Top of page

Collection Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress

Articles and essays.

abraham lincoln and the civil war essay

Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War

Among outstanding political figures, Abraham Lincoln holds a specific place. He was the president of the USA in a very difficult period for the country. The Civil War, which lasted four years, claimed the lives of more than 600 thousand of the Americans. Abraham Lincoln has placed himself on record as a person who has prevented the collapse of the USA and who has liberated slaves. He is rightly considered as a successor of the Founding Father of the USA and the adherent of the American democracy.

There is few information about the childhood of Lincoln. He was born in 12 February 1809 in a family of a poor farmer. Since early childhood, he used to work hard. In the age of seven, his family moved to Indiana. In the XIX century, there were many dangers for American farmers. The constant epidemics, conflicts with the Indians and the depletion of soil resources made them move from place to place. These were the reasons that prevented Lincoln from receiving a good education. Basically, he was self-taught person (“Abraham Lincoln” par.1). During his life, he occupied many professions. He studied law aiming to obtain a barrister’s license.

His first steps in politics he made in 1834 when he was elected for Illinois State Assembly. Two years later, he passed the exam and was called to the bar. Working as a lawyer, he became very popular among the citizens of Illinois. In 1847, Lincoln was elected to the House of Representatives. Later on in 1854 after a chapter of accidents on the arena of politics, he joined the Republican Party. The end of 1950s was the turning point in his life. On the nominating convention in Chicago, he was stated for the Presidency. During the election campaign, Lincoln succeeded to avoid hard question concerning the abolition of slavery and in 1860, he became the president of the USA.

The election of the representative of the Republican Party was the reason for a separation of eight slave-owning states of the South, which proclaimed the formation of the new independent state (“Civil War” par.4). In 1861 they elected for presidency of the Confederate States of America Jefferson Finis Davis.

The situation was very difficult for Lincoln. He had no any experience in administration of the state; moreover, the government was not organized. Lincoln was eager to persuade the slaveholders not to secede from the Union. Meanwhile the circumstances demanded decisive actions. The representatives of the CSA attacked and captured Fort Sumter. In two days, Lincoln appeal all loyal citizens to defend the country. There were more than 75 thousand of volunteers who entered the army. In such a way, the Civil War began.

From the very beginning, there was the prevailing opinion that the Federals would easily conquer the slaveholders. The northern states occupied larger territory; they had more resources and more powerful industry. Nevertheless, the Federals were not ready for the war. Many army officers at the beginning of the war had defected to the enemy. The initial phase of the war was unsuccessful for the Federals (Mcpherson par.4).

However, due to a succession of the reforms and the effective work of the government the Northern states succeeded to turn the war around. Two laws adopted by Lincoln were decisive for the victory and for the further development of the country. Everyone who wanted to receive land in his disposal had an opportunity to buy it for a token payment. In such a way, Lincoln attracted volunteers to the army of the Federals. Moreover, in 1863 Emancipation Proclamation was issued. In such a way, the Civil War against the Confederation was also associated with the war against slavery. Lincoln was deadly wounded in 1865 by John Wilkes Booth, who was the passionate proponent of the Confederation.

Works Cited

Abraham Lincoln 2015. Web.

Civil War 2015. Web.

Mcpherson, James, A Brief Overview of the American Civil War , n.d. Web.

Cite this paper

StudyCorgi. (2020, November 6). Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War. Retrieved from

StudyCorgi. (2020, November 6). Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War.

"Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War." StudyCorgi , 6 Nov. 2020,

1. StudyCorgi . "Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War." November 6, 2020.


StudyCorgi . "Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War." November 6, 2020.

StudyCorgi . 2020. "Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War." November 6, 2020.

StudyCorgi . (2020) 'Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War'. 6 November.

This paper was written and submitted to our database by a student to assist your with your own studies. You are free to use it to write your own assignment, however you must reference it properly.

If you are the original creator of this paper and no longer wish to have it published on StudyCorgi, request the removal .

Encyclopedia Britannica

Childhood and youth

What were Abraham Lincoln’s politics?

How did abraham lincoln get into politics, what were abraham lincoln’s chief goals in the american civil war, what is abraham lincoln’s legacy, what was abraham lincoln’s personal life like.

Judah Benjamin

Abraham Lincoln

Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was a member of the Whig Party and later a Republican . He believed that the government’s job was to do what a community of people could not do for themselves. One of his greatest preoccupations as a political thinker was the issue of self-governance and the promise and problems that could arise from it. The choice by some to allow the expansion of slavery was one such problem and was central to the American Civil War . Although opposed to slavery from the outset of his political career, Lincoln would not make its abolition a mainstay of his policy until several years into the war.

From 1834 to 1840, Abraham Lincoln occupied a seat in the Illinois state legislature. He also practiced law in Illinois during the 1830s and ’40s, and in that time he became one of the state’s most renowned lawyers. He first entered national politics in 1847 while serving a single term in Congress . In 1858 he made a bid for the Senate in a much-publicized race which he ultimately lost but which transformed him into a nationally recognized political figure. In 1860 he was nominated at the Republican National Convention to be the party’s presidential candidate, and he embarked on a presidential campaign that he would win.

Abraham Lincoln’s chief goal in the American Civil War was to preserve the Union. At the outset of the war, he would have done so at any cost, including by allowing slavery to continue. But abolishing slavery would become a nonnegotiable objective for him as the war progressed because of his own long-expressed abhorrence for the practice and because of the growing antislavery sentiment among his fellow Northerners. His intransigence on the subject scuttled possibilities of a peace conference between the Union and the Confederacy in 1864. By winning the war, he achieved both these objectives—reunion and abolition.

For many, Abraham Lincoln has gone down in history as something of a martyr for his country. That’s in part because of his assassination by John Wilkes Booth , which happened to occur on Good Friday —a connection that has been drawn time and again. But Lincoln had already begun to be mythicized during his lifetime, some of his contemporaries drawing parallels between him and figures like George Washington . Lincoln had his critics as well, particularly in the South: there were those who regarded him as an opponent to the values of personal freedom and states’ rights .

Abraham Lincoln was born in 1809 in a backwoods cabin in Kentucky. His father was a pioneer and a farmer, and his mother was a deeply religious woman who died when Lincoln was young. His father’s second wife adored Lincoln and is said to have stoked his love of learning. Lincoln would go on to marry Mary Todd and have four boys with her, only one of whom survived into adulthood.

Read a brief summary of this topic

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln , byname Honest Abe, the Rail-Splitter , or the Great Emancipator , (born February 12, 1809, near Hodgenville , Kentucky, U.S.—died April 15, 1865, Washington, D.C.), 16th president of the United States (1861–65), who preserved the Union during the American Civil War and brought about the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States.

Lincoln and his cabinet

Among American heroes, Lincoln continues to have a unique appeal for his fellow countrymen and also for people of other lands. This charm derives from his remarkable life story—the rise from humble origins, the dramatic death—and from his distinctively human and humane personality as well as from his historical role as saviour of the Union and emancipator of enslaved people. His relevance endures and grows especially because of his eloquence as a spokesman for democracy . In his view, the Union was worth saving not only for its own sake but because it embodied an ideal, the ideal of self- government . In recent years, the political side to Lincoln’s character, and his racial views in particular, have come under close scrutiny, as scholars continue to find him a rich subject for research. The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. , was dedicated to him on May 30, 1922.

Follow Abraham Lincoln from a frontier cabin to the White House where he guided America through the Civil War

Lincoln was born in a backwoods cabin 3 miles (5 km) south of Hodgenville, Kentucky, and was taken to a farm in the neighbouring valley of Knob Creek when he was two years old. His earliest memories were of this home and, in particular, of a flash flood that once washed away the corn and pumpkin seeds he had helped his father plant. His father, Thomas Lincoln, was the descendant of a weaver’s apprentice who had migrated from England to Massachusetts in 1637. Though much less prosperous than some of his Lincoln forebears, Thomas was a sturdy pioneer. On June 12, 1806, he married Nancy Hanks. The Hanks genealogy is difficult to trace, but Nancy appears to have been of illegitimate birth. She has been described as “stoop-shouldered, thin-breasted, sad,” and fervently religious. Thomas and Nancy Lincoln had three children: Sarah, Abraham, and Thomas, who died in infancy.

Learn how Abraham Lincoln's frontier childhood and early appetite for reading shaped his character

In December 1816, faced with a lawsuit challenging the title to his Kentucky farm, Thomas Lincoln moved with his family to southwestern Indiana . There, as a squatter on public land, he hastily put up a “half-faced camp”—a crude structure of logs and boughs with one side open to the weather—in which the family took shelter behind a blazing fire. Soon he built a permanent cabin, and later he bought the land on which it stood. Abraham helped to clear the fields and to take care of the crops but early acquired a dislike for hunting and fishing. In afteryears he recalled the “panther’s scream,” the bears that “preyed on the swine,” and the poverty of Indiana frontier life, which was “pretty pinching at times.” The unhappiest period of his boyhood followed the death of his mother in the autumn of 1818. As a ragged nine-year-old, he saw her buried in the forest, then faced a winter without the warmth of a mother’s love. Fortunately, before the onset of a second winter, Thomas Lincoln brought home from Kentucky a new wife for himself, a new mother for the children. Sarah Bush Johnston Lincoln, a widow with two girls and a boy of her own, had energy and affection to spare. She ran the household with an even hand, treating both sets of children as if she had borne them all; but she became especially fond of Abraham, and he of her. He afterward referred to her as his “angel mother.”

Buffalo Bill. William Frederick Cody. Circus poster, I am coming, Col. W.F. Cody. Portrait of Buffalo Bill (1846-1917) on stampeding bison (buffalo). Folk hero of the American West. Chromolithograph, c1900

His stepmother doubtless encouraged Lincoln’s taste for reading, yet the original source of his desire to learn remains something of a mystery. Both his parents were almost completely illiterate, and he himself received little formal education. He once said that, as a boy, he had gone to school “by littles”—a little now and a little then—and his entire schooling amounted to no more than one year’s attendance. His neighbours later recalled how he used to trudge for miles to borrow a book. According to his own statement, however, his early surroundings provided “absolutely nothing to excite ambition for education. Of course, when I came of age I did not know much. Still, somehow, I could read, write, and cipher to the rule of three; but that was all.” Apparently the young Lincoln did not read a large number of books but thoroughly absorbed the few that he did read. These included Parson Weems’s Life and Memorable Actions of George Washington (with its story of the little hatchet and the cherry tree), Daniel Defoe ’s Robinson Crusoe , John Bunyan ’s Pilgrim’s Progress , and Aesop ’s Fables . From his earliest days he must have had some familiarity with the Bible , for it doubtless was the only book his family owned.

In March 1830 the Lincoln family undertook a second migration, this time to Illinois , with Lincoln himself driving the team of oxen. Having just reached the age of 21, he was about to begin life on his own. Six feet four inches tall, he was rawboned and lanky but muscular and physically powerful. He was especially noted for the skill and strength with which he could wield an ax. He spoke with a backwoods twang and walked in the long-striding, flat-footed, cautious manner of a plowman. Good-natured though somewhat moody, talented as a mimic and storyteller, he readily attracted friends. But he was yet to demonstrate whatever other abilities he possessed.

After his arrival in Illinois, having no desire to be a farmer, Lincoln tried his hand at a variety of occupations. As a rail-splitter, he helped to clear and fence his father’s new farm. As a flatboatman, he made a voyage down the Mississippi River to New Orleans , Louisiana . (This was his second visit to that city, his first having been made in 1828, while he still lived in Indiana.) Upon his return to Illinois he settled in New Salem, a village of about 25 families on the Sangamon River . There he worked from time to time as storekeeper, postmaster, and surveyor. With the coming of the Black Hawk War (1832), he enlisted as a volunteer and was elected captain of his company. Afterward he joked that he had seen no “live, fighting Indians” during the war but had had “a good many bloody struggles with the mosquitoes .” Meanwhile, aspiring to be a legislator, he was defeated in his first try and then repeatedly reelected to the state assembly. He considered blacksmithing as a trade but finally decided in favour of the law . Already having taught himself grammar and mathematics, he began to study law books. In 1836, having passed the bar examination, he began to practice law.

abraham lincoln and the civil war essay

abraham lincoln and the civil war essay

Abraham Lincoln And Civil War America Book Report

abraham lincoln and the civil war essay

Excerpt from Book Report :

I was surprised on how the fact that southern states were clinging on slavery and the slave trade as one of the major reasons behind their push for secession. Whereas slavery was an evil activity that was taking place, businesspersons and political leaders in the southern states had the courage to demand that the practice was to be protected by the laws of the land . 3. What were some of the problems (other than the civil war) faced by Abraham Lincoln during his presidency? How did he handle them? Other than the civil war, Abraham Lincoln faced a great challenge in taking his responsibilities as President of America. The United States was divided with the call for secession by Southern States. They (the southern states) felt that they would lose their autonomy if they were to report to Washington on administrative issues. He had to initiate various strategies including meetings to help unite the two blacks. 4. What is your personal opinion about Abraham Lincoln? From this reading, I can deduce that Abraham Lincoln was a true diplomat who supported justice in the society. When Blacks were being discriminated, Lincoln understood the importance of bringing the nation together through fighting racism and other discriminatory practices in the United States. I believe that Lincoln is the pacesetter in true leadership in America and indeed the one who founded the spirit of nationality in the United States of America. 5. How do YOU think Abraham Lincoln changed this country? Abraham Lincoln changed the United States through setting the state for granting of rights to minorities and the disenfranchised. It is during his time that most of the whites were against granting equal rights to blacks. Since Lincoln was a White American, many people expected that he would foster the perpetuation of the status quo including slavery…

Cite this Document:

"Abraham Lincoln And Civil War America" (2013, December 03) Retrieved March 3, 2023, from

"Abraham Lincoln And Civil War America" 03 December 2013. Web.3 March. 2023. < >

"Abraham Lincoln And Civil War America", 03 December 2013, Accessed.3 March. 2023,

Related Documents

abraham lincoln and the civil war essay

Abraham Lincoln and Civil War America

Abraham Lincoln and Civil War America: A Biography by William E. Gienapp. Specifically, it will discuss the most interesting and surprising thing discovered after reading this book. The most surprising aspect of the book was he was only 56 when he died, because he appears much older in the portraits and images Americans are familiar with, and that seems to be because the presidency aged him considerably. Often, modern presidents

Civil War Marked a Pivotal

Robert E. Lee was also an important general responsible for commanding the Northern Virginia regiment of the confederate army. Lee was interesting in that even though he was a confederate commander he was believed be against slavery. Lincoln's beliefs about America are forever engrained on the national psyche. Speeches such as the Gettysburg Address are still quoted and reflects the intent of the founding fathers. The Gettysburg Address states, "Four

Abraham Lincoln Was Born in a Log

Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin on February 12, 1809 in Hardin County, Kentucky. From these humble beginnings the first born son of Thomas, an uneducated farmer, and Nancy Hanks, Lincoln would grow to become the 16th President of the United States. In 1997 William Riding Jr. And Stuart B. McIver asked a group of 719 professors, elected officials, historians, attorneys, authors and other professionals to rate the presidents.

