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Lincoln and America – The Civil War and Its Aftermath Essay

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Updated: Dec 3rd, 2021

Abraham Lincoln was the sixteenth president of the United States of America and is a renowned figure because he led the nation through the most disturbing event in America’s national history, the Civil war. Although much of his fame is because he was assassinated for helping the South slaves, he is also believed to be a true leader and is famous for his poignant speeches. He set brought an end to slavery by setting “all persons held as slaves” “forever free” and promising them freedom by ensuring that the “military and naval authority” recognize slaves as “maintain the freedom of such persons”.

The primary and most popular reason for the civil war was believed to be the issue of slavery. In reality, the north and southern states began the war because the South was not entitled to the States’ rights, which they demanded and were not getting. The favoring of the Northern industrialized states by the Congress ignited the south that was forced to sell their raw materials and cotton only to factories from the north and not to any other country, even if they received high profits.

In addition, the industries of the north imposed extremely high taxes on the finished products which made these materials extremely unaffordable to the south populace. All these and many other differences between the north and south states of America were the crucial reason for the civil war. Following the rebellion of the southern states, Abraham Lincoln freed those slaves in the Confederate States to punish the slaves who continued with their efforts of war. The slaves of the south were freed, but most of the south populace did not have any plantations nor did they own many slaves. They were mostly farmers who looked after their plantations with their families and were fighting for their rights with the government so that they could lead lives without being dictated by the government. Before the civil war, Abraham Lincoln had a plan and wanted to end slavery gradually, so that it would not hurt the plantation owners.

Lincoln also wanted to give the liberty to plantation owners to sell their produce wherever they wanted, if they received acceptable prices. However, the northern states did not approve of these policies and war broke out between the northern and southern states, with the south fighting over their rights of taxation issues and dictatorship from the government. The northern states chose not to abide by Lincoln’s ideas and policies and formed a confederacy, following which the civil war broke out.

Slavery was important in America primarily because agriculture was an important business and many people owned plantations. Huge numbers of people were required to work on these plantations to produce economic goods and materials. The raw material which was produced by southern plantation in the south by their slaves were used by industries in the north to prepare finished goods. Of all the raw material produced by slaves in the southern plantation, cotton was the most important material required for the Northern factories, for which slaves were needed in large numbers by the plantation owners, therefore slavery was extremely crucial to maintain the business and economy of the northern industries which had begun to flourish.

In his first Inaugural speech, Lincoln states that he did not consider it his business to “interfere with the institution of slavery where it exists” and does not have any “inclination to do so”. He states that part of the country considered slavery to be “right” while the other half considered it to be “wrong” which is the root cause of all issues. In his Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln freed only the slaves of the confederate states who were very few numbers and did not include those slaves who were parts of states with huge plantations. Slaves were freed selectively by Lincoln who freed slaves mostly from the southern states where slavery was not very important and farmers owned small plantations on which they worked with their families. This move of Lincoln was primarily to punish these states which were engaged in a civil war and not with any intention of abolishing slavery.

Indeed, I am truly surprised because this move was a political measure and the actual slaves who were in huge numbers and worked on plantations under miserable conditions were not freed. However, Lincoln states in his first inaugural address that “he has no intention” of abolishing slavery which indicates the importance of slaves and slavery to America for economic and political stability and growth. What Lincoln did was took the selective middle path, and took the first step towards abolishing slavery in certain parts, a move which indicates Lincoln’s future design and plan, which could be the complete abolishment of slavery in the future?

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