Argumentative Essay On Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln


The United States has a rich history and this background is full of challenges and victories. This has not been possible without certain individuals who lived during such times. Starting from key government officials and presidents who took America all through from the time of independence to this day, the nation would not have been the way it is if it was not for the foundation that was laid then.

One such notable person is Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president of the United States of America. He was born in 1809 and raised in Kentucky and after some years of growth and learning became a lawyer hence finally became the president of America. All his life, Lincoln lived for fifty six years before he died through assassination.

Notable things about Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln is the United States president that led the country all through the American Civil War. It was one of the painful moments in the history of America if not the worst. It is termed as the greatest constitutional, moral and political crisis. This way, he maintained the union of the people and destroyed the slavery that was so prominent in the United States. He further strengthened the federal rule and again modernized the economy of America.

He had a very humane personality and again an historical role as a savior to the Americans and the slaves of that time by creating a legacy that lasted. He was very eloquent on issues of democracy and his persistence that the union deserved saving expressively the ideals supported through a self-government that all countries endeavor to achieve.

His legacy and assassination

When he became president in 1861, he issued the emancipation proclamation that saw freedom come to all those who were under slavery within the 1863 confederacy. Due to what he did, he became the greatest person in the history of the United States because of his preposterous effect on America and his exclusive appeal. He has a very significant story that is characterized by a rise from very trivial beginnings to get the highest office in the nation. It is too unfortunate that he was killed in a moment when the land needed his services most.

Unfortunately, fate in the hands of some actor, John Wilkes Booth decided otherwise. Lincoln’s life was terminated untimely through this incidence. During this time Lincoln supported a policy of fast reunification during the reconstruction that had started in 1863 before he finally met his death.

Study Questions

Was Lincoln's performance as president in keeping with his previous political record?

In certain areas, yes, and in others, no. As a Whig in the Illinois State Legislature and later in the U.S. House of Representatives, Lincoln was a staunch advocate of internal improvements, a national banking system, and frontier settlement. During his presidency, he continued to support these causes, and implemented policies to further them. Additionally, he maintained a consistent opposition to the expansion of slavery. An unsuccessful bill to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia later became law during his first term as president. So, generally, with regard to domestic policy, Lincoln's presidency was of a piece with his previous political activity. The main difference between Lincoln the legislator and Lincoln the president lies in his attitude toward the balance of power between the executive and legislative branches of the federal government. As a Congressman, Lincoln had been extremely critical of President Polk's sweeping executive privileges during the Mexican War, arguing that only the legislature had the power to declare and direct the course of war. But during the Civil War, Lincoln himself usurped a considerable amount of Congressional authority, wielding more power than any president before or, arguably, since.

How did Lincoln transform the nature of the federal government?

Insofar as the Civil War was a battle to determine the balance of power between federal and state rights, the Union emerged from Appomattox with a much stronger federal government than ever before. Lincoln had a large hand in this, directing an elaborate military and policy campaign to keep the rights of the states in check. By declaring martial law in several areas above and beyond the authority of several state governors, by banishing and imprisoning numerous dissidents considered traitors to the federal cause, and by asserting and defending the policy that it was fundamentally impossible for the several states to separate from the Union, Lincoln augmented the powers of the federal government considerably. Through the passage of several domestic policies such as the Homestead, Land Grant and Pacific Railroad Acts, Lincoln strong-armed federal authority westward in the midst of the conflict, weakening the already diminishing position of the Confederate states. And finally, in the institution of the first income tax and the first issue of a national currency, Lincoln laid down a pair of economic cornerstones that continue to propel the federal government to this day.

To what extent was Lincoln responsible for ending slavery in the United States?

Slavery had been abolished in certain northern states during the late eighteenth century. By the time of the Civil War, only four of the states that remained in the Union, the so-called border states, continued to retain slavery. In the early stages of the war, Lincoln took a very conservative approach to the question of slavery, following the law to the letter by restoring numerous slaves freed during battle to their previous owners! Even his much- celebrated Emancipation Proclamation only applied to slaves in the Confederacy, and in fact had no direct bearing on slavery policy in what at that time remained of the United States. This proclamation freed very few slaves in short order, and what slaves were eventually freed during the war were liberated though the power of war rather than by executive decree. Lincoln ran for re-election in 1864 on the platform of an abolition amendment, and though such legislation was eventually seen through, it was months after Lincoln's death before his successor, President Johnson, signed the amendment into law. Thus, though Lincoln today stands as the obvious figurehead of the abolition movement, the end of slavery in the United States was a much more gradual and complicated process. Lincoln did much to encourage the final push toward emancipation, but he had several critics among the more radical abolitionists. In the end, Lincoln's contribution was more in the rhetoric than in the actual doing.

Essay Topics

What events in Lincoln's youth and early manhood prepared him for the rigors of politics?

Was Lincoln a politician in the right place at the right time?

Did Lincoln overstep his bounds as president?

Which of Lincoln's many wartime policies do you find most objectionable, and why?

How did Lincoln alienate the Republican party during the course of his presidency?

Why was Lincoln able to win re-election despite fears that he would be defeated?

How might Lincoln have handled reconstruction had he survived to serve his second term?

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