Civil War 1861-1865

Civil War represents a decisive period in American history, but also one of violence, during which more than 620,000 Americans died. (Gary B. Nash, Carter Smith, page 144) The American Civil War was fought between North and the South, and started as a result of their differences regarding slavery, state's rights and federal authority. The decisive moment was when Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln won the election, and become the president

Abraham Lincoln Past President of

In 1837, Lincoln took highly controversial position that foreshadowed his future political path. He joined with five other legislators out of eighty-three to oppose a resolution condemning abolitionists. In 1838, he responded to the death of the Illinois abolitionist and newspaper editor, Elijah Parish Lovejoy, who was killed while defending his printing presses from a mob of pro-slavery citizens in Alton, Illinois. In a statesmanlike manner, Lincoln gave a cautious

Abraham Lincoln's Presidency Abraham Lincoln

These were all matters that needed consideration and which attracted the support of the North. His Inaugural Address tried to point them out. In this sense, he considered that the "maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and especially the right of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of power on which the


Abraham Lincoln - President During the Civil War Essay

Abraham lincoln and the civil war comparison essay.

Abraham Lincoln, the great president of the United States, is one of the most influential men in the history of America. He is not only the commander-in-chief of the Union army that takes the victory from the Confederacy in the Civil War but also a leader who ends up the existence of slavery and a hero of the United States of America. On the other hand, Nathan Bedford Forrest is the lieutenant general of the Confederate army during the Civil War. He is a real genius and the great leadership of the Southern which help them to fight for the Northern. Nonetheless, Nathan rises from the rank of private to lieutenant general by his talents through wars with smart strategies and become the biggest trouble for the Union army. Nathan and

Abraham Lincoln’s Presidency Essay

Abraham Lincoln is a hero to all Americans for he preserved our Union and abolished slavery. Lincoln combined the forces of strength, courage, will, and morality to guide America through a time marked by complete social upheaval and Civil War. Lincoln entered the White House burdened by an oppressive set of domestic issues; the most pressing was the rift between the North and South. Before Lincoln’s inauguration, the Union was dissolving, and he was left with only one choice, to preserve America and to make war against the South. On a scale of one to ten, ten being the highest, Lincoln and his administration would rank as an eight.

Lincoln Assignment Essay

2. Given this outstanding success, why did the internationalization thrust of the late 1980s and early 1990s fail?

Essay on Abraham Lincoln: Slavery and The End of the Civil War

“I have never had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence.” Abraham Lincoln admired the declaration of independence and its founders. The Declaration of Independence was formed by the thirteen States of the confederacy. Represented by American liberty from each state. Twelve of these states where holders of slave. Abraham Lincoln legacy was for all men and women to be created equally. No matter what color or race you are, you have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It also states America’s freedom from Great Britain. What most people get wrong is that The Declaration of Independence wasn't signed on July 4, 1776. This was the date that congress Adopted

Essay on Lincoln and the Outbreak of Civil War

The Civil War was the worst crisis in American history, pitting two sides of a split nation against one another in bloody battles that persisted for four exhausting years. It was a war that neither side claimed to want, and that neither side claimed to start. Although popular belief places the blame with the South because they fired the first shot, there is considerable evidence that Lincoln, realizing war was inevitable, coerced the South into firing that first fateful shot.

Abraham Lincoln as the Greatest President Essay

Abraham Lincoln is regarded by many Americans as the greatest president to ever hold office in the history of the United States, and his reputation is definitely well deserved. Lincoln wasn't scared to stand up and fight for what he knew was right. He was convinced that within the branches of government, the presidency alone was empowered not only to uphold the Constitution, but also to protect, and defend it. Lincoln was able to lead our country and preserve the Union, keeping the United States from splintering during the devastating times of the Civil War. As President, he built the Republican Party into a strong national organization, and he rallied most of the northern Democrats to the Union cause. On January 1, 1863, he issued the

Essay on Abraham Lincoln, A Great Leader in American History

Throughout the history of the United States of America, many great people have directed toward success. The American nation has been honored with many of the greatest people in history, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Madison. Abraham Lincoln is considered one of the most greatest president in US History. Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12,1809 in Hodgenville, Kentucky. He is known for his leadership and skills as president along with his pleasant personality. Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Lincoln led the United States through the Civil War and accomplished many things such as Emancipation Proclamation,

Abraham Lincoln And Reconstruction Essay

When Abraham Lincoln was elected as the first republican president, he only received 40% of the popular votes; he also beat three other candidates on top of that. Lincoln was responsible for a lot of changes and is also known as an icon in American History. Lincoln was a Kentucky-born lawyer and a former Whig Representative to the Congress. Lincoln was going up against Stephen Douglas in the Senate race; Douglas argued that the states should have a right to be a slave state or a free state, while Lincoln argued against slavery and the spread of it. Unsurprisingly, Lincoln had lost the Senate race, but his campaign against slavery brought national attention to the Republican Party, in 1860, Lincoln had won the Republican party’s nomination

Abraham Lincoln, By George Mcgovern Essay

In Abraham Lincoln, by George McGovern, McGovern summarizes and gives insight on one of the United States’ most well-known and highly praised presidents, Abraham Lincoln. McGovern thoroughly outlines Lincoln’s life, his struggles and how he became the great president that he was. One point McGovern continues to mention is how no matter how bad a situation was or even when people doubted Lincoln, he would take his defeats and preserve. In the beginning of the book, McGovern recounts Lincoln’s life as a kid and a young adult. He describes how no matter how bad Lincoln failed or how sad he was, “Lincoln would not resign himself to failure and loss; instead he learned from each experience and carried on” . In addition, McGovern continues to mention how Lincoln never stopped learning. From a young age, Lincoln loved to learn, read and expand his knowledge so he could fully analyze any situation. According to McGovern, this personality trait allowed Lincoln to work and rise up from a farmer’s son to the President of the United States. This trait, also, allowed Lincoln “to take a far more active role in managing military affairs” . Lincoln was able to come up with a new strategy for the Union to win the Civil War.

Essay on Abraham Lincoln: America’s First Commander-in-Chief

Abraham Lincoln is best remembered as being America’s first war president. In the nineteenth century, the American presidency had seen nothing like the Civil War, and war was upon Lincoln before he or anyone else considered how the position of Commander-in-Chief fit into the Constitution. This resulted in an unorganized thought process and policy. Brian Dirck, author of the article “Lincoln as Commander in Chief,” writes:

Presidency of Abraham Lincoln Essays

Many Americans believed that the election of 1860 would decide the fate of the Union. The Democratic Party was the only party in the national scope. The convention in Charleston, South Carolina in 1860 split the Democratic Party. Stephen Douglas wanted his party’s presidential nomination, but he could not afford to alienate northern voters by accepting the southern position on the territories. However, "Southern Democrats insisted on recognition of their rights, as the Dred Scott decision had defined them and they moved to block Douglas’s nomination"( Bialy, 2007, p. 383). Douglas obtained a majority for his version of the platform, delegates from the South walked out of the convention. After compromise efforts the Democrats presented two

Abraham Lincoln: America's Greatest President Essay

The appellation, “The Great Emancipator” is not granted to just any person, but rather it highlights a courageous, respectful, and driven individual. Abraham Lincoln’s contribution to the United States is so grand and captivating, that he is deservingly recognized as America’s greatest president. For example, he abolished slavery, led America through the Civil War, and prevented the Union from splitting apart. Abraham Lincoln is America’s greatest president and was the forceful leader that manipulated America from a state of turmoil into a state of justice and harmony.

Essay on Abraham Lincoln: a Great Leader

Abraham Lincoln was a man of humble beginnings who, though self-taught, rose to greatness through the many leadership qualities that he possessed. Quality traits that Lincoln possessed were honesty, integrity and a great devotion towards the rights of the people. It was probably through his impoverished upbringing that he formed such a bond with common folks. Lincoln was able to show the country that an ordinary person, with strong character and integrity, was capable of inspiring others to greatness. His ability to communicate through dynamic speeches was inspirational to a country so badly in need of someone to return the country to the unity that it had once had. His commitment to the rights of individuals was a cornerstone of his

Essay about The Life of Abraham Lincoln

The Life of Abraham Lincoln Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809 to Thomas and Nancy

Abraham Lincoln Essay

Abraham Lincoln was the 16Th President of America. He was the first republican that was elected as President. He ran for senate two times and lost both. When he was in office he was mostly occupied with the states that broke away from the Union,who was named the Confederate States of America. The first to break away was South Carolina followed by 6 other states before the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln. And then four more at the beginning of the Civil War,Battle of Fort Sumter.

Related Topics

Talk to our experts


abraham lincoln and the civil war essay

Essay on Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was America's most popular President ever. He had played the most important role in putting an end to slavery in America, and in the entire world. Abraham Lincoln's childhood was spent in such poverty that his family had to struggle for a house. His father did not even have enough money to send him to school. Abraham studied from the old books of others. He started earning his wages from his childhood to feed himself.

Once a friend of Abraham Lincoln wanted to know his religious views, he said that he felt good when did something good, and felt bad when he did something bad, that was his religion. Abraham Lincoln was the 16th and greatest President of America. Today it has been more than 200 years since the birth of Abraham Lincoln, but whenever we talk about the Presidents of America, the name of Abraham Lincoln comes on top. Abraham Lincoln almost gave his life to save America from being dismembered in the civil war and for the unity of the country.

About Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was born on 12 February 1809 in a wooden house in Sinking Spring Farm near Hodgenville, Kentucky. His father's name was Thomas Lincoln and his mother's name was Nancy Lincoln. His parents came from England and later moved to New Jersey. Abraham Lincoln's family was very poor and he earned his livelihood by farming. Lincoln’s family was evicted from their land due to a land dispute and they were forced to leave the city.

In 1811, their family moved to Knob Creek Farm, they made that land fit for farming and started cultivating it. In 1816, the Abraham family settled in Indiana, where they cleared up forests and started farming. Even today, his form has been kept as a memorial. When Abraham was 9, his mother, Nancy, died. After this, his father married another woman named Sara. Abraham grew up, he wanted employment that yielded more profits through less work. He built a boat and started working as a boatman, which gave him good profits. After this, Abraham Lincoln started working as a manager in a store.

Education and Politics

Abraham Lincoln completed his law studies while working in this store. After some time he became the postmaster in the village, due to which people started knowing him and started respecting him. Then he thought of going into politics, keeping in view the troubles of the local people because at that time slavery was at its peak. 

Abraham Lincoln hated the atrocities on slaves since the beginning and wanted to abolish slavery. With this idea, he entered politics and contested the MLA, but he faced defeat in that election. On the other hand, while contesting elections, he had also left the post master's job, due to which he had a shortage of money. Everything in Abraham Lincoln's life was going against him. There was a time in his life when he was so depressed that he used to stay away from knives because he was afraid that he might kill himself. 

A friend of his at that time boosted his morale and drove him out of depression. Abraham Lincoln contested again with the help of his friend and this time he won the election. After this victory, he was counted amongst the youngest MLAs. He then inspired the youth and they became his ardent followers. Abraham Lincoln was now licensed to become a lawyer and then he met a famous lawyer. Both of them started working together but after some time his friend left him. Abraham Lincoln was also failing in advocacy because he did not take money to fight the cases of the poor. He practised for 20 years.

Struggles and Death

In 1860, Abraham Lincoln contested for the Presidency of the United States of America and eventually achieved the greatest success of his life by becoming the 16th President of the United States. After becoming the 16th President of America on November 6, 1860, Abraham did a lot of important works that have not only national but international importance as well. Abraham Lincoln's greatest achievement was the emergence of America from the Civil War. 

The credit for the abolition of slavery by amending the Constitution of America also goes to Abraham Lincoln. On April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln and his wife were in Washington DC to watch a play in the Ford’s Theatre, where he was shot by a famous actor John Wilkes Booth and on the next day, on April 15, 1865, Abraham died.

abraham lincoln and the civil war essay

FAQs on Abraham Lincoln Essay

1. Who was Abraham Lincoln?

We know Abraham Lincoln was America's most popular President ever. Abraham Lincoln was born on 12 February 1809 in a wooden house in Sinking Spring Farm near Hodgenville, Kentucky. His father's name was Thomas Lincoln and his mother's name was Nancy Lincoln. He had played the most important role in ending slavery in America. He was the 16th and greatest President of America. Today it has been over 200 years since the birth of Abraham Lincoln, but whenever we talk about the President of America, the name of Abraham Lincoln comes on top.

2. How Did Abraham Lincoln Die?

On April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln and his wife were in Washington DC to watch a play in Ford’s theatre. There he was shot by a famous actor John Wilkes Booth and on the next day, on 15 April 1865, Abraham died.

Abraham Lincoln Essays

Abraham lincoln as the great emancipator.

Abraham Lincoln was our sixteenth president. He issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which ended slavery, or was supposed to end slavery. Our President did a lot of things for our country. Although his issue on the Emancipation Proclamation was not completely successful and he ordered it for all the wrong reasons. He accomplished great things but lost his reasoning closer to the end. On January 1st in 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation was issued. There had been a lot of anticipation for […]

Analysis Abraham Lincoln Cooper Union Address

The “Cooper Union Address was written on February 27, 1860 by an eminent abolitionist named Abraham Lincoln, who believed the expansion of slavery should come to a halt. He demonstrated a Republican outlook for him and his majority of followers who signed the Constitution. Lincoln and his followers believed Congress should control slavery in the territories already utilizing it, instead of allowing slavery expansion. Lincoln received a national opportunity to speak at the Young Men’s Central Republican Union of New […]

Julius Caesar Vs. Abraham Lincoln

Many people have heard of the name Julius Caesar, but not many know the story behind the name. A man more famously known is Abraham Lincoln, who played a vital role like Julius Caesar. Both Julius Caesar and Abraham Lincoln have played significant roles during their lifetime, mainly in politics and as public speakers. There are many comparisons between the two political leaders, with only a few contrasts. For example, them both being assassinated is one major comparison between the […]

The Minie Ball Shaped

1. The minie ball shaped the Civil War because it was a huge advantage to both sides. It was twice as fast to load, and they were a lot cheaper to make. They were also very good quality; they could kill someone within a second of the bullet being fired. A few other inventions helped out the war effort. One of the inventions being the telegraph. In the White House, there was a room filled with telegraphs, and wires were […]

Role of Technology in the American Civil War

The American Civil War is the first real modern war in America. Most of the technology and weaponry used in the Civil War can be traced back to the Industrial Revolution era. The Industrial Revolution was a time of profound transformation that resulted in new manufacturing processes. It was a time of profound transformation that resulted in new manufacturing processes. By the mid-19th century, mass production industries have been developed mainly in the North, which led them to control a […]

We will write an essay sample crafted to your needs.

