President Abraham Lincoln was very impactful man who had a legacy throughout our nation, and the Civil War, during his election, speeches, writings, tactics, and even his death.
Right after Abraham Lincoln was elected into office, the southern states seceded. His election did have an effect on this event. The southerners believed that a Republican as their president would not have their best interests at heart. Lincoln clearly stated in his First Inaugural Address, The government will not assail you we are not enemies, but friends (President Lincolns First Inaugural Address, 1861, The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History). However, the South still ended up seceding, which was indirectly Lincolns fault.
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Two years into the war, Lincoln decided he wanted to issue an Emancipation Proclamation to free the slaves in the area of rebellion in the country. At first, Lincolns Cabinet did not support the Proclamation. However, he was so persistent about the necessity of it, his advisors eventually changed their minds. First, he issued a preliminary proclamation. It stated that if the rebellion did not cease by the new year, the real Proclamation would go into effect. Finally, five days after the Battle of Antietam, a Union victory, the Emancipation Proclamation was put into effect. TheAn Impac Proclamation itself had many effects on the Civil War. Firstly, the nature of the war had changed from just preserving the Union to ending slavery once and for all. Secondly, African Americans were now allowed to fight for the Union. By the end of the war, over 200,000 African Americans had served in either the Union army or navy. Lastly, it helped take advantage of the Souths economy. Part of the Souths economy was based on slavery, but now the slaves were technically free, hurting the economy.
Lincolns leadership skills were very obvious, and they can be shown through his writings. About 500,000 of his letters were in the hands of citizens all across the nation. This was no accident, Lincoln wanted to become known as more of a person, not just a political figure. Of these letters, the Bixby Letter was one of the most famous. Lincoln wrote this letter to a woman in Boston who lost five sons while they were fighting for the Union. However, there is some speculation on whether Lincoln wrote this letter, or his secretary did. Assuming Lincoln did in fact write it, it showed just how great of a leader he was. I pray that our Heavenly Father may leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost ( Letter to Mrs. Bixby, Abraham Lincoln Online Speeches and Writings). He took the time to express his condolences to a grieving mother who lost her children to a war which he, in a way, helped to start.
As the war raged, Lincoln had a large impact on the nation and the war itself. During that fearsome time, he not only managed the war, but he also passed the some very important laws for our country. The first was the Revenue Act of 1862, the nations first income tax to help pay off some of the costs of the war. The second was the Morrill Act of 1862, which established the basis of the state university system. Third was the Homestead Act of 1862, which offered 160 free acres of land in the West to encourage the settlement of the area. Lincoln also helped found the Department of Agriculture. The Department of Agriculture was created to help farmers get the most out of what they have, and produce, to help feed people around the country and the world. During the war, Lincoln also managed the Trent Affair of 1861. The Trent Affair was an incident when a Union general captured two Confederate envoys, or messengers, who were on a British ship. Britain took this as the Union violating their neutrality, and Lincoln managed event by sending a message to the British Prime Minister, essentially apologizing for what happened, and the Prime Minister agreed to let the envoys go. Thus the conflict was resolved as a result of Lincolns masterful leadership outside of the war.
Lincoln also played a key role in how the war was fought, as he was the Commander-in-Chief, and even as a learner. First of all, he was the Commander-in-Chief, yet he had very little military experience. The only previous experience he had was being the captain of a militia unit, but the unit never saw any action. Second of all, he took the opportunity to be a learner, or student, of war strategy and war in general. He learned from his mistakes, his enemies strategies, and he read about strategies he could use. At first, he struggled with finding generals who properly suited the criteria for the job which he was asking. For example, General George McClellan was far too cautious. But he soon found one who had the same goals as he did, Ulysses S. Grant, who had the perfect balance of ambitiousness and integrity.
President Lincoln also had a very specific, and successful, offensive strategy to win the war. He tried to invade into Virginia at the First Battle of Bull Run, but the Union was not aggressive enough because of the general in command at the time. He also planned to use the Anaconda Plan, which was to blockade the Souths coastlines to put them under economic pressure. Finally, he wanted to invade the Souths rivers, particularly the Mississippi River, and the Tennessee River. Taking control of these rivers was especially important, because it would cut off some of the transportation of men and resources for the Confederates.
Throughout, and towards the end, of the war, Lincolns leadership affected the Unions victory. He was very firm with his sometimes, not-to-bright generals, such as General Ambrose Burnside, or General Joseph Hooker, or even the generals he trusted such as Ulysses S. Grant. He told them exactly what they needed to get done. The Union won many victories under Lincolns commands.
Though Lincoln made very large impact during his life, he also made an impact through his death. He was officially declared dead on Easter Sunday, 1865. Easter of that year should have been an exceptionally happy one. Not only was it a celebration of Christs Resurrection, it was also a day to celebrate the end of the war. However, the news of Lincolns death sucked all the happiness out of the day, at least for most people. Lincolns supporters described the way they were feeling in two simple words, Very sad: Those two words conveyed the heavy sorrow that had mixed with the initial shock from the first moment Lincolns supporters had counted the news as credible. (Lincolns Assassination Stuns the Nation, National Endowment for the Humanities).
Freed people in the South were especially sorrowful because of they had done for them. However, the North and the South had very different reactions. In the North, almost everyone was grieving, black and white alike. The white people felt they had lost their powerful voice, while the African Americans felt they had lost their liberator. The New York Times described how many northerners were feeling. An article described just how shocking Lincolns death was to the nation, and how sad the event was, for the northerners at least. However, it goes on to explain that even though they were losing a leader, the nation would still be intact. The country was run by the people, and it always would be, no matter the leader. Nevertheless, it is well to remember that the peculiar nature of our institutions makes it impossible that any one man should be absolutely indispensable to their preservation and successful working. Our government is of the people. They not only elect our rulers, but their spirit, their temper, their will pervade and control all the acts and all the measures of the government. (The Effect of President Lincolns Death on National Affairs, The New York Times Archives). In the South, most of the reactions were very different. While there were a few who were sad about the presidents death, most were happy. In fact, some even threw parties, and some were arrested for celebrating the presidents death.
Although President Lincoln had an impact on our nation, he also had an impact on a number of other things. He had major effects on the secession of the South. He had a very large effect on the Civil War itself, and he wrote the Emancipation Proclamation which also had a very large impact on the war. He played a huge role in how the war was fought, strategy wise, and how it progressed. His leadership lead to the victory of the Union, and even his death had an impact on our nation.
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