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Abraham Lincoln and Slavery

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Abraham Lincoln and Slavery

What did Abraham Lincoln do and think regarding slavery during the Civil War? In Abraham's First Inaugural Address he states "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."" (Pg 53-54) Lincoln did not want the South to be afraid of his Republican Presidency either. That was why he made these statements at his Inauguration about slavery. Lincoln also talks about leaving the returning of fugitive slave clause alone, and keeping it in the Constitution. He feels he should still abide by the clause because to Lincoln the intention of the lawgiver was the law. This clause was debated whether it was to be enforced by either national or state authority. " If the slave is to be surrendered, it can be of but little consequence to him, or to others, by which authority is done." (Pg 55)

Lincoln during his inauguration also talks of how Congress may prohibit slavery in the territories, and must Congress protect slavery in the territories? Lincoln says the Constitution does not say therefore it will not happen. Lincoln was a follower of the Constitution and did not plan on changing clauses. He abided by the fugitive slave clause and the suppression of the foreign slave trade.

In the letter to Horace Greeley, Lincoln writes of saving the Union, and not destroying or saving slavery. Lincoln states "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 by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that." Lincoln was strictly for the Union and if he could save the Union and end slavery he would, but his first thoughts were for the Union, and only the Union. He deals with slavery in this manner because he does not want to upset or cause turmoil in the South. Even though the Civil War was going on, he wants it to end and the Union to be whole.

The difference between the First Inaugural Speech and the letter to Horace Greeley was to facilitate in the inauguration speech Lincoln did not want to disarray the entire slavery issue with the South, in addition to abide by the Constitution and keep it that way. In the letter Greeley, Lincoln writes of freeing slaves and saving the Union at the same time if he could have. In the letter Lincoln was entirely for saving the Union.

What these writings tell us about the Civil War and Lincoln as a National Leader was with the purpose of saving the Union was Lincoln's idea. He goes through time and changes his mind on altering the current status of slavery. When he wrote the Emancipation Proclamation his intentions were to free the slaves. As a National Leader Lincoln at first tried to please everyone, but then realized this was not possible and he went with his own thoughts of slavery. Time went on and distorted over his position of slavery as well as saving the Union. This also showed in Lincoln's mind the real end to slavery in the United States was the real goal of the war.

There is a contradiction between the letter to Horace



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