Individuals in the Federal Legislature

Is right, is justice, is existence, worth a struggle? Is seceding the Union legal? Can states break away? What is Lincoln perspective? John Preston Smith was a commisioner for the South. When the southern states seceded the United States, it was illegal. Southern people were concerned with losing their slaves because their slaves gave them order of civilization and their existence. The agents of these individuals in the Federal Legislature have tried to shape the enactment of the Government in […]

First the Northerners

Even though there may have been a couple of factors that cause the American civil war that happened between 1961 and 1965 it is indeed certain than slavery was one of the key reasons that led to the outbreak of the war. Whereas the North had become industrial based due to the inventions that had been made such as Eli Whitney’s invention of cotton gin, the South’s economy was mainly based on slavery and slave labor. At first the Northerners […]

America is a Melting Pot

America is a melting pot of people from all over the world. We are now called the United States but it wasn’t long ago that we were divided by some big issues. These disagreements were escalated to be the makings of the Civil War. Before the war broke out America was not a peaceful place because of the question of slavery. Was it ok to all of America to enslave and keep people as possessions and property. Did trading people’s […]

The Civil War was the Deadliest

The Civil War was the deadliest and most brutal war ever fought. How did everything stir up between the states in the first place? Southerners had an Agricultural economy and mainly focused on the way they lived their lives to make profit for their well being; this included slaves for more hands to get more work done in less time. On the opposite side of things the northerners had an Industrial economy and wanted to abolish slavery. The north and […]

The Civil War is Still Known

The Civil War is still known today as America’s bloodiest conflict. It is said that between 1861 and 1865 there were about 620,000 fatalities connected to the deadly battles of this American war; this death count is approximately equal to the total number of American fatalities during the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Mexican War, Spanish-American War, World War 1, World War 2, and The Korean War combined (Faust). This destructive war erupted into an explosion of mass carnage because […]

Abraham Lincoln and his Opponent

In the midst of the United States’ western expansion, often known as manifest destiny, issues began to resurface that would change the destiny of the country for good. A union was on the verge of being completely split, and the election of 1860 was very important for the future of the nation. During the election of 1860, as well as the prior election, western expansion and slavery were topics that were at the forefront of campaigns. Abraham Lincoln and his […]

My Thoughts on Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass was a book that really opened my eyes. Frederick Douglass was born a slave. He was what they called a mixed slave because his father was most likely their master, Captain Anthony. Mixed slaves tended to get treated more cruelly than other slaves. It was really common for masters to impregnate and fornicate with their slaves. Douglass started his slavery in the household, since he was just a kid. He was then […]

Nationalism in the Civil War

Introduction The Civil war of 1861-1865 is a central event in America’s historical conscience. The war determined what kind of nation America would grow to be. The war resolved two fundamental questions left unresolved by the revolution (1773-1776): whether the United States was to be a dissolvable confederation of sovereign states or an indivisible nation with a sovereign national government; and whether this nation, born of a declaration that all men were created with an equal right to liberty, would […]

Abraham Lincoln Changed the United States

On the far right of Mount Rushmore there is a man. A man that changed The United States forever. His name was Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of The United States. He served from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He changed the Republican Party, led The United States through the American Civil War, and strengthened the federal government. Just some examples of the great honest Abe changing The United States for the better. We can better understand […]

Abraham Lincoln an American Legand

Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president of the United States of America, was born February 12th, 1809 in Hardin County, Kentucky. His parents were both farmers, which led to Abraham only learning to basically only write his name during his earlier years of childhood. Lincoln mainly spent time as a carpenter and farmer living and growing up on the Kentucky frontier. He also spent some of his childhood living in the state of Indiana as well. Growing up and spending most […]

Abraham Lincoln Influential Leader

While each President of the United States has their own personal legacy, a select few of the men who occupied office can be considered as one of the most influential to the United States, and its development. One president in particular laid the groundwork that helped shape our nation in to what it is today, a country that is united and promotes equality. Facilitating reconciliation when the North and South were divided, abolishing slavery, and giving one of the most […]

Abraham Lincolns Changing Viewpoints

There are several reasons for Lincoln’s statement in 1858 about not having equality between the races and his issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862. Lincoln had shifting viewpoints regarding slavery when he got elected and throughout the war. Each of his opinions made sense at the time for Lincoln taking the position he took at the different time periods. As the war approached, Lincoln made certain decisions in order to ensure the stability of the union. Although one of […]

Abraham Lincoln’s Assassination

On April 14th, 1865, Abraham Lincoln and his wife alongside other dignitaries attended a coveted play Our American Cousin at the Ford’s Theatre. Abraham was a darling to many, a father-figure, a noble and just leader who won the American elections in the 19th century. His tribute to America’s loyalty was a kind gesture of public appearances such as at the Ford’s Theatre. As the play begins, the crowd is astonished at how tall, and sleek figured Abraham Lincoln was […]

About Abraham Lincoln

This is about one of the best president of the United States. His name is Abraham Lincoln he was the 16th president. He gave us a lot of things and we gave him a good life and supports for anything he did. Abraham Lincoln didn’t live a full life but he’s life was the most happiest life he probably had. Abraham Lincoln was in the office for about 4 years. The birth of Abraham Lincoln was February 12, 1809. Abraham […]

The Death of Abraham Lincoln John Wilkes Booth

John Wilkes Booth was a highly recognized actor, who was a faithful devoted advocate of slavery and the south confederacy throughout the civil war in the united states of america. As a child John Wilkes was the second to youngest (out of 10 kids) that was born to the famous actor Junius Brutus Booth. John was raised in the city of Baltimore, On a farm his dad owned A few miles away from Bel Air, Maryland, Which utilized the labor […]

Civil War and Abraham Lincoln

Thesis: To what extent did Abraham Lincoln’s election influence the outcomes of the Civil War? Introduction: Abraham Lincoln was elected the 16th president of the United States in November of 1860 before the start of the Civil War and continued as president during the War. He sought to unify the nation, to create a better country and to abolish slavery. Abraham Lincoln described the reality that you can’t avoid destiny so you must prepare yourself for it. “You cannot escape […]

Abraham Lincoln Presidancy

Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809 in Hardin County, Kentucky. At the early age of 7 he and his family moved to Southern Indiana. When he was nine years old his mother passed, and he had to work to help support his family. He had very limited formal schooling because he was working, though he had very little education, he loved to read books and would borrow books from his neighbors. At age 21, Lincoln and his family […]

The 16th President of the USA

Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States of America. He was born February 12, 1809, to Thomas and Nancy Lincoln, in a small one-room cabin in Hardin County, Kentucky. His family moved to Macon County, Illinois, in 1830, where he got a job hauling freight down the Mississippi River into New Orleans. They settled down in the town of New Salem, Illinois, where Lincoln became involved in local politics as a proud supported of the Whig Party. […]

Impact of Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln is a very known individual that simply started off as a self-taught lawyer then worked his way up to be the United States sixteenth president. He was born on February 12, 1809, in Hardin County, Kentucky. His schooling was very limited, and he also had to work to constantly support his family. Later on in his life, he was able to move to Illinois and start teaching himself law. He earned himself the name “Honest Abe in Springfield, […]

Abraham Lincoln’s Early Life

Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, in a one-room log cabin in Hardin County, Kentucky; his family moved to southern Indiana in 1816. Lincoln’s formal schooling was limited to three brief periods in local schools, as he had to work constantly to support his family. In 1830, his family moved to Macon County in southern Illinois, and Lincoln got a job working on a river flatboat hauling freight down the Mississippi River to New Orleans. After settling in the […]

Speeches “The Gettysburg Address” and “I have a Dream”

When one reads “I Have a Dream” speech and the Gettysburg Address one understands why Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln are American heroes. Looking back in history one can understand why their names will always be remembered in American’s history. Both of these gentlemen had two different types of speeches but the same and each speech has left a mark in history. Abraham Lincoln in the Gettysburg Address stated what he hoped for the future of this nation. […]

June 7th : President

There exists an idea that men and women come from different worlds. The common adage “men are from Mars, women are from Venus” within American culture speaks directly to this notion. Among academic circles, this idea is known as the separate sphere ideology. The separate sphere ideology describes the notion that men belong on the public domain- working, engaging in politics and education, while women belong to a domestic domain- housekeeping and childcare. These ideas were prevalent for hundreds, if […]

The Significance of the Gettysburg Address

Abraham Lincoln has been a profound figure in history since the 1830s. One of his most famous speeches was the Gettysburg Address. This was a speech given by Lincoln that four months after the Battle at Gettysburg. Abraham’s main focus, in the beginning, was to unite the country. After his Gettysburg Address, it seemed his focus also involved freeing the slaves. Lincoln gave his short speech following Everett’s two-hour long speech. Everett basically said Lincoln accomplished more in his two-minute […]

Abraham Lincoln the Greatest Leaders of our Nation

Abraham Lincoln lived from 1809 to 1865 and was undoubtedly one of the greatest leaders of our nation while serving as the sixteenth President of the United States. With no surprise, different leaders use different leadership abilities to not only offer direction to their subjects, but also to motivate people and implement great plans. During his time as commander in chief, President Lincoln had many great accomplishments to his credit, some of which include the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation, […]

Abraham Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address

Abraham Lincoln wrote and delivered one of America’s renown speeches during the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln did not attend college, but he did receive very little education at an early age. Lincoln lived in a rural area in his early life, helping his father provide for his family. As he became of age, he later went to receive his license in law in Illinois and had a career for over twenty years (Abraham). In his era many people did not […]

Related topic

Additional example essays.

Essay About Abraham Lincoln Memorial Address on the Life and Character of Abraham Lincoln was written by George Bancroft on February 12th, 1866. Statesman and American historian, George Bancroft, was born October 3, 1800, in Worcester, Massachusetts and died January 17, 1891, at the age of 90 in Washington, D.C. Before his passing, he was the founder of the United States Naval Academy. After his death, in 1910, Bancroft was awarded and honored in the Hall of Fame for Great Americans. George Bancroft was chosen by the Congress to write an astonishingly overpowering eulogy for the President at the time, which was Abraham Lincoln. He was considered to be the “father of American History,” because of his comprehensive 10-volume study of the United States. He spent most of his life writing about politics. Both Houses and Bancroft spoke about the life and character of President Abraham Lincoln. This book can be meant for readers who are interested in history to enlighten their knowledge on the 16th President Abraham Lincoln, chronologically. Lincoln was an American statesman as well as the author of this book, George Bancroft. The first edition of this book was published by the Government Printing Office in Washington, D.C. in 1866. A West Kentucky man, born in the cabin of poor people. His father could not read nor write, his mother could read, but could not write. Abraham Lincoln learned to do both in his childhood. “… from day to day, he lived the life of American people, walked in its light, reasoned with reason, though with its power of thought, felt the beatings of its mighty heart, and so was in every way a child of nature, a child of the West, a child of America.” (page 17). When Lincoln was nine years old, his mother died of milk sickness. Little to no money, Lincoln spent the start of his adult life working on a cattle farm and splitting rails for fences. He then earned the position of captain in the war of Black Hawk. At the age of thirty-three, Lincoln had spent eight years being elected to the Illinois legislature. Stephen A. Douglas won the election of the senator from Illinois against Lincoln. Douglas and Lincoln were rivals. Lincoln had gotten married on November 4, 1842, to Mary Todd and started a family soon to be filled with four boys, Robert, Willie, Tad, and Edward. Unlike Lincoln, Mary grew up in a wealthy family. She lost her mother when she was six, but her father, Robert Todd, was a very successful politician and merchant. Her father did not approve of Abraham because he was nine years older than her. Robert Todd Lincoln was the only child of Abraham and Mary to reach adulthood. Willie, Tad, and Edward died several years apart which caused clinical depression for both Mary and Abraham. Willie, the third son, died of thyroid fever at the age of eleven. Tad, the youngest son, died from an illness at the age of 18. Edward, “Eddie,” the second son, died from pulmonary tuberculosis. “In 1861, with no experience whatever as an executive officer, while States were madly flying from their orbit, and wise men knew not where to find counsel, this descendant of Quakers, this pupil of Bunyan, this offspring of the great West, was elected President of America.” (page 18). Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd, became the First Lady of the United States. After losing to Douglas, Abraham Lincoln gained a national reputation for over two years and was the first Republican to win the presidency in 1861. He achieved lots of things while he was in office such as, strengthening the government, abolishing slavery, and leading the nation through the American Civil War. “The nation had its new birth of freedom.” (page 41). Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth on April 15, 1865, while watching a play at the Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. He died from his injuries a day later at the age of 56. Mary Todd Lincoln fell into bipolar depression. Lincoln was loved by many. They wanted to build a memorial to honor him. “… the hand of Lincoln raised the flag; the American people was the hero of the war and, therefore, the result is the new era of republicanism.” (page 50). In 1914, the Monument of Lincoln Memorial was built to honor our 16th President Abraham Lincoln in Washington, D.C. The building has a Greek architectural style that contains a large sculpture of Abraham Lincoln sitting. There are thirty-six columns around the building, one for each state in Union at the time of Lincoln’s death. Seven million people have visited this monument just as of 2017. At the end of this book, there is an Appendix. It contains extra information on Abraham Lincoln’s death and funeral, including the specific times. “He was assassinated at 10:30 p.m. on the 14th of April, 1865, and died at 7:20 a.m. the next day.” (page 55). His funeral was 5 days after his death. There were thirteen Senates and twenty-four House of Representatives listed. George Bancroft was thanked by the Capitol of Washington, for the Memorial Address on the Life and Character of Abraham Lincoln delivered by him. On the 12th of February, he was requested to provide a copy for publication. This book and its contribution to the study of history is important as it provides information about how Abraham Lincoln shaped the economy. Lincoln saw all people were equal. I value this the most about Abraham Lincoln because he ended slavery. Without him, slavery could still be going on today. “Whatever you are, be a good one,” Abraham Lincoln. It is such an inspiration to see how Abraham Lincoln grew up from the poor and was struggling to survive, to become the 16th President of the United States. Growing up his father or mother could not teach him how to write or read, but he learned on his own and made himself a lawyer and American statesman.

1. Tell Us Your Requirements

2. Pick your perfect writer

3. Get Your Paper and Pay

short deadlines

100% Plagiarism-Free

Certified writers

The election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 was a reflection that the Southern states have lost their influence and power.

The Civil War was undoubtedly one of the most violent happenings in the history of North America, and most people believe that it happened due to slavery. Even though many historical revisionists offered various additional reasons for why the war started, the majority of the scholars agree that slavery was the central cause.

It was the economy of slavery and the control of the system of slavery that was a major controversy in this dispute. The election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 was a reflection that the Southern states have lost their influence and power, and it was the first in the series of events that led to the Civil War. Due to the exclusion of the Southern states from the system, they opted for secession, a decision that led to war.

The Political Differences Of The North And The South

It is important to understand that there very many differences between the North and the South before the happenings of the Civil War. The differences were sometimes drastic, and they stem from several social and economic issues, with slavery and territoriality at the top of the dispute. The abolition movement was born in the North, and the people of that movement believed that slavery should be eradicated.

