.. ng for the preservation of the Union. Now, the Union was fighting to free slaves as well. The Emancipation Proclamation also let black men serve in the army. By the end of the war more than 180,000 blacks would enlist in the Union army and would serve in every theater of war.
During a New Years day reception Lincoln and his cabinet left the party and went into Lincolns office. There, Lincoln read them the final draft of the Emancipation Proclamation. “If my name ever goes into history it will be for this act,” he said. Although many rejoiced over the Emancipation Proclamation, there were some Northern Democrats who didnt care about the abolition of slavery and were angered by the Emancipation Proclamation. Northern Democrats had supported the war to save the Union with slavery intact. They did not want to fight for the freedom of slaves. The proclamation brought out a lot of anti-Lincoln feelings.
Northern Democrats accused Lincoln of being a dictator and a tyrant. However, Lincoln held his ground. When he was asked to change the Emancipation Proclamation Lincoln said, “I am a slow walker, but I never walk backwards.” In order to deal with the anti war northerners Lincoln suspended the right of habeas corpus in some areas of America. Habeas corpus is the right to a fair trial in front of a judge. When an area is put under martial law the people of that area lose their rights to a trial along with some other individual rights.
Lincoln felt it was necessary to declare martial law because southern sympathizers in the North hurt the Union war effort. Suspending the right of habeas corpus was legal because it was a measure of war to get rid of the “enemy in the rear.” By 1863, the Union was hard pressed for soldiers. In fact, they needed soldiers so much that on March 3, 1863 Congress passed the first Conscription Act. The Conscription Act allowed Lincoln to draft men between the ages of 20 and 45. Only was a man allowed to get out of the draft if he could hire another man for $300 to take his place in the army.
Between martial law and the new draft law there were a lot of anti-war feelings throughout the country. In 1863, Northern Democrats organized a peace movement to end the whole war. These Peace Democrats protested against Lincoln, the draft, the Emancipation Proclamation, Martial Law, and blacks in military. Lincoln reminded his people that there were thousands of black soldiers fighting and dying for the Union cause: “You say you will not fight to free Negroes. Some of them seem willing to fight for you…
Why should they do anything for us if we will do nothing for them? If they stake their lives for us, they must be prompted by the strongest motiveeven the promise of freedom. And the promise being made, must be kept.” Lincolns fellow Republicans fought against the anti-war Democrats as well. The pro-war Republicans called the Peace Democrats “Copperheads.” The Republicans said Peace Democrats were hurting the war effort and helping the rebels. Lincoln fought against the Copperheads with martial law. He told army officers to arrest anyone who obstructed the draft or helped the rebels in any way.
Draft riots broke out across the country. In New York City on July 13, 1863 mobs went through the city attacking houses, shops, and people for days. In total, 128 people were killed; most of which were black. Lincoln was still having trouble finding good commanders. At Antietam McClellan defeated Lee but failed to pursue him when he retreated.
“McClellan has got the slows,” said Lincoln. In November 1862, Lincoln fired the cautious McClellan. Then, Lincoln tried Generals Burnside and Hooker, both of which failed. After General Hooker, Lincoln tried General George Meade, who rushed to Pennsylvania to stop Lee at the Battle of Gettysburg on July 1, 1863. There, 170,000 troops clashed.
The Battle of Gettysburg was the bloodiest battle of the war. By, July 4, with 50,000 casualties on both sides Lees troops began to retreat. When Lincoln learned of this he told Meade to go after Lee and destroy his army. Meade, however, hesitated– letting Lees men escape. “We had them in our grasp,” said Lincoln.
“We only had to stretch forth our hands and they were ours.” Four months after the Battle of Gettysburg a ceremony was held to “dedicate a portion of it [the Gettysburg battle field] as the final resting place of those who here gave their lives.” (Gettysburg Address) Edward Everett was the main speaker and spoke for about two hours. After Everett was through, Lincoln said the few words that America now knows so well, the Gettysburg Address. At the time Lincoln and most of the people who heard him speak at Gettysburg were disappointed. Little did they know how famous those words would become. On the western front things were looking bright.
