on April The caskets containing Lincoln's body and the body of his son Willie traveled for three weeks on the Lincoln Special funeral train. Many others gathered along the tracks as the train passed with bands, bonfires, and hymn singing  : 31—58  : — or in silent grief. As a young man, Lincoln was a religious skeptic.