The Southerners were concerned about this due to their economy and quality of life, depending on slavery. It was the core of their social system and not only a means of labor control. The Southerners wanted to protect their society that was built on slaves, and they were less concerned with improving society.

The Election Of The 16th President Of The United States

The election of Abraham Lincoln is considered to be one of the most crucial elections in the entire history of the United States.

The election of Abraham Lincoln is considered to be one of the most crucial elections in the entire history of the United States. Abraham Lincoln was pitted against Stephen Douglas who was the representative for the Democratic Party, as well as John Bell, and John C. Breckinridge. The central dispute throughout the election was slavery.

The most unusual aspect of this presidential election was that southern Democrats did not want their side to win. Their goal was to leave the Union, and they wanted to do so in a peaceful manner. Immediately after the results of the election and Lincoln's victory, legislature of South Carolina arranged political meetings and started the talk about succession.

The election of Abraham Lincoln is considered to be one of the major events that led to the start of the civil war in 1861. It was the final nail in the coffin for the Southerners that triggered secession. Southerners were feeling the threat of Lincoln and believed that he would put an end on slavery and its expansion. The North was gaining more power, and the slave states (the states in which slave trading was still legal) have deteriorated in their influence and presence in the House of Representatives. Eventually, many of the slave states decided to form the Confederacy and opted for secession, which in turn paved the way for the start of The American Civil War.

More in Politics

biden vs trump

What is the Difference Between Democrats and Republicans?

Juvenile convicts at work in the fields in the Jim Crow South in 1903.

The Black Codes And Jim Crow Laws

Iroquois Flag

Iroquois Great Law of Peace

US-Iran Conflict

United States-Iran Conflict

A boy sitting on a destroyed tank on the hills over Kabul City in Afghanistan. Editorial credit: Karl Allen Lugmayer /

The War In Afghanistan

United States North Korea flags.

The United States-North Korea Relations

Venezuela is facing a socio-economic and political crisis. Image of the Venezuelan national flag symbolizing the crisis.

The Crisis In Venezuela

Conflict between the Government of Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

The Conflict In Ethiopia


abraham lincoln and the civil war essay

Executive Powers Of Abraham Lincoln During The Civil War

Abraham lincoln's ethical decision-making process.

When speaking of Abraham Lincoln, it is important not to neglect the idea of his use of an ethical process to make decisions. President Abraham Lincoln, a two-term president, would face one of his largest challenges in his terms when he made the decision to free the slaves to save the Union. Lincoln felt compelled to make this decision because he knew if he abolished slavery it would take a huge toll on the south, which caused numerous slaves to join the Northern armies. This would later be a great advantage to preserve the Union. A close examination of Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address and many other sources, helps one to understand what exactly influenced Abraham Lincoln’s ethical decision making process.

Essay On Freedom In The Civil War

Before the Civil War, not everyone had freedom in the United States. White people would habitually belittle their freedom, and take away African Americans freedom and rights. However, Abraham Lincoln believed that everyone should have freedom. For example, in the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln stated, “...this nation, under God, shall have a new birth

Argumentative Essay About The 13th Amendment

The 13th amendment was passed by the congress on January 31, 1865, and ratified by the states on december 6, 1865. President Lincoln made the Emancipation Proclamation declaring “all persons held as slaves within any State, or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” The Emancipation Proclamation did not end slavery in the nation But it started to help abolishing slavery and making it and

Abraham Lincoln's Suspension Of Habeas Corpus

He argued, to paraphrase Eric Foner that the exercise of some of those liberties is threatening to dismantle the whole structure of government. For Lincoln violation of some civil liberties was in retrospect worth it order to preserve the government. What in my opinion need to be stressed when it comes to Lincoln suspension act is that he really believed that benefits of it outweigh the costs. He also argued, in front of a special session of Congress, that the country was in rebellion and circumstance called for such drastic measures .It was after all the public safety that was in danger. The issue of the controversy over the suspension of Habeas Corpus steam form the fact that the American Constitution is not specific enough to determine who gets to suspend the writ Congress or the President. Article 1 section 9 of the Constitution states that the privilege of the Habeas Corpus cannot be suspended unless in cases of rebellion invasion in which naturally the public safety is threatened. On the other hand, the article 1 of the Constitution deals with the legislative branch, which may suggest that it is the Congress who gets to decide to suspend the writ. Lincoln agreed to some extent that it is the Congress who was vested with this particular power but he maintain that the Constitution does not specify which branch legislative or executive is to exercise that power. He continues by arguing that it is hardly believable that the framers would live such an emergency power to the Congress who would need time to organize an assembly while it might be too late. Lincoln argued that the executive branch is more equipped to exercise that power due to the fact that the decision can be made much

Essay On Abraham Lincoln's Abuse Of Presidential Power

During the late 1800s, Abraham Lincoln’s abuse of power during the American Civil War. Despite his abilities to keep America sane and together, some of his most controversial decisions might actually be considered now to be abuses of the Presidential power. During his terms as president, he suspended the Writ of Habeas Corpus, and upheld the Declaration of Independence above the Constitution. The writ of Habeas Corpus protects Americans from being unjustly imprisoned. Without it, law is a sham. The writ creates the gap between freedom and despotism. This writ basically ensures that no one can be unjustly imprisoned and any prisoner who feels this right is allowed to petition to

Abraham Lincoln: Commander In Chief

As Commander in Chief, Abraham Lincoln made numerous decisions that impacted the outcome of the war. He used a broad interpretation of his Oath of Office to justify nearly any action he took. Many of these actions overstepped the bounds of the Constitution, but all were made with the greater good of the country in mind. Despite having the best intentions, Lincoln did make mistakes throughout his presidency, such as how he handled the military. However, these mistakes were not enough to tarnish Lincoln’s legacy. His actions as Commander in Chief were one of the leading reasons that the Union was victorious, and the Emancipation Proclamation earned him an everlasting spot in U.S. history.

How Did Clinton And Horwitz Be Considered A Total War

Habeas corpus is the right of a person who is arrested to have a trial. By suspending habeas corpus, President Lincoln is preventing everyone who is arrested from being released. While the northern army was traveling around, people kept burning bridges and other nuances to slow their advances. Lincoln had to find a way to prevent this from happening so he suspended habeas corpus and had some of the perpetrators arrested. Lincoln said, “... often a limb must be amputated to save a life; but a life is never wisely given to save a limb.” In this quote, Lincoln is stating that he would rather suspend certain civil liberties than risk the country splitting. Lincoln believed his main purpose was to preserve the union for the people. During the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln stresses the fact the government is for, of, and by the people and that everyday people are the ones that will carry on the unfinished work of the Civil War. In his speech, he makes more like the common man and less like a dictator, making the Gettysburg Address a poor example of both his autocracy and democracy. In the process of unifying the country, however, he took away people’s rights. Lincoln defied even the Chief Supreme court judge to prevent people from leaving prison. During World War II, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt allowed all Japanese people living in America to

How Did Lincoln Abuse His Power

It was the case under the Bush administration that the U.S. would abduct people from around the world, accuse them of being terrorists, ship them to Guantanamo, and then keep them there for as long as we wanted without offering them any real due process tocontest the accusations against them. I think the most successful Lincoln's action during the war was the blockage of the southern ports. It was designed to prevent the export of cotton and the smuggling of warmateriel into the Confederacy. The blockade, although somewhat not secure was an important economic policy that successfully prevented Confederate access to weapons that the industrialized North could produce for itself. The U.S. Government successfully convinced foreign governments to view the blockade as a legitimate tool of war. The blockade had a negative impact on the economies of other countries. Textile manufacturing areas in Britain and France that depended on Southern cotton entered periods of high unemployment, while French producers of wine, brandy and silk also suffered when their markets in the Confederacy were cut off. But for Lincoln, it was very effective tool, but ultimately hurt international boarders. I believe its almost the same agenda that we have today when we issue sanctions against other nations to show business. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. In conclusion, all of Lincoln`s “controversial” decisions was to keep the union together. Its all justifiable even though these actions were technically an abuse of presidential power. It can be argued that he abused the power of the presidency when he suspended the Writ of Habeas Corpus and upheld the Declaration of

How Did Abraham Lincoln Rash Or Unjust

Habeas Corpus is a legal term meaning “the government cannot hold you without cause”. During Abraham Lincoln’s presidency this issue caught fire because on May 25, 1861 John Merryman was arrested for recruiting, training Confederate(southern) soldiers in the north. Abraham Lincoln suspension was a rash and unjust decision because it was used for personal agenda. Also it would allow the soldiers to become judges, executioners, and juries.of the so-called criminals. Another reason is he tried to make an example out of John Merryman.

How Did Abraham Lincoln Went Against The Bill Of Rights

During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln was the president, and therefore the Commander in Chief of both the Army and Navy. He led the Union to victory against to Confederates to win the Civil War, but while doing so he made many decisions that were unconstitutional. The emancipation proclamation went directly against the fifth amendment, suspending habeas corpus was not within his powers, and military tribunals that he set up should not have been allowed to try citizens in place of normal courts.

Was Abraham Lincoln Justified Essay

The constitution of the United States is justifiably built just as much for war as it is for peace. This can be seen during 1861, the midst of the Civil War, when Abraham Lincoln was faced with national security challenges that no American president had been confronted with before. Lincoln was put in a position that required him to walk a fine line between civil liberties and national securities. Some argue that Lincoln is one of the top presidents this nation has seen, yet others argue that the action to suspend habeas corpus eradicated him from that pedestal. Since the peak of the Civil War, historians have dissected and debated president Lincoln’s decision. Argued unconstitutional, completely necessary, and everything in between, it is a simple fact that Lincoln was rightly justified as president to push the limits of the constitution when suspending the writ of habeas corpus in order

Was Lincoln Justified In Cases Of Rebellion

It has been affirmed that such charges against Abraham Lincoln, referring to the unwarranted accusations that has plague Mr. Lincoln, that he has suspended and violated the Constitution and committed treason against his own nation, are completely groundless. He has been tried for much misconduct as the President of the US, more specifically, he has been charged of committing murder, violating the first and Fifth Amendment rights of ordinary citizens and for invading a sovereign nation without congressional approval. Mr. Lincoln has done no such misconducts which warrant his presence in court, as such; he is innocent from these charges in every respect.

Slavery's Role In The Civil War

When the Civil War began, President Lincoln “insisted that slavery was irrelevant to the conflict.” (p. 520) “In the early days of the war… the Union had no intention of interfering with slavery.” (p. 520)

Abraham Lincoln's Presidency Analysis

In retrospect Lincolns both executive orders, Emancipation Proclamation and suspension of habeas corpus had an influence on how the future presidents interpreted their role and powers in American politics. Milkis and Nelson strongly suggest that ...” Lincoln invested the national community with a sense of purpose, even sacredness, that transformed the relationship between power and liberty. His indictment of slavery spawned a new, more positive view of liberty, in which government has affirmative obligation to ensure equality under the law...” (Milkis and Nelson, p.177). As the historian, Richard Norton Smith rightly points out, Lincoln’s famous quote on the role of government became a favorite quote for three future presidents,

More about Executive Powers Of Abraham Lincoln During The Civil War

Abraham Lincoln, Slavery and the American Civil War Essay

Abraham Lincoln, Slavery and the American Civil War Essay


The American Civil War is among the most noticeable wars ever fought on the American Soil. Fundamentally, it began immediately after the clash between the Northern and Southern states. It is believed that the war was motivated by the issues that surrounded slavery in the United States. The rapid development of industries and agriculture in the north culminated the need to abolish the slavery and slave trade. In the southern economy, agriculture was predominantly being practice mainly because of the black African labor. Because of the abolitionists' movement, there was fear by southern states that their economy would collapse. Abraham Lincoln is among the major people who spearheaded such abolitionists' movements. His take on slavery is one of the most discussed issues in the US. Notably, his immediate foundation by was the need to bring about the eventual completion of slavery by stopping its further extension into any territory and proposing compensated emancipation in the early time of his authority as the president. Lincoln stood by Republican Party's platform of 1860 and stated that the slavery and slave trade should not be allowed to expand any more into U.S territories that had not experienced the slavery.

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

Contributions of Lincoln in American Civil War

In his view, the expansion of the slavery and the slave trade to other new regions of the western land could prevent the free labor provided by the enslaved black Africans. In the 1850s however, Lincoln had demonstrated his abilities and view as an abolitionist, who was determined of bringing to an end the issue of slavery, which dominated significant parts of America. In his opinion, he viewed it as the abuse to humanity and thought it essential to administer a gradual end to the slavery through the process of emancipation as well as the voluntary colonization instead of forcing the rapid conclusion in the bondage. In 1863 Lincoln directed all the people who were enslaved to rebel in all the regions that supported slavery, "the Confederacy". He further stressed that millions of people who were previously subjected under serfdom were to be set free. As a tactful politician, Lincoln did not call for the immediate end of slavery anyway in the U.S the proposed 13th amendment became a significant way through which Lincoln got the chance to address the end in bondage. This is based on the fact that he did not want the immediate emergence of any revolution that would disorient all the activities that were taking place. The subsequent events that happened in the US propelled Lincoln towards involving himself in the advocacy of anti-slavery movements. His return to the political stage marked a critical turning point in his quest to bring to an end the issue of slavery. Notably, 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act enhanced the formation of the territories of Kansas and Nebraska and to permit the settlers to decide whether or not to accept the continuation of the issue of the slavery. However. In his view, any move to remove 1820 Missouri would lead to a significant compromise that had illegalized the slavery. In the course of the civil war, Lincoln utilized his powers as the president to issue and address the emancipation proclamation in January 1863. Previously, had provided a warning he would act in that manner in any case the confederate did not comply with his orders. It is, however, important to note that all the individuals who were enslaved stood and united to create a rebellion, which forced the former Confederacy states to abolish slavery. The Kansas-Nebraska Act, therefore, played a crucial role in facilitating the freeing of the vast majority of the blacks who were slaves in the former Confederacy.

Lincoln legal and political move

The idea of the Republican Party against slavery enabled Lincoln to come to prominence. As a member of the Congress, he issued written protest of the assembly's passage of the resolution, which addresses the need to initiate the end of slavery in Washington. As part of his political careers, Lincoln represented a black woman together with his children in the Bailey vs. Cromwell case, where the woman claimed that she had been freed and could not be sold or subjected again into slavery. He further successfully defended another black man, Marvin Pond in the case People vs. Pond based on the fact that Pond honored the fugitive slave, Hauley. Through collaboration with another abolitionist congressman such as Joshua R, Giddings, they together drafted a bill with the aim of challenging the slavery in the District of Columbia for the compensation of the slave owners who had agreed to stop the slavery.

Having left politics, he re-involved himself into Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 as it permitted different territories to decide their view on the issue related to slavery. In his argument, Lincoln was both opposed the spread of slavery and the slave trade that had dominated America at that time. With this in mind, Lincoln proceeded to repeat it during his bid for the presidency. In a speech in Kentucky, he managed to address various issues related to the Kansas Act having, declared indifference. However, he also had to subject it to meditation on how to convert the actual dream and ambition to an end of slavery.

