Lincolns Presidency

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade October 2001

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Once elected, Lincoln kept pretty quiet about his intentions as President. He decided that he shouldn't say anything until his inauguration. At his inauguration, Lincoln said he had no idea of putting an end to slavery. However, he was against the rumors of large groups of southerners forming an alliance against the union to protect their rights as slave owners. He believed that no states could ever legally separate from the union. This was the whole reason why Lincoln put a greater deal of interest in slavery. Once in office, he had another ordeal. Most of his cabinet were former foes in past presidential races. Put together, they were overall a well-qualified group. But they couldn't agree with each other on most issues. They also didn't agree with Lincoln being President, they at first thought that each one of them would be a better leader. They later discovered by seeing Lincoln in action, that he turned out to be better than any of them.

The events at Fort Sumter proved to be the first test for Lincoln in the presidency. Lincoln was informed that the fort was surrounded by hostile forces. The choices were to either withdrawal or to use force immediately. Lincoln decided to wait it out for a while. He was later told that things were heating up at Fort Sumter. Lincoln decided to have supplies sent to the troops at the fort. He then told the governor of South Carolina that an attack was to commence upon the fort at any time. The president of the south, Jefferson Davis, wanted to dishearten Lincoln and ordered the attack on the fort. The fort was attacked by confederate forces on April 12th, and ended on the 14th. Only two men were lost in the last hours of the battle, but the commander of the fort, Robert Anderson, surrendered because they had used up all of their supplies. This battle was the first of many in the Civil war.

After the Battle at Fort Sumter, four more states of the union coupled with the rest of the confederacy. These states were Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia. Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri were in a chaotic state. Certain people supported the union and some supported the confederacy and their rights as slaveholders. Sometimes when union soldiers were marching through Union states, confederate supporters would attack them in large mobs. This caused Lincoln to suspend habeas corpus. He then had the mob leaders arrested. Thereafter there was little resistance to the union in the states.

There was only one state that hadn't really sided with the confederacy or the union, Kentucky. Lincoln and Davis were trying to figure out what to do as well as what the other was trying to do. Lincoln soon decided that Davis wasn't going to make a move, so he decided to the same. That is, until confederate troops were found in a number of cities. Then he sent General Grant and large group of soldiers to Paducah, Kentucky. Things soon quieted down and Kentucky remained a neutral state even though most people believed it was part of the union. Missouri had joined the union, but was being occupied by a large amount of confederate troops. There were already many union soldiers there, but since Missouri was a slave state, it had many supporters of the confederacy. These people would house the southern troops, which proved to be a problem for the union. But the leaders of union troops found a way to gain the upper hand. Confederate troops were having a rally in St. Louis and were surprised to find the better part of the union army. The union pushed the southern front back to the Arkansas border later after the surprise attack.

Far into the war, Lincoln was attempting to make a decision on an issue that had been important for a great deal of time, slavery. He first stated that he would not interfere with the slave trade, but that was before the war started. Things had changed, and so would his decision. He decided that slavery was no longer a right for Americans but a reason for the start of a war. At first slaves were freed in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, a decision not made by Lincoln but by union General David Hunter. In light of this, Lincoln discovered that this wasn't just a war of north and south, but a fight to end slavery altogether. He then decided to begin writing the Emancipation proclamation. Not just to end slavery, but also to give union troops a cause to fight for.

In most everything he did as president, Lincoln thought about what his decisions would do to the nation before making them. He consulted his cabinet even when he was sure about something. I believe that his decisions about civil rights and the Emancipation were in his legal power and he was right in making them.