Ulysses S. Grant had been winning decisive victories. The day after the battle of Gettysburg, Grant had taken control of the last important Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi, Vicksburg. Early in 1864, Lincoln appointed Grant as the commander in chief of all Union armies. Together, Lincoln and Grant came up with a master plan to finally beat the Rebels. They planned to launch coordinate offensives against the Confederacy from all directions.
In the East, Grant would attack Lee in Virginia, driving towards the rebel capital, Richmond. In the west General Sherman would go from Tennessee into Georgia, capturing Atlanta which was, at the time, a crucial railway center for the rebels. From there, Sherman would go towards Virginia, squeezing the Confederacy and eventually taking over their capital. Lincoln was hopeful. “Grant is the first general I have had. You know how it has been with all the rest.
They wanted me to be the general. I am glad to find a man who can go ahead without me.” In May 1864 the offensive began. Grant marched down to Virginia but was met my Lees newly rebuilt army in a densely wooded area call the Wilderness. Grant fought three major battles near Richmond but still could not take the city. During Grants Wilderness campaign roughly 54,000 Union soldiers were killed or wounded. Things were better for Sherman. After a long siege at Atlanta the city fell and was evacuated.
Shermans men then went into the city and destroyed everything that could be used by the South for war. Sherman then marched through Georgia ruining everything in his path: crops, houses, livestock etc. Meanwhile, Grant was slowly taking hold of Richmond. By November the end of the war was in sight for the Union. In the election of 1864 recent Union victories gave Lincoln much support and sure enough, Lincoln was reelected on November 8, 1865. He had won by almost half a million votes out of some four million cast.
Lincoln felt he should now, after winning the election, push for a Constitutional Amendment permanently outlawing slavery everywhere in the United States. Lincoln pressured anti-abolition Congressmen who apposed the amendment in the winter of 64. Finally, on January 31, 1865 Congress passed the 13th Amendment to the Constitution outlawing slavery “within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” On March 4, 1865 Lincoln was sworn into office. In his address he denigrated slavery, calling it a hateful and evil practice. He said that now that slavery had been abolished it was time for healing. However, Lincoln said he did not feel “malice” towards Southerners.
Even as Lincoln spoke, the Union victory machine was in action. Sherman marched up the coast capturing the city of Savannah. Then, he moved up towards Virginia and on his way captured Charleston, South Carolina. Then on April 2, after a long siege, the Confederate capital, Richmond, was evacuated and the Confederate government was moved to their new capital in Danville, Virginia. The next day Union troops moved in to officially take control of the city.
Then, on April 9, 1865 Lee and Grant met with their armies at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia. There, Grant accepted Lees surrender. Lees men then lay down their weapons, thus, ending the long Civil War. The Civil War had lasted almost four years. More than 600,000 United States men had died. Thats more than the total number of lives lost from every war the U.S has fought in combined.
Neither side had expected the war to last as long as it did or for the war to put an end to slavery. After the Civil War, many friends of President Lincoln were worried about the safety of his life. He had been receiving threats of assassination in the mail and everyone knew how much hate there was towards Lincoln, especially from the ex-Confederates. So, bodyguards, cavalry escorts, and even troops camping out on the White House lawn protected Lincoln as best they could. However, all the precautions failed. On, the night of April 14, 1865 Lincoln and his wife attended the theater.
Then, in the third act John Wilkes Booth came into the Presidents box and shot Lincoln in the head. Doctors rushed to try and save the wounded President. However, on the morning of April 15, 1865 Abraham Lincoln died in his bed at the age of 56. Lincolns funeral was held in the East Room of the White House on April 19, 1865. After his funeral a long procession carried the President to the Capital Building.