Reasons for Lincoln's Participation in Abolitionists' Movement

As part of his political moves, Lincoln did not hide his feelings and view towards the entire issue of slavery and slave trade. Firstly, he believed that slavery was a kind of a monstrous injustice and the abuse of the fundamental principles of humanity. Secondly, Lincoln felt that slavery denied republican an opportunity to fight for the rights of the enslaved Black Africans in the United States. Through his letter to Joshua Speed, who was a personal friend and a slave owner at Kentucky, Lincoln stressed the rights and obligations of Joshua Speed under the constitution. About slave captured under Joshua, Lincoln explicitly confessed about his hatred of seeing the slaves being hunted down, caught and even carried back to their stripes. During the Lincoln-Douglas debate about anti-slavery assertions of 1858, Lincoln further demonstrated his view on slavery. Notably, Douglas championed for the independence, which would provide citizens with the exclusive rights to make their own decisions regarding slavery. Lincoln, on the other hand, advocated that Negroes were entitled to the rights to do things at their liberty. The Negro suffrage tremendously meant a lot to him other than an issue in the United States.

During Republican Party presidential nomination in 1860, the party was entirely committed to ending slavery. In this sense, therefore, Lincoln's victory in 1860 elections made the Southern states triggered by secession acts. This is one of the primary reasons addressed in the presidential debate, which stressed mainly the regions towards the west, such as Kansas. Having been won the party nomination, he opposed any subsequent spread of slavery into other areas. The US government, however, was already prevented by the constitution from illegalizing slavery in states where it was already being carried out. Lincoln primary motive was to make slave owners malt its spread. He further wanted the government to provide financial compensation to those who previously owned slaves, especially in those in the states that agreed to abolish slavery.

Anti-slavery Contributions during Lincoln's Presidency

Having ascended to power, Lincoln wrote a letter to Senator Lyman Trumbull, giving the direction about the complete end of slavery in the United States. Another note to Mr. John A. Gilmer of North Carolina further stressed the need to set free all the previously enslaved Negroes. In the letter, Lincoln explicitly mentioned and indicated that the only difference that existed between North and the South was the idea behind slave slavery. On a broader note, the North believed that it was right while the south perceived it as wrong and something that required a complete abolition entirely. Similarly, the same statement was extended to Alexander H. Stephens of Georgia at a speech in the independence hall in Philadelphia 1861. As part of the speech, Lincoln reconfirmation that his captivity sprang from sentiment expressed regarding the declaration of independence. It was also believed to be the slavery and its continued occurrence of the US. He affirmed that liberty is for all and not to the country alone.

Ways in which Lincoln spearheaded the end of slavery

Before Lincoln became president, The Corwin amendment was ratified by the Congress at the same time approved by the two states. Suddenly, it was abandoned immediately the civil war began. Notably, it was meant to prohibit congressional interferences especially to the countries where it already existed. During his inauguration address 1861, he talked of such provision being implied constitutional law he had no objection when it is made express and irrevocable. Undeniably, the amendment was as a measure of reassurance to the bordering states that the federal government had no objective to do away with their powers. There was a full attack on Lincoln regarding civil war and his anti-slavery views.

Through emancipation, Lincoln was determined to fight slavery to the end. He planned to get rid of slavery in Columbia district. Immediately after the beginning of civil war in April 1861, he prohibited his generals from setting free the slaves in the captured territories. Surprisingly, August 30th, 1861 major general john the commander of the UN army ordered all slaves owned by Confederates in Missouri were free. In his view, Lincoln opposed this based on the fact that the military officers would have more authority by doing executive actions not granted by government. He further believed that only slaves owned by Missourians working for the south were to be set free. This was however ignored by Fremont thus being replaced by the conservative General Henry Wager Halleck.

In 1862, the situation repeated itself when General David Hunter started enlisting black soldiers in the districts under his control. He declared all slaves owned by confederates of Georgia and South Carolina to be freed. However, this was not welcomed by Lincoln since according to him, this approach was weak. Furthermore, he stressed that freedom could only be valid and legal when the whole exercise is grounded in the president's constitutional authority. This was confirmed through his response letter to the editorial by Horace. After writing the letter, Lincoln went ahead to issue his first pronouncement, stating that he will use his war powers to free all slaves in states that were still experiencing the revolution. Moreover, he wrote a letter to Albert G. Hodges, where he expressed his moral opposition to slavery which was evident that he was indeed against slavery.

Under reconstruction of December 1863, he used his authority and went ahead to proclaim amnesty and rebuilding. This move guaranteed southern states to peaceably unite with the union provided they had abolished slavery through taking oaths during the formation of the thirteenth amendment. This happened after Lincoln had accepted the nomination for the union party to run for the presidency in June 1864. Notably, this was the time he called for the passage of the thirteenth amendment to the United States Constitution to immediately abolish the constitution.

Through compensated emancipation, Lincoln made numerous proposals whereby the federal government was expected to purchase all the slaves and free them, however, the state government refused to act. Later in his letter to the U.S Congress, he stressed that emancipated slaves would create inconveniences thu...

Cite this page

Abraham Lincoln, Slavery and the American Civil War Essay. (2022, Jun 20). Retrieved from

so we do not vouch for their quality

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the ProEssays website, please click below to request its removal:

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism

Submit your request

Sorry, but it's not possible to copy the text due to security reasons.

Would you like to get this essay by email?

Interested in this essay?

Get it now!

Unfortunately, you can’t copy samples. Solve your problem differently! Provide your email for sample delivery

You agree to receive our emails and consent to our Terms & Conditions

Sample is in your inbox

Avoid editing or writing from scratch! Order original essay online with 25% off. Delivery in 6+ hours!

abraham lincoln and the civil war essay

Hamburger menu


Abraham Lincoln: Civil War

abraham lincoln and the civil war essay

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

Abraham lincoln's reasons for fighting in the civil war.

Do you really know Abraham Lincoln’s reasons for fighting in the civil war? Well to begin with, Lincoln argued that the reason for fighting was to preserve the Union, but towards the end of the war, his reasons has changed to what the cause of the war really was, which was to end slavery.…

Essay On The Gettysburg Address

The location of the Gettysburg Address greatly impacted the importance to the speech. The address was given in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania after the battle of Gettysburg. The battle was one of the bloodiest and most crucial battles of the Civil war. Twenty three thousand Union soldiers died and on the battlefield President Lincoln gave his speech. His speech was part of the dedication of the National Cemetery of Gettysburg.…

Abraham Lincoln: A True President

While all three presidents were amazing leaders, one of them was the best. Abraham Lincoln was our nations most influential and impactful leader. Abraham had freed the slaves and also had managed to not let the United States fall apart. However, as our first president and Father of America, George Washington did an incredible job also by raising the United States of America out of the ashes of Great Briain. Also, Thomas Jefferson had changed our nation too. By creating the American Library System he change the way people got their knowledge and facts. He revoluitionized the way we get our knowledge. Even to this day people use the library system. However, I think Abraham Lincoln really changed the United States the most. He was the strongest president for many reasons.…

Abraham Lincoln: The Greatest President In History

For hundreds of years, it was presidents that led the United States to success. Presidents are the leaders in military as well as in the government. They help to make important political and economical decisions. If it wasn't for ppresidents, this country would not be were it is today. There have been many strong presidents, but there have also been some weak ones. There is one president however, that I think was the strongest, that is Abraham Lincoln. Using the three stories provided, The Great Imancipator by Emily Stone, Father of the Nation by Terrence D. Weston, and America's Third President by Sandra Jacobson, I will explain why I believe Abraham Lincoln was the strongest president in history.…

The Failure Of President Lincoln During The Civil War

As the Commander-in-Chief, Lincoln not only accomplished his mission to conduct the army and visit the battlefield so that he and the Union armies could have a better relationship, but also addressed 2 other major achievements, which were the Martial Law and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. During the Civil War, under the leadership of President Lincoln, the government excessed great power. In order to keep Kentucky, one of the border states, Lincoln put it under Martial Law, which meant the state was ruled by military leaders under special situations; he proclaimed a blockade and then suspended the writ of habeas corpus. Without congress’ agreement, he spent money and imprisoned 18000 suspected Confederates without trials, which none of the former presidents had ever done at his time. The wise decisions of Lincoln maintained or strengthened the Union’s power and at the same time weakened the Confederacy, further helped the Union go on the pathway to victory. Meanwhile, Lincoln triumphantly dealt with foreign affairs. For instance, in 1861, Union Captain Charles Wilkes commanded the USS San Jacinto to intercept the British mail packet RMS Trent as contraband of war. So the Confederate tried to use this case to win support and recognition from Britain. However, Lincoln and his cabinet member especially Seward wanted to avoid risking war, and thus they released the envoys and punished Captain Wilkes. The problem was then solved and the Confederate failed to be recognized. This was known as the Trent Affair.…

abraham lincoln

Education- Generally a physician begins training in nuclear medicine after finishing medical school in a residency training program.…

In The Fiery Trail Mr. Foner the author has worked hard at making "white of black and black of white." He has made the "Great Emancipator" into the "Great Enslaver" while accusing him of "ethnic cleansing." According to Foner, "If Lincoln had had his way; there would be no Blacks in America. "Lincoln's real purpose as president was not to free the slaves, but to prolong slavery until he could put a plan in place to deport all Blacks to a foreign shore. Foner writes: "[Lincoln] did everything he could to deport Blacks and to make America a Great White Place."( Pg 22)…

Theodore Roosevelt: Father Of The Civil War

Theodore Roosevelt was born on October 27th, 1858, in New York City. He had 3 other siblings he was the 2nd one born out of the four. His dad Theodore Sr, was a successful businessman and his Mother Martha Roosevelt, she grew up on a plantation in Georgia. He had a rough time through the Civil War since his mother and aunt and (Maternal Grandmother were from the South and his Dad was from the Union.…

Abraham Lincoln: Biography

farm. He had less than a year of school but managed to educate himself by…

Abraham Lincoln

Throughout history, people have debated whether Abraham Lincoln should be considered the Great Emancipator or not. Due to many factors that influenced his reasoning for his actions, his legacy has been greatly questioned. The freeing of slaves was not all because of one person but this act of great change in history would not have occurred without Abraham Lincoln and all his contributions to the cause. I argue that Abraham Lincoln, although at first his intentions to abolish slavery may not have been due to the moral issue of slavery, should still indeed be considered the Great Emancipator because he played a large role in the freedom of slaves. In order to support this claim I will first explain how Lincoln’s view on the moral issue of slavery changed over time, followed by the careful steps Lincoln took to ease the nation into the emancipation of slaves, and lastly how some decisions and changes made in the nation by Lincoln, made him a great leader and one that pushed for the end of slavery.…

Abraham Lincoln and the Struggle for Union and Emancipation

Lincoln began the civil war claiming to want only to preserve the union, and I think that saving the union was his main goal, but I think even from the beginning, slavery played a part in the start of the war too and another one of his goals was to gradually get rid of slavery. I think as time went on, it started to have a bigger and bigger role in the war, but I don’t think the goal of ending slavery every surpassed his goal of saving the union. He did whatever he thought it would take to save the union, and he also managed to end slavery while doing it.…

Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation

The Gettysburg Address was the most famous speech given by President Lincoln. It was given after the Civil War almost as a way to restore the nation and honor the fallen soldiers. In the speech Abraham starts off by saying “ Four score and seven years ago” which is significant because that was when the Declaration of Independence was signed and when the colonies gained their freedom from Great Britain. He then goes on to say that the founding fathers built the nation on liberty and equality for all men, but years later they are fighting to see if it's…

Rebuilding the Government: United States History

President Abraham Lincoln gave the speech, “the Gettysburg Address”, on November 19, 1863 at the Soldiers National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania3. There were two main purposes for him writing this speech: to consecrate the cemetery at Gettysburg and start to rebuild a torn country4. Although President Lincoln’s speech was very short, sweet, and straight to the point, it was full of vital information that would begin to reshape the American society. Lincoln starts his speech in a very unique by using the term “Four score and seven years ago, our founding fathers brought forth this continent…” 5.…

Compare And Contrast Gettysburg Address And Declaration Of Independence

Gettysburg Address, Declaration of Independence, and the Four Freedoms of speech documents show relationship in terms of democracy and freedom. First, in Gettysburg Address, President Abraham Lincoln delivered statements in November 1863 at a formal ceremony that occurred in Pennsylvania. The president gave the speech at one of the most fierce and bloodiest battles of the Civil War. Additionally, Lincoln proclaimed that the fight was a struggle for the preservation of the Union armies and repeated the values of human equality adopted by the Declaration of Independence. The president also stressed on a new birth of freedom that would give birth equality to all citizens (Schwartz 1277). Lincoln wrote his Gettysburg Address referring to the Declaration of Independence. Similarly, Lincoln also reaffirmed that the civil war was a struggle for the principle of human equality and not just for the Union armies. In other words, Lincoln emphasized the founding principles of U.S. by referring to U.S. declaration of independence.…

Gettysburg Address Rhetorical Analysis

The 16th President of the United States of America, Abraham Lincoln, in his speech, The Gettysburg Address, recounts the tragedy of the Civil War and the fight for the removal of slavery. Lincoln’s purpose is to state the importance of winning the war along with the importance of liberty, freedom, and equality. He creates a somber commemorative tone throughout the speech in order to show how serious he is about equality and freedom for everyone.…

Help inform the discussion

U.S. Presidents / Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln

1809 - 1865

Abraham lincoln.

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations. Second Inaugural Address

When Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860, seven slave states left the Union to form the Confederate States of America, and four more joined when hostilities began between the North and South. A bloody civil war then engulfed the nation as Lincoln vowed to preserve the Union, enforce the laws of the United States, and end the secession. The war lasted for more than four years with a staggering loss of more than 600,000 Americans dead. Midway through the war, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed all slaves within the Confederacy and changed the war from a battle to preserve the Union into a battle for freedom. He was the first Republican President, and Union victory ended forever the claim that state sovereignty superseded federal authority. Killed by an assassin's bullet less than a week after the surrender of Confederate forces, Lincoln left the nation a more perfect Union and thereby earned the admiration of most Americans as the country's greatest President.

Life In Depth Essays

Michael Burlingame

Chicago Style

Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia. “Abraham Lincoln.” Accessed March 01, 2023.

Chair in Lincoln Studies

Michael Burlingame

Professor Burlingame is the Chancellor Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Featured Insights

Gallagher and McPherson

Lincoln and Davis: War presidents

Historians James McPherson and Gary Gallagher compare the leadership styles of Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis

Aaron David Miller

The end of greatness

Scholar Aaron David Miller explains why it’s hard to find great presidents such as Abraham Lincoln

First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln

From slavery to the White House

Learn about Elizabeth Keckly, a seamstress who made dresses for First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln, from the White House Historical Association

Gary Gallagher

The worst first year of a presidency

On American Forum , historian Gary Gallagher explains what today's leaders can learn from Lincoln’s tough first year in office

Abraham Lincoln

June 16, 1858: "A House Divided" Speech

March 4, 1861: first inaugural address, november 19, 1863: gettysburg address, photo gallery.

