Civil war

Civil war
What were the pressures on Lincoln as he contemplated the question of emancipation? Why did he not free all of the slaves?

Some Americans consider Abraham Lincoln to the Great Emancipator and the man who freed the African-American slaves. But others are sure that Lincoln was an opportunist who lagged behind the abolitionist movement, an advocate of Afro-Americans` voluntary emigration...

Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865) was an American politician, the 16th president of the United States (1861-1865), the first president from the Republican Party, the liberator of American slaves, the national hero of the American people (Catton 2004).

The Civil War began in 1861 and it was during Lincoln's presidency. It was a difficult time for America and its people. The plight of the federal army dissatisfied Americans. Lincoln was under pressure of the Republican Party, which included both supporters of an immediate abolition of slavery and members, who were advocating gradual emancipation of slaves. Lincoln pursued the policy of compromise, thus managed to prevent a party split.

On the 22nd of August 1862 in an interview with New York Tribune, after Lincoln was asked why he was delaying the release of slaves, he replied: “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or 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”.

Failures of the army of the North led Lincoln to address the issue of slavery. The plan of emancipation of slaves, announced by the President in his Address to Congress on December 3, 1861, included three major provisions of the compromise: the gradual liberation of slaves, slave owners compensation, resettlement of former slaves from the United States. In his message to Congress on March 6, 1862 Lincoln pointed to the need for cooperation with any state that would agree to the gradual elimination of slavery; such states were guaranteed a financial help. However, Lincoln's plan was not supported by states.

Later, the Congress and the President were able to develop and put in place sufficiently coherent radical policies: in the period from March 31 to July 17, 1862. The president Lincoln signed the Acts passed by Congress on the Prohibition of the armed forces of the North to return fugitive slaves back to their owners. It prohibited the release of slaves in the District Colombia, the abolition of slavery in all U.S. territories, the confiscation of rebels` property. The publication of these laws marked the beginning of a new period in the policy of the federal authorities - the period of active struggle with the institution of slavery (Carwardine 2007).

On the 22nd of September 1862 Abraham Lincoln signed the so-called preliminary Emancipation Proclamation of Afro-Americans from slavery in the states which residents have participated in the rebellion. Contrary to the opinion of several respected academic historians, it did not take away slavery in the United States. The proclamation date of 1 January 1863 was called only as the expected date of release of slaves, but not the destruction of the principle of slavery.
In fact, the "Proclamation" of Lincoln declared free from the 1st of January 1863 only those blacks who lived on the territory of the Confederacy. It didn’t include blacks, who lived under the rule of the Union. If to take, for example, New Orleans; the largest city of Louisiana, a part of the Confederacy, was occupied by federal troops, and therefore "Proclamation" did not spread on black slaves in New Orleans. It did not apply to slaves in Memphis, located in Tennessee, and slaves in Norfolk in Virginia State, since these two cities of the Confederacy were captured by northerners. And, of course, "Proclamation" did not make free the slaves in the remaining part of the Union of Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland and Delaware. So, Lincoln’s main idea was to save the union and not to abolish slavery. But anyway, the Emancipation Proclamation declared that all slaves within the Confederacy were to be free.



Compare the problems faced by the administrations of Lincoln and Davis in prosecuting the war. Why was Lincoln more successful in resolving his problems?

Considering the problems faced by the administration of Lincoln and Davis during the war, there is a need to look through the background to these events. As is known, in November 1860 Abraham Lincoln has become the president of the U.S. Being against the spread of slavery; he nonetheless proclaimed a policy of noninterference in the affairs of those states where it has already been legalized. Despite this, the 11 southern states chose to secede from the Union, but did not recognize the abolitionist federal government (Hansen 2002).

The war was started because of abolitionism – the so called movement for the abolition of slavery in the U.S. States joined the Union (or acceded to it), as sovereign entities, while delegating some powers of the federal (central) government in Washington. Declaring their right to restoration of full sovereignty, the southern states seceded from the Union in February 1861 and formed their own union, the Confederation. Its president was Jefferson Davis, and capital - Richmond, Virginia. Lincoln, who believed that the Union was indivisible, has announced the states included in the Confederacy, rebel. From a formal point of view, it was the insurgency, and not a problem of slavery the cause of the war. Abraham Lincoln is remembered mostly as a direct and sincere person with high ideals, but he was also a good politician. His pursued line could be driven by a desire to preserve peace and the desire to shift responsibility for the conflict in the "Confederate". He did not do any attack actions, but refused to withdraw the federal garrison at Fort Sumter in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina - the proud city of the militant Southern state. In response, Confederate artillery bombarded the fort, beginning the war.

From the outset, the forces of the parties were not equal. In 23 northern states there lived nearly 23 million people. Their territory covered by a dense network of railways, included 75% of the industry. The South, with its 5 million whites remained the agricultural region, whose economy was entirely dependent on cotton exports and imports of industrial goods. So it was not ready for a long war and was vulnerable to a blockade from the sea and the fleet north was much stronger. Any prolongation of the conflict could mean the victory of the northerners.

But in fact, none of the parties expect the war to be so long, so originally Lincoln called there only 75,000 of volunteers. But on the July 21, 1861 the Federal army was defeated in the first Battle near the river Bull-Run, and north had to spend an additional mobilization. By the end of the war, the allied army numbered about one million, and the army of the Confederation - about 500 000 people. So, Davison faced the problem of lack of people in his army. At the same time, Lincoln didn’t have that problem. American Civil War was the first in a new history of the clash of so many armies, which led to an unprecedented number of victims.

On other fronts, the northerners had an advantage from the outset. Because of Davis’s lack of people, he failed in the first-ever naval battle of two armored vehicles in March 1862.

The result of the Civil war was that the Confederation collapsed. The war took 600,000 lives. South of the country was in ruins (Carwardine 2007).
Trying to analyze the problems that Lincoln and Davis met while prosecuting the war, it becomes clear that it is not so easy to define them. The main Davis’s problem was the lack of people in the army, while the Lincoln’s main problem was the controversy with members of the Union about some questions, especially the abolition of slavery.


Work Cited:

Carwardine, Richard. (2007). Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power. Pp. 45-46.
Catton, Bruce., McPherson, James M. (2004). The Civil War. Pp. 178-179.
Hansen, Harry., Gallagher, Gary,. Wheeler, Richard S. (2002). The Civil War: A History. p. 17.

Civil war 8.1 of 10 on the basis of 3181 Review.