President Abraham Lincoln was a thought desirable who was born on February 12, 1809, in a normal family in Kentucky. His family moved to Indiana seven years later; during that time, he had to farm work to support his family until he was twenty-two years old, so his education was limited. In1832, Lincoln joined the Legislature in Illinois after his family moved to Macon County in Southern Illinois in 1830. He taught himself laws, practiced and successfully passed the examination in 1836. Since then he worked as a lawyer and earned trust from the residents of his small town to the whole country. Lincoln won the election to the Congress in 1846 and started his tough journey to become the Great Emancipator of America. The first thing made Lincoln be a great emancipator is his personal hatred of slavery led to his belief that slavery compromised the Republican purpose of the country. He gave many arguments to prove his point.
In a speech at Peoria, 1954, “This declared in the difference, but as I must think, covert real zeal for the spread of slavery, I can’t but hate criticizing the Declaration of Independence, and insisting that there is no right principle of action but self-interest.”(This Fiery Trial, 29) As this point, he attacked slavery with reason that its existence within the United States could make American democracy became a hypocrite in the eyes of the world. In his fragment on slavery, 1857-1858, he said “If A can prove, however conclusively. And if he can make it his interest, he has the right to enslave you” (This Fiery Trial, 42). During this period