Abraham Lincoln

Congressman Abraham Lincoln in 1846

Abraham Lincoln was born in Kentucky in 1809, but he was raised mostly in Indiana. As a young man, Lincoln became a lawyer and served in the Illinois state legislature as a member of the Whig Party.

Lincoln with his son

Lincoln with his son

Lincoln married Mary Todd in 1842, and they had four sons. He is shown here with his youngest son, Tad.

Headshot of Abraham Lincoln

Candidate Lincoln

In 1860, Abraham Lincoln won the nomination for president from the Republican Party. He won the presidential election and took office in 1861.

President Lincoln with generals

Battle of Antietam

In 1862, the Union Army defeated the Confederate Army at the Battle of Antietam. President Lincoln visited with his generals after the battle.

Lincoln with Pinkerton and McClernand

President Lincoln with Pinkerton and McClernand

After the Battle of Antietam, President Lincoln, center , was photographed with Allan Pinkerton and Major General John A. McClernand.

President Lincoln

President Lincoln

In 1864, Civil War photographer Mathew Brady took this photo of President Abraham Lincoln. Robert Todd Lincoln said it was the best likeness of his father.

Last photograph of Lincoln

Last known photograph of Lincoln

This is the last known photograph of President Lincoln before John Wilkes Booth shot him at Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865. Photographer Henry F. Warren took the photograph on the White House balcony on March 6, 1865.

Featured Video

Doris Kearns Goodwin

A conversation with Doris Kearns Goodwin

Watch historian Doris Kearns Goodwin talk about leadership lessons from American presidents

Featured Publications

Lincoln's Virtues


Supported by

Guest Essay

This Is the Story of How Lincoln Broke the U.S. Constitution


Send any friend a story

As a subscriber, you have 10 gift articles to give each month. Anyone can read what you share.

By Noah Feldman

Mr. Feldman, a professor at Harvard who specializes in constitutional law, is the author of a new book on Abraham Lincoln.

Who created the Constitution we have today? As a law professor, I’ve always thought the best answer was the framers: James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and the other delegates who attended the Philadelphia convention in the summer of 1787.

The Constitution they drafted has since been amended many times, of course, sometimes in profound ways. But the document, I’ve long reasoned, has also exhibited a fundamental continuity. We’ve always had one Constitution.

I no longer think this conventional understanding is correct. Over the course of several years of research and writing, I’ve come to the conclusion that the true maker of the Constitution we have today is not one of the founders at all. It’s Abraham Lincoln.

This might sound like mere rhetorical license, since Lincoln did not take office until 1861, some 70 years after the Constitution was ratified. And we all recognize that his presidency played an instrumental role in the passage of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments, which, by making a decisive break with slavery, became a turning point in our nation’s history.

But I’m making a stronger argument. What has become clear to me is that even before the passage of those Reconstruction amendments — indeed, as a kind of precondition for them — Lincoln fatally injured the Constitution of 1787. He consciously and repeatedly violated core elements of that Constitution as they had been understood by nearly all Americans of the time, himself included.

Through those acts of destruction, Lincoln effectively broke the Constitution of 1787, paving the way for something very different to replace it. What began as a messy, pragmatic compromise necessary to hold the young country together was reborn as an aspirational blueprint for a nation based on the principle of equal liberty for all.

Today, when the United States is engaged in a national reckoning about the legacies of slavery and institutional racism, the story of Lincoln’s breaking of the Constitution of 1787 is instructive. It teaches us not only that the original Constitution was deeply compromised, morally and functionally, by its enshrining of slavery, but also that the original Constitution was shattered, remade and supplanted by a project genuinely worthy of reverence.

Let’s go back to the 18th century. Americans today tend to think of the Constitution of 1787 in exalted moral terms. But the history is otherwise: The original Constitution was a complex political compromise grounded in perceived practical necessity, not moral clarity.

The need to garner the support of smaller states, for example, gave us the Senate. More damning were the compromises over slavery, without which the Constitution could never have been ratified: the repugnant “three-fifths” provision, by which enslaved people were counted as three-fifths of a person for purposes of political representation; the promised 20-year preservation of the slave trade; and the fugitive slave clause, which required even free states to support slavery by returning escapees to their putative masters. These compromises were reaffirmed and reinforced by further compromises enacted by Congress from 1820 to 1850.

In April 1861, when the Civil War began, Lincoln was thoroughly committed to the compromise Constitution, which he had endorsed and embraced for his whole political life. Indeed, the month before, in his first Inaugural Address, Lincoln promised to preserve slavery as a constitutionally mandated permanent reality.

“I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists,” he said, vowing never to defy what was “plainly written” in the Constitution. “I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.”

But in the 18 months that followed, Lincoln violated the Constitution as it was then broadly understood three separate times.

First, he waged war on the Confederacy. He did this even though his predecessor, James Buchanan, and Buchanan’s attorney general, Jeremiah Black, had concluded that neither the president nor Congress had the lawful authority to coerce the citizens of seceding states to stay in the Union without their democratic consent. Coercive war, they had argued, repudiated the idea of consent of the governed on which the Constitution was based.

Second, Lincoln suspended habeas corpus unilaterally, without Congress, arresting thousands of political opponents and suppressing the free press and free speech to a degree unmatched in U.S. history before or since. When Chief Justice Roger Taney of the Supreme Court held that the suspension was unconstitutional, Lincoln ignored him.

Lincoln justified both of these constitutional violations by a doubtful theory of wartime necessity: that as chief executive and commander in chief, he possessed the inherent authority to use whatever means necessary to preserve the Union.

Third, and most fatefully, Lincoln came to believe that he also possessed the power to proclaim an end to slavery in the Southern states. When he finally did so, issuing the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863, he eliminated any possibility of returning to the compromise Constitution as it had existed before the war.

Unlike his first two violations of the Constitution, which came quickly, Lincoln’s movement toward emancipation was agonized and slow, precisely because he knew that emancipation would have the effect of destroying the core of the constitutional compromise he had pledged to uphold.

As Lincoln explained in a letter to Senator Orville Browning of Illinois in September 1861, emancipation would be “itself the surrender of the government” he was trying to save. “Can it be pretended that it is any longer the government of the U.S. — any government of Constitution and laws,” Lincoln asked, if a general or a president were able to “make permanent rules of property by proclamation?”

In the end, Lincoln’s decision to issue the Emancipation Proclamation turned on his realization that the war could not be won as he had originally hoped — namely, by inducing the Southern states to rejoin the Union on compromise terms similar to the status quo before the war. To proclaim the enslaved people of the South as emancipated was to announce that there was no going back. The original compromise Constitution would no longer be on offer, even if the South gave up and rejoined the Union.

Contemporary observers, even those unsympathetic to slavery, understood that the Emancipation Proclamation left the original Constitution in tatters. The retired Supreme Court justice Benjamin Curtis, who had dissented from the notorious 1857 decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford (in which the court held that Americans of African descent could not be citizens), said as much in a pamphlet condemning Lincoln’s declaration as a repudiation of the constitutional rule of law.

“By virtue of some power which he possesses,” Curtis wrote, Lincoln “proposes to annul laws, so that they no longer have any operation.”

In the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln did just that. The 13th Amendment, which with Lincoln’s encouragement was passed by Congress and sent to the states in February 1865, outlawed slavery in the United States. But in a meaningful sense it merely formalized Lincoln’s guarantee, in issuing the Emancipation Proclamation nearly three years before, that whatever new constitutional order followed the war would no longer be a slavery-based compromise.

Likewise, the 14th and 15th Amendments, enacted after Lincoln’s death in April 1865, formally secured the equal protection of the laws and enfranchised African American men. But Lincoln had already transformed the Constitution from a political compromise into a platform for defending moral principles by invoking its authority to end slavery.

In the last paragraph of the Emancipation Proclamation, for example, Lincoln declared “this act” to be “warranted by the Constitution” — notwithstanding the consensus view to the contrary, which he himself had long endorsed.

The fact that the Constitution of 1787 was not so much modified as broken and remade during and after the Civil War should be a starting point for nuanced conversations about the true meaning of the Constitution today. Indeed, even before Lincoln broke the Constitution, some of the most sophisticated thinkers about the nature of the Constitution were attuned to the complexities of the question.

Frederick Douglass, for example, began his career as an abolitionist in the late 1830s by rejecting the Constitution as immoral. Over time, however, his views changed. In 1850, he wrote that “liberty and slavery — opposite as heaven and hell — are both in the Constitution.” The Constitution, he concluded, was “at war with itself.”

Even this would turn out to be a transitional position for Douglass. In 1851, he declared that he now believed that slavery “never was lawful, and never can be made so.” He pointed out, as some defenders of the framers still do today, that the Constitution of 1787 did not actually use the word “slavery.” Douglass would hold this view for the next decade, until the war came. It was intended to leverage a redemptive reading of the Constitution to change the existing document into something new and better.

Of course, the “moral” Constitution made possible by Lincoln’s defiance of the Constitution of 1787 has too often been thwarted. About a decade after the Reconstruction amendments were ratified, the moral Constitution was betrayed by the imposition of segregation and disenfranchisement on Black Southerners. It took Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 and the modern civil rights movement to start redeeming the promise of Lincoln’s new Constitution.

Persistent inequality still afflicts the United States, including inequality before the law of the kind the moral Constitution prohibits. The reality is that Lincoln’s moral Constitution, like all constitutions, is not an endpoint but a vow of continuing effort. Through that Constitution, we define our national project and strive to achieve it, even if we never fully succeed.

Noah Feldman ( @NoahRFeldman ) is a professor of law at Harvard and the author, most recently, of “The Broken Constitution: Lincoln, Slavery and the Refounding of America,” from which this essay is adapted.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips . And here’s our email: [email protected] .

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook , Twitter (@NYTopinion) and Instagram .

Abraham Lincoln, Slavery and the Civil War

Introduction, winning the war, emancipation.

Slavery was practiced in all the American states during the colonial period. After independence, the northern states were challenged on the rights of all and started to shift their view on slavery. They considered it to go against the ideals of the war they fought with their colonial masters the British. The end of the Mexican war caused anxiety with some states wondering whether to join the United States as free states or slave states.

The southern part of the country relied heavily on slavery for the provision of cheap labor. Slavery was the main political issue in the whole of America (Johnson 30). War mostly happens as a result of human ambition or the breakdown of peaceful means to conflict solution. When this happened America’s north fought against the south, at the time when Lincoln was President. This paper seeks to highlight the roles of slavery and President Lincoln in the civil war.

America’s north had most of the industries which got their raw material from the south. The southern states were mostly large farms that grew cotton and other farm produce. This meant that they were labor-intensive states. To achieve the level of productivity needed, the southern states relied on the slaves to provide cheap labor. The African American’s were enslaved for life with the settler’s children inheriting them after their parents.

At this time, war erupted in Kansas over its decision to be a free state. A similar uprising occurred in West Virginia by John Brown, who tried to start a slave uprising. Abraham Lincoln got elected to the United States Congress in 1846. With American politics centered on slavery, he became a vocal voice against slavery. With the slow rise in the anti-slavery sentiments, Lincoln won a Republican nomination for president, aided by his great oratory skills (Johnson 43).

Over this period, the southern states of America had enlisted to join as slave states. They were largely aided by the Compromise of 1850, which allowed them to choose whether to be free or slave states. The Republican Party that had just been formed pegged its campaign on an anti-slavery platform. The southerly states issued a series of warning on cessation if the Republican Party does win (Johnson 58).

After the election, Abraham Lincoln won by 40% and was sworn in as President even as it emerged that no southerly state had voted for him. The south felt that they no longer had a place in the Union and made good their threat to secede. Starting from South Carolina, Mississippi followed by Florida, Georgia, Texas, and Alabama. They then moved ahead and created the Confederate States of America, electing Jefferson Davis as their president.

The northern States under Lincoln were more interested in preserving the Union of America. On April 12, 1961civil war broke out in South Carolina upon the provocation by the Confederate army. The President rallied the northern states for the retention of the Union as a cause for fighting the civil war (Johnson 65). The north was developed with factories that manufactured ammunition, money, and a large labor force. Its army war larger than the southern one.

The only way the south could have won was if they could garner external support from Europe, which at one point was being considered. They apart from the fact that they were undercapitalized had the best generals in America. President Lincoln sought to deny them external support by wisely juggling between the idea of fighting for the union and fighting to free the slaves. This kept the loyalty of the northern states, and the freeing of slaves kept at bay the European intervention (Johnson 66).

As the Union army moved southwards, lots of fleeing people crossed the Frontline into the northern side. The north had at this time developed a great transportation system, through its railroad, which meant that the logistical supply of its troops was easy. The Confederates had to deal with the use of traditional horseback and other not up to date transport systems. The black fleeing population did offer to fight in the war but were kept from enlisting. In the navy, they had some experience and were therefore enlisted in the naval The Union then blockaded the ports limiting the supplies to the Confederate’s and cutting short their refinancing through the sale of cotton.

The ideological reason for fighting the war was used as a war tool. The confederate’s main reason seemed to be a selfish one. During this time of war, the slaves who were in the fields left under the supervision of the white women started to abscond work. Those who through the war found gaps of escaping did so in large numbers. At this time and due to his great leadership skills, the President issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. With the full proclamation, the African-Americans were able to be enlisted to join the Union army (Johnson 74).

The slaves now fought for their freedom alongside the Union which fought for the unity of the states. The slaves were freeing themselves, creating a humanitarian crisis. This saw the change of the aims of the war to one whose aim was to abolish slavery. The union army grew with the new African American manpower. The war continued with the north suffering defeats but their resolve to win was strong. In the year 1865, the Congress approved the thirteenth amendment that abolished slavery (Johnson 75). President Lincoln got reelected, and the union won the war. Efforts now were redirected at the reconstruction of the Union. It is during this period that the president was assassinated.

President Lincoln became one of the greatest figures in the history of the United States. The cessation and war with the south are the chance that provided him an opportunity to become the great inspirational founders of America. The thirteenth amendment was then ratified putting an end to slavery in America making all the states free. Clearly, at his death, the whole nation knew that the days of slavery were behind them. History has proven right the major cause of the civil war was indeed slavery.

Johnson, Michael P. Abraham Lincoln, Slavery, and the Civil War: Selected Writings and Speeches . California: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2000. Print.

Cite this paper

Select a referencing style

AssignZen. (2022, May 5). Abraham Lincoln, Slavery and the Civil War.

"Abraham Lincoln, Slavery and the Civil War." AssignZen , 5 May 2022,

1. AssignZen . "Abraham Lincoln, Slavery and the Civil War." May 5, 2022.


AssignZen . "Abraham Lincoln, Slavery and the Civil War." May 5, 2022.

