Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee. Saving the Union

Essay by shibikotUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, March 2005

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Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee wanted to achieve diverse goals during the Civil War. Lincoln was determined to save the Union and help the United States move into a new era. He wanted to settle the issue of slavery in the United States, founded on the principles of liberty and equal rights for all. Robert E. Lee fought the war for the Southern traditions. Lee wanted to defend Southern traditions. He fought the war not only to protect slavery, but also to preserve a whole culture, a way of life. Southerners' wealth and identity belonged to the land they lived on. Lee fought to protect sovereignty, pride, identity, and a decision to secede from the Union. Despite the differences, both men will be heroes for American people.

Abraham Lincoln created a sense of nationhood based on equality and coupled it with an American national culture which enabled the United States to maintain its unity.

Lincoln became extraordinarily popular not only because he came from a "common background" but also because of the unusual strength and clarity with which he felt and saw the troubles that were affecting the nation. Lincoln was able to exhibit both warring and emotional leadership. After he established the fact that slaves should be free, he knew he had to make peace with the South to pull the country back together.

Despite the dignity, professionalism, and military skills that Lee demonstrated, he represented a country that enslaved an entire race, traded, and sold human beings like livestock. Although the Confederate leaders insisted that they fought for "states rights," one of the "rights" was the continuation of slavery. Robert E. Lee came from a good family. He chose to fight for the confederates although President Lincoln asked him to fight for the North. Lee was a...