On the 21st a funeral train brought Lincoln to his final resting-place in Springfield, Illinois. A GREAT COMMANDER WHO HANDLED SLAVERY WELL In the Civil War, Lincoln was a great commander. For most of the war he had trouble finding a good commander to run a campaign in the East. So, Lincoln was forced to almost single handedly head the Union campaign in the East. Early in the war, Lincoln could rely on the good strategic advice of his general in chief, Winfield Scott.
Scott had proposed the “Anaconda Plan.” In his plan, Scott wanted to blockade the Southern coast and take control of the Mississippi squeezing the Confederacy and isolating them completely. Lincoln agreed with his plan but wanted to go further. He wanted the Union to take more of an offensive. So, he tightened the blockade and called for more troops. In this sense Lincoln was ruthless.
Later, towards the end of the war, Lincoln, with the help of General Grant devised the plan that crushed the rebellion. Today, when we think of Lincoln, the fact that he was a good commander doesnt stand out in our minds. However, after carefully looking over his bold, decisive actions in the Civil War I realized that he was indeed a great commander. Lincoln handled slavery very well. Even though he was morally against slavery he was careful in dealing with it. His handling of slavery suits Roosevelts saying, “Walk softly and carry a big stick.” In the election of 1860 Lincoln knew he had to have minimal enemies.
So, as to not anger any pro-slavery voters Lincoln said he would not tamper with slavery in states in which it already existed. When Lincoln was inaugurated he said the same thing. He did this to try and keep America out of a Civil War. However, many slave states felt they needed to expand slavery. In order to do so they needed to get out of Lincolns domain.
Once slave states started seceding Lincoln knew he had to crush the rebellion, but keep the border slave states loyal. So, Lincoln, once again, promised he would not take away their slavery. By doing this he kept a lot of Union support. Lincolns Emancipation Proclamation raised a lot of anti-war feelings. Before announcing his plan he consulted politicians from the loyal slave states to make sure they approved.
In his original plan Lincoln was going to start emancipation in loyal states. However, after listening to the views of a Kentucky Congressman Lincoln found that the border slave states would be infuriated if they became free states. At that point, when Lincoln was writing the Emancipation Proclamation, the Union was being beaten right and left and could not afford to lose the loyalty of the border states. Throughout the war Lincoln had the support of Republicans. However, after the Emancipation Proclamation was released many neutral and pro-war people became critical of Lincoln and the war. To control these Copperheads Lincoln declared martial law in certain parts of the country. In this sense he carried “a big stick.” After Lincoln won the election of 1864 he decided it was time to push forward with emancipation.
If his actions had been too strong before the election he would have lost a lot of votes. So, that winter Lincoln started strongly pressing for the 13th Amendment, outlawing slavery permanently. Lincolns timing for the amendment was impeccable. Also, to ensure two-thirds vote in the house, Lincoln asked an Ohio congressman to get three doubtful Democratic votes for the 13th Amendment by bribing the doubtful voters with certain positions in office and other areas that Lincoln had influence over. The greatest thing Lincoln ever did was handle slavery so well. He appeased the border states by not taking away slavery in their states and in that sense he walked”softly.” He had to deal with the Copperheads with an iron fist and in that sense Lincoln carried “a big stick.” In general Lincoln is an American hero but he is most famed and rightfully famed for the freeing of slaves.
IN CONCLUSION Lincoln was one of the best Presidents, if not the best, in American history. In his era, Lincoln was viewed by some as dictator and a tyrant. However, over time the American people have come to recognize and appreciate what Lincoln has done more and more to the extent of the Lincoln Memorial and his face on Mount Rushmore. He governed the country at possibly the most critical time in the United States history, a time when the very existence of America was at stake. We were lucky to have Lincoln in office during that time. He has affected the world today more than any other man in that century. He handled slavery extremely well and was a great commander. His speaking ability engrossed audiences throughout his career.
He died because of what he believed in and he will never be forgotten. I personally, believe that Abraham Lincoln was the finest President this country has ever had.