AssignZen . 2022. "Abraham Lincoln, Slavery and the Civil War." May 5, 2022.

AssignZen . (2022) 'Abraham Lincoln, Slavery and the Civil War'. 5 May.

This report on Abraham Lincoln, Slavery and the Civil War was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.

If you are the original creator of this paper and no longer wish to have it published on Asignzen, request the removal .

Back Home

All Results

Lincoln and idealized depictions of him loom large over Civil War history.

Statue of Abraham Lincoln in Portland, Oregon, toppled during the Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage on October 11, 2020. George Fite Waters, Abraham Lincoln, 1927, bronze, 10 feet high, photo © Sergio Olmos

Statue of Abraham Lincoln in Portland, Oregon, toppled during the Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage on October 11, 2020. George Fite Waters, Abraham Lincoln , 1927, bronze, 10 feet high, photo © Sergio Olmos

On October 11, 2020, protesters in Portland, Oregon, toppled a statue of Abraham Lincoln, spray painting its hands blood red and its plinth with reminders of Lincoln’s role in suppressing Indigenous peoples: “LAND BACK,” a protester scrawled on one side of the stone marker, connecting Lincoln with the accelerated dispossession of Native lands that occurred during and after the Civil War, and “DAKOTA 38” on another side, referencing the mass execution of Dakota men that Lincoln ordered in 1862.

In December 2020, city officials in Boston removed from a public square a statue of Lincoln, commonly known as the Emancipation Group , in which a standing Lincoln appears to bestow freedom on a kneeling Black man. This was a copy of a Thomas Ball statue erected in 1876 that is still on site in Washington, D.C. The Boston statue had drawn the ire of residents who found its composition demeaning, seeing it as emphasizing Black subservience.

Boston officials remove a statue of Abraham Lincoln standing above a kneeling emancipated person on December 29, 2020. Thomas Ball, Emancipation Group (recasting of Freedmen's Memorial), 1879, bronze, photo © Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald

Boston officials remove a statue of Abraham Lincoln standing above a kneeling emancipated person on December 29, 2020. Thomas Ball, Emancipation Group (recasting of Freedmen’s Memorial ), 1879, bronze, photo © Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald

A reckoning

To some observers, the removal of statues of Abraham Lincoln—the sixteenth president of the United States, who led the nation to victory in the Civil War (1861–65) and signed the Emancipation Proclamation —was a sign that the recent iconoclasm of Civil War statues had gone too far. “What started out as an earnest effort by some to remove statues glorifying a rebellion by the slavery-defending Confederacy has devolved into an absurd effort to destroy all vestiges of the past,” opined the editorial board of the Denver Gazette , noting that the original Ball statue in Washington, D.C. had been financed by formerly enslaved Black people in the years after the Civil War. [1] Others celebrated the removal of statues which they had perceived as chilling public reminders of white supremacy and Indigenous erasure . The Boston mayor’s office told the press that “The decision for removal acknowledges the statue’s role in perpetuating harmful prejudices and obscuring the role of Black Americans in shaping the nation’s fight for freedom.” [2]

But the Portland and Boston Lincoln statues are only two of the more than 100 statues of Civil War-era public figures that have been removed since 2015, with most protesters and cities focusing their efforts on removing monuments honoring the defeated Confederacy. Although there was no small amount of controversy over taking down Confederate monuments , efforts to remove statues honoring figures from the victorious U.S. forces—like Lincoln—has led to some head scratching. Weren’t these the good guys in the Civil War, who kept the country from splitting apart and brought about emancipation? Why should their likenesses be torn down alongside those of the men who fought to preserve slavery? Are “all vestiges of the past” really doomed to be expunged from the landscape? 

The purpose of public monuments, and which voices and images ought to be celebrated in public art and memorials, is a topic that will likely continue to be hotly debated in the coming years. But the calls for removing monuments to Abraham Lincoln and other heroes of the United States during the Civil War help to illuminate the ways in which these portrayals have often escaped the scrutiny given to Confederate monuments.

When we think of the mythology that emerged from the American Civil War, we tend to focus on the myth of the Lost Cause —white southerners’ efforts to rewrite the reasons for the war and its outcome. But white northerners also engaged in mythmaking, elevating political and military leaders to sainthood and downplaying the importance of emancipation (and self-emancipation ) in the war effort. [3] Therefore, monuments to U.S. Civil War heroes, just like monuments to the Confederacy, are not neutral or objective records of the past; like any work of art or historical source they promote some ideas and obscure others.

S.J. Ferris, Washington & Lincoln (Apotheosis), 1865, albumen print on carte-de-visite (Library of Congress)

S.J. Ferris, Washington & Lincoln (Apotheosis) , 1865, albumen print on carte-de-visite ( Library of Congress )

This essay will examine visual depictions of Abraham Lincoln, whose image has mirrored the broader project of northern Civil War memory and mythmaking. While he was in office, Lincoln’s image was closely tied to public opinion of the war effort and the actions of his administration. But after his assassination—the first of a president in U.S. history—Lincoln was portrayed in art as a Christ-like figure who had died in pursuit of the Union’s salvation. Art celebrating the Emancipation Proclamation celebrated Lincoln alone, rather than a vast network of abolitionists , soldiers, and self-emancipated Black people who worked to end slavery. These images both reflected and helped to reinforce the process of reunion that took place between white northerners and former Confederates in the fifty years after the Civil War. As the federal government abandoned its pursuit of Black citizenship, memorials ceased to emphasize the end of slavery as an important part of U.S. victory in the Civil War. 

Lincoln’s image during the Civil War

Depictions of Lincoln during his lifetime and during the war itself remind us that he was far from universally beloved: not only was Lincoln broadly despised by southern slaveholders who fomented secession after his election in 1860, Lincoln was also a focus of criticism by northerners. As a leader, he faced accusations of incompetence, of being both too radical and too conservative in his stance toward slavery, of being both too willing to sacrifice American lives in the pursuit of winning the Civil War and not willing enough. The only thing that his critics seemed to agree on was that he was an exceptionally ugly man, a fact that Lincoln himself made light of. “If I had two faces,” he joked in response to accusations of being deceitful, “would I be wearing this one?” [4]

During his more than four years in office, Lincoln and his supporters faced opposition from many groups in the North in addition to the South. There were Copperheads who sympathized with the slaveholding rebels and, on the other side, abolitionists who demanded immediate emancipation. The Civil War, a conflict northerners initially imagined would last mere months, stretched to four years and hundreds of thousands of casualties. As deaths mounted, contemporaries criticized Lincoln’s management of the war, and political cartoonists took aim at him.

Political cartoon critiquing Lincoln’s handling of the war. Joseph E. Baker, Columbia Demands Her Children! Boston, 1864, lithograph (Library of Congress)

Political cartoon critiquing Lincoln’s handling of the war. Joseph E. Baker, Columbia Demands Her Children! Boston , 1864, lithograph ( Library of Congress )

In this political cartoon from 1864, the figure of Columbia (an allegorical representation of the United States) wears ancient Roman garb, an American flag skirt, a shield on her back, and a crown inscribed “Liberty” as she accuses Lincoln of wasting the lives of U.S. soldiers. She points at Lincoln’s request for more troops, and demands, “Mr. Lincoln, give me back my 500,000 sons!” (the approximate number of men who had died in the war up until that point). Lincoln is portrayed as disheveled and grotesque, his leg thrown clumsily over a chair. A proclamation calling for more troops lies at his feet as he tries to distract Columbia by mumbling “Well the fact is—by the way that reminds me of a STORY!!!” The artist channeled the anger felt by many white northerners that their sacrifices had not translated into victory after three years of fighting, and that Lincoln had mismanaged the war. After Lincoln’s death in 1865, however, such unflattering depictions became extremely rare. This representation of Lincoln as incompetent contrasts with the god-like depictions made after his death, where he bestows liberty on enslaved people who appear unable to take action on their own behalf.  

Apotheosis and idealization

In the years since his death, the instantly recognizable figure of Lincoln has become a symbol of emancipation, freedom, honesty, and civic virtue. Why and how did this transformation occur? First, Lincoln was assassinated, not only in the midst of the triumph of U.S. forces at the end of the Civil War but also on Good Friday, the day that Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. He became not just a president but a martyr, ascending to a national pantheon along with George Washington .

John Sartain, after a design by W.H. Hermans, Abraham Lincoln, the Martyr, Victorious, 1866, engraving, 61 x 48 cm (Library of Congress)

John Sartain, after a design by W.H. Hermans, Abraham Lincoln, the Martyr, Victorious , 1866, engraving, 61 x 48 cm ( Library of Congress )

Lincoln was the first U.S. president to be assassinated, and Americans reacted to his death with shock. Soon after, an explosion of images of Lincoln appeared that mourned his death and depicted him as a martyr . Several illustrators imagined what happened to Lincoln’s spirit after he died, showing his apotheosis (transformation into a divine figure), such as John Sartain’s Abraham Lincoln, the Martyr, Victorious . In a long tradition of deification of leaders going back to ancient images of Roman emperors , Lincoln’s spirit ascends to heaven, where he is welcomed by George Washington and angels, some playing harps. One angel crowns him with laurels and holds a palm frond—both Roman symbols of victory (the palm was also a Christian symbol of eternal life and often depicted in images of martyred saints . The palm frond would also have reminded contemporary viewers of Jesus Christ , who was welcomed into Jerusalem with palms.

But the idealizing imagery of Lincoln in the wake of his assassination and the victory of the United States in the Civil War increasingly marginalized the most important participants in the saga of emancipation: the formerly enslaved people themselves. It also obscured Lincoln’s interactions with Indigenous people, whose suffering increased as a result of U.S. Army actions in the Civil War. Although Lincoln’s policies toward Indigenous peoples were not markedly different from those of earlier administrations, the Civil War’s impact on native communities was catastrophic. U.S. Army units forced thousands of Din é (Navajo) and Apaches in the southwest to march to a concentration camp in Bosque Redondo, New Mexico, where they were interned in conditions so unsanitary that more than a quarter of them died. The Third Colorado Cavalry attacked a settlement of Cheyenne and Arapaho women, children, and elderly people and murdered at least 150 of them in a rampage known as the Sand Creek massacre. Until recently, neither of these grim episodes has figured much in public histories of the Civil War. 

Envisioning emancipation

In September 1862, Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared that all enslaved people living in areas then in rebellion against the United States would become forever free on January 1, 1863. Artists hoping to commemorate this world-changing event faced a unique challenge: how could they depict emancipation? The Black people who were enslaved at 11:59 pm on December 31, 1862 would look exactly the same at 12:00am on January 1, 1863 when they became legally free. Was emancipation a process of subtraction—taking away chains, perhaps—or was it the addition of something new? 

Abraham Lincoln may have signed the Emancipation Proclamation, but it was enslaved people themselves who made emancipation a reality, forcing the issue long before Lincoln accepted emancipation as a war goal. Many escaped at great personal risk, often making their way to U.S Army lines and serving in the war. In addition to providing military intelligence, many of these refugees went on to enlist to fight their former enslavers directly. One person wrote the Emancipation Proclamation, while millions more enacted it—often at great cost to themselves and their families.

P.S. Duval & Son after a drawing by R. Morris Swander, Emancipation Proclamations, Allegorical Portrait of Abraham Lincoln, Philadelphia: Swander Bishop & Co., 1865, engraving, 77.4 x 62.4 cm (Brown University Library)

P.S. Duval & Son after a drawing by R. Morris Swander , Emancipation Proclamations, Allegorical Portrait of Abraham Lincoln , Philadelphia: Swander Bishop & Co., 1865, engraving, 77.4 x 62.4 cm ( Brown University Library )

Visual representations of emancipation, however, focused on Lincoln’s role as author of the Proclamation, sidelining or erasing the role of Black people altogether. An 1865 engraving depicts Lincoln made of the words of the Emancipation Proclamation, with the portrait separating two vignettes below: one showing an enslaved man being lashed, another showing him being armed with a sword by Columbia (an allegorical representation of the United States) and sent off into battle with another Black man in an army uniform. Early images of emancipation, like these vignettes in the Emancipation Proclamations allegory, often portrayed formerly enslaved men joining the military and achieving full citizenship.

Dennis Malone Carter, Lincoln’s Drive Through Richmond, 1866, oil on canvas, 45 x 68 inches (Chicago History Museum)

Dennis Malone Carter, Lincoln’s Drive Through Richmond , 1866, oil on canvas, 45 x 68 inches ( Chicago History Museum )

But others saw Lincoln as the divine deliverer, like Dennis Malone Carter’s 1866 painting Lincoln’s Drive Through Richmond. Here, the artist portrays Lincoln’s April 4, 1865 visit to the recently captured Confederate capital of Richmond, where he was greeted by grateful Black and white citizens. Sunlight falling on the wall behind Lincoln’s head gives the effect of a halo.

Not all attempts to commemorate emancipation in art focused on Lincoln alone. When formerly enslaved people began collecting money after Lincoln’s death to build a monument in his honor, some designs foregrounded the Black struggle for emancipation and equal citizenship.

Left: Edmonia Lewis, Forever Free, 1867, marble, 106 cm high (Howard University Gallery of Art; photo: Art History Project); Right: Harriet Hosmer, early design for Freedmen’s Memorial to Lincoln, published in The Art-Journal, (January 1, 1868), London: Virtue & Co., p. 8.

Left: Edmonia Lewis, Forever Free , 1867, marble, 106 cm high (Howard University Gallery of Art; photo: Art History Project ); Right: Harriet Hosmer, early design for Freedmen’s Memorial to Lincoln, published in The Art-Journal,  (January 1, 1868), London: Virtue & Co., p. 8.

Neoclassical sculptor Edmonia Lewis, an American sculptor who had both Black and Indigenous ancestry who worked in Rome, created an emancipation group called Forever Free   soon after the conclusion of the Civil War. Lewis’s sculpture centers on the experience of a Black man and woman at the moment of emancipation. Overcoming the common visual trope of the kneeling slave begging for freedom seen in much abolitionist imagery , Lewis depicts a formerly enslaved man raising one arm with a broken shackle in a victorious attitude, his other hand resting on the shoulder of a kneeling woman whose own hands are clasped in prayer as if thanking God for the gift of freedom. With a protective, independent male figure and chaste, pious female figure, Lewis suggested that this newly free Black couple is finally able to participate in the family framework that was prized in the Victorian era. [5] Another proposed sculpture group, white female sculptor Harriet Hosmer’s unrealized designs for an emancipation memorial, featured a sculptural cycle of Black history with four standing male figures at each corner, representing kidnapping, enslavement, self-emancipation, and military service. [6] The figures are shown standing and appear as dignified and active agents in their own destinies.

Thomas Ball, Emancipation Memorial, 1876, bronze, Lincoln Park, Washington, D.C. (photo: Renée Ater) 

Thomas Ball, Emancipation Memorial, 1876, bronze, Lincoln Park, Washington, D.C. (photo: Renée Ater)  

Eliminating Black agency

But Hosmer’s design was ultimately discarded by the committee tasked with choosing the form of the monument. Despite being funded by the formerly enslaved, the committee sought no direction from their Black patrons, and ultimately chose to build a smaller group sculpted by American sculptor Thomas Ball. The Ball memorial group, which was erected in Lincoln Park in Washington, D.C. (and whose copy was removed from view in Boston, as discussed earlier), showed Lincoln holding the Emancipation Proclamation and bestowing freedom on a semi-nude Black man crouched at his feet. Unlike Hosmer’s active, standing men, the Ball statue’s enslaved man is passive and diminished. 

The statue implies that freedom was a gift given by Lincoln to the grateful enslaved. This is problematic in several ways: first, it eliminates the agency of Black people in obtaining their own freedom; second, it presents emancipation as a single event rather than an ongoing process of securing equality and citizenship; and third, it freezes the Black man in a powerless pose, forever locked in a state of subservience—while suggesting that he ought to be grateful for it.

This change in narratives—from Hosmer’s design foregrounding Black citizenship to Ball’s forever-kneeling passive recipient of freedom—tracked with the larger social changes in the period we call Reconstruction . By the time the monument was erected in 1876, the federal government and the Republican Party had abandoned their commitment to Black equality and allowed white supremacist state governments to retake power in the South. Frederick Douglass , who gave a speech at the Ball statue’s dedication in Washington, D.C., in 1876, reportedly disliked the pose of the kneeling figure, which did not impart a “manly attitude” indicative of freedom. [7] Douglass’s remarks laid bare the tenuous relationship between Black freedom and Abraham Lincoln, stating simply that Lincoln “was pre-eminently the white man’s President, entirely devoted to the welfare of white men . . . [but] we came to the conclusion that the hour and the man of our redemption had somehow met in the person of Abraham Lincoln.” [8]

Travis Blackbird, Ledger art on map, (and detail at right), 2017, ink on antique ledger, © Travis Blackbird used by permission

Travis Blackbird, Ledger art on map , (and detail at right), 2017, ink on antique ledger, © Travis Blackbird used by permission

Lincoln’s image and Indigenous genocide

Although many artists have depicted Lincoln as a Christ-like figure, a work of contemporary ledger art by Travis Blackbird (Omaha/Oglala Lakota) includes an image of Lincoln on a map of western states, atop the state of Minnesota. Lincoln’s stance, with his arms outstretched, ironically mimics Christ on the cross or the Virgin Misericordia , who protects the blessed beneath her cloak. In 1862, Dakotas were starving in Minnesota after white settlers pushed them off their lands and the U.S. government failed to provide the food and money it had promised in earlier treaties. A faction of Dakota men attacked the reservation administration building where unscrupulous government agents had broken the terms of the treaty by refusing to sell them food, and the uprising escalated into all-out warfare. Throughout August and September of that year, Minnesota infantry regiments recruited for the U.S. Army turned their sights on the Dakota forces. After they were defeated at the Battle of Wood Lake in late September, the Dakotas were subjected to military trials that resulted in sentencing more than 300 men to death. Abraham Lincoln commuted the sentences of most but signed an order to execute 38 Dakota men, which was the largest mass execution in U.S. history. [9]

Blackbird wrestles with this legacy by showing 38 hanged Dakota men dangling from Lincoln’s arms: Lincoln’s quasi-religious status has condemned, rather than saved these men. Blackbird positions Lincoln among other symbols of white incursion into Indigenous land, with surveyors and a covered wagon suggesting the influx of white settlers after Lincoln signed the Homestead Act in 1862. At the bottom right, a figure of Columbia drawn from John Gast’s painting American Progress symbolizes Manifest Destiny, the imperialist idea that white Americans were destined to occupy North America from Atlantic to Pacific, which spurred westward expansion and Indigenous genocide.

The Civil War was caused, in part, by westward expansion—or, more precisely, by the conflict over the future of slavery in the West . But neither white northerners or southerners envisioned a place for Indigenous people in the lands they intended to possess. For decades, U.S. history books taught the Civil War and westward expansion after the war as separate units, subtly signaling that the two topics are unrelated. But in the last decade, scholars have emphasized the connections between the war (that was largely fought in the South) and the conflict between Indigenous people and white settlers in the West. [10]

Mathew Brady, Delegation of Plains peoples to the White House, 1863, photograph (White House)

Mathew Brady, Delegation of Plains peoples to the White House, 1863, photograph ( White House )

Lincoln’s policy proposals were based around reserving the West for individual white farmers to counteract the influence of slaveholders. In office, he signed The Homestead Act and the Pacific Railway Act , both signature policies of Lincoln’s administration. These acts gave Indigenous lands to white settlers and railroad companies and pushed Plains peoples onto reservations . Although Lincoln invited a delegation of Plains peoples to the White House in 1863—whom he urged not to ally with Confederates, and who in turn urged him to honor land treaties —he continued ongoing U.S. government efforts to force Indigenous people onto reservations. There was no equivalent to the Emancipation Proclamation for Indigenous peoples.

Lincoln’s legacy

Although there is much to celebrate in Lincoln’s legacy, there’s also much to critique. Looking beyond an idealized image of Lincoln helps us to see the past more clearly and to confront the legacy of the Civil War in all its complexity: a war of freedom, but one with catastrophic effects on Indigenous people. How the actions of U.S. forces have been remembered must also be viewed anew: just as white southerners championed a highly subjective and damaging narrative of the war’s causes and consequences, white northerners’ story of victory and emancipation has left out the contributions of Black Americans and erased Indigenous suffering at the hands of the army. 

[1] “ The Idiotic Removal of a Lincoln Statue ,” Denver Gazette, January 4, 2021 . Note that although formerly enslaved people contributed to financing the Ball Lincoln statue, there were many entities involved in raising money for its construction, and Black donors or representatives had no say in the statue’s design. See Kirk Savage,  Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves: Race, War, and Monument in Nineteenth-Century America  (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997), pp. 90–94.

[2] Christina Zdanowicz and Sahar Akbarzai, “ Boston removes statue of former slave kneeling before President Lincoln after 141 years, ”, December 29, 2020.

[3] For more on how white northerners crafted Civil War memory, see David Blythe, Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002).

[4] Lincoln supposedly made this joke during the Lincoln-Douglas debates in 1858. 

[5] See Kirsten Pai Buick, Child of the Fire: Mary Edmonia Lewis and the Problem of Art History’s Black and Indian Subject (Durham: Duke University Press, 2010), p. 54.

[6] Savage, Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves , pp. 89–98.

[7] Freeman H. M. Murray, Emancipation and the Freed in American Sculpture (Washington, D.C.: Murray Brothers Printing Company, 1916), pp. 198–99.

[8] Oration delivered by Frederick Douglass  at the Unveiling of the Freedmen’s Monument in Memory of Abraham Lincoln, 1876. 

[9] For more information on the Dakota War, see “ The U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 ” at the Minnesota Historical Society.

[10] For a review essay on recent scholarship on the West in the Civil War, see Stacey L. Smith, “Beyond North and South: Putting the West in the Civil War and Reconstruction,” The Journal of the Civil War Era 6, no. 4. (December 2016): pp. 566–91.

Additional resources

Explore Lincoln images and artifacts in the Library of Congress.

Learn more about Ledger Drawings at the Smithsonian.

Browse the collections of the National Museum of the American Indian.

Merrill D. Peterson, Lincoln in American Memory  (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994).

See more works of art by Edmonia Lewis at Google Arts and Culture.

More on commemorating the U.S. Civil War

learning resources

abraham lincoln and the civil war essay

Explore the diverse history of the United States through its art. Seeing America is funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Alice L. Walton Foundation.

Browse Smarthistory images for teaching & learning! 

Sign up for our newsletter!

Receive occasional emails about new Smarthistory content.

Have you seen our new "textbook"?

Reframing Art History —it's free!

abraham lincoln and the civil war essay

more than 50 chapters

developed by more than 50 experts


  1. By the People Abraham Lincoln papers: Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916: Nashville

    abraham lincoln and the civil war essay

  2. Essay on gettysburg address. Biography of Abraham Lincoln

    abraham lincoln and the civil war essay

  3. Listen Free to Abraham Lincoln and Civil War America: A Biography by William E. Gienapp with a

    abraham lincoln and the civil war essay

  4. Sample essay on abraham lincoln

    abraham lincoln and the civil war essay

  5. The Papers And Writings Of Abraham Lincoln Civil War Classics Volume 1 18321843 Book Pdf

    abraham lincoln and the civil war essay

  6. Civil War and Abraham Lincoln

    abraham lincoln and the civil war essay


  1. My Last Skirt by Lynda Durrant

  2. Abraham Lincoln

  3. Mark Twain Speaks from the Grave! #twainquotes

  4. Elmina Slave Castle, Ghana

  5. Russia & The American Civil War

  6. Quotes by Presidents: #7 (President Donald Trump, America)


  1. Abraham Lincoln and Emancipation

    Almost from the beginning of his administration, abolitionists and radical Republicans pressured Abraham Lincoln to issue an Emancipation Proclamation. Although Lincoln personally abhorred slavery, he felt confined by his constitutional authority as president to challenge slavery only in the context of necessary war measures.

  2. Articles and Essays

    This essay describes the development of those documents through various drafts by Lincoln and others and shows both the evolution of Abraham Lincoln's thinking and his efforts to operate within the constitutional boundaries of the presidency.

  3. Abraham Lincoln And The Civil War Essay

    Essay on Lincoln and the Outbreak of Civil War The Civil War was the worst crisis in American history, pitting two sides of a split nation against one another in bloody battles that persisted for four exhausting years. It was a war that neither side claimed to want, and that neither side claimed to start.

  4. Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War

    The Civil War, which lasted four years, claimed the lives of more than 600 thousand of the Americans. Abraham Lincoln has placed himself on record as a person who has prevented the collapse of the USA and who has liberated slaves. He is rightly considered as a successor of the Founding Father of the USA and the adherent of the American democracy.

  5. Abraham Lincoln

    Abraham Lincoln, byname Honest Abe, the Rail-Splitter, or the Great Emancipator, (born February 12, 1809, near Hodgenville, Kentucky, U.S.—died April 15, 1865, Washington, D.C.), 16th president of the United States (1861-65), who preserved the Union during the American Civil War and brought about the emancipation of enslaved people in the United …

  6. Essay On Abraham Lincoln's Role In The Civil War

    Essay On Abraham Lincoln's Role In The Civil War 659 Words3 Pages The American Civil War was intended to preserve the Union but ended in a war for emancipation for slaves. This process was a gradual one used for military tactics and ultimately to ensure a vision of free man was accomplished.

  7. Role of Abraham Lincoln in Civil War

    Abraham Lincoln's accomplishments are that he played an important role in American history during the Civil War. Because his heroic efforts helped preserve the union, and he played the key role in the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, which ended slavery in America.

  8. Abraham Lincoln and Civil War America

    Abraham Lincoln played an important role in bringing to an end the civil war and initiating the stoppage of slavery in the United States. After its inauguration in 1861, Lincoln was determined to unite the northern and the southern states, which were at loggerheads over slavery and the slave trade.

  9. Abraham Lincoln

    Abraham Lincoln is the greatest president ever because he did great things such as ending slavery, getting the us through the Civil War, and helped our country a lot. The American Civil War was a war between the Southern states and the Confederate states. Abraham Lincoln was not very prepared for the war militarily 5 Pages Decent Essays

  10. Abraham Lincoln Essay for Students in English

    Abraham Lincoln almost gave his life to save America from being dismembered in the civil war and for the unity of the country. About Abraham Lincoln Abraham Lincoln was born on 12 February 1809 in a wooden house in Sinking Spring Farm near Hodgenville, Kentucky. His father's name was Thomas Lincoln and his mother's name was Nancy Lincoln.

  11. Abraham Lincoln Essay

    His name was Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of The United States. He served from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He changed the Republican Party, led The United States through the American Civil War, and strengthened the federal government. Just some examples of the great honest Abe changing The United States for the better.

  12. How Did Abraham Lincoln's Election Lead To The Civil War?

    The election of Abraham Lincoln is considered to be one of the most crucial elections in the entire history of the United States. The Civil War was undoubtedly one of the most violent happenings in the history of North America, and most people believe that it happened due to slavery.

  13. Executive Powers Of Abraham Lincoln During The Civil War

    There are two major instances during the Civil War that demonstrate Lincoln's liberal use of the powers vested in him by the Constitution. Lincoln selectively suspended the writ of habeas corpus in Maryland in 1861 (Corbett et al., 434). Habeus corpus, a common law adopted by the founding fathers when writing the Constitution, ensures due ...

  14. Abraham Lincoln, Slavery and the American Civil War Essay

    In the course of the civil war, Lincoln utilized his powers as the president to issue and address the emancipation proclamation in January 1863. Previously, had provided a warning he would act in that manner in any case the confederate did not comply with his orders.

  15. Abraham Lincoln, Slavery, and the Civil War

    The bill was simply required to eradicate slavery by a majority vote of fifty-percent during the 1860 presidential voters compared to Lincoln's proposal of ten-percent in his reconstruction plan. Instead of vetoing the bill Lincoln declined to sign it. In addition, at the time the Republicans in Congress thought very little about Lincoln ...

  16. Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass: Inside Their ...

    Jan 27, 2022. Getty Images. In the middle of the 19th century, as the United States was ensnared in a bloody Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln and abolitionist Frederick Douglass stood as the ...

  17. Abraham Lincoln: Civil War

    SPEAKER | Abraham Lincoln was the sixteenth president of the United States of America and he help office during the Civil War. During the Civil War, the North and South split into two sides - the Union in the north led by president Lincoln and the Confederacy in the south led by president Davis.

  18. Abraham Lincoln

    When Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860, seven slave states left the Union to form the Confederate States of America, and four more joined when hostilities began between the North and South. A bloody civil war then engulfed the nation as Lincoln vowed to preserve the Union, enforce the laws of the United States, and end the secession ...

  19. This Is the Story of How Lincoln Broke the U.S. Constitution

    Guest Essay. This Is the Story of How Lincoln Broke the U.S. Constitution ... is the author of a new book on Abraham Lincoln. ... In April 1861, when the Civil War began, Lincoln was thoroughly ...

  20. Abraham Lincoln, Slavery and the Civil War

    War mostly happens as a result of human ambition or the breakdown of peaceful means to conflict solution. When this happened America's north fought against the south, at the time when Lincoln was President. This paper seeks to highlight the roles of slavery and President Lincoln in the civil war.

  21. Abraham Lincoln and northern memory

    S.J. Ferris, Washington & Lincoln (Apotheosis), 1865, albumen print on carte-de-visite ( Library of Congress) This essay will examine visual depictions of Abraham Lincoln, whose image has mirrored the broader project of northern Civil War memory and mythmaking. While he was in office, Lincoln's image was closely tied to public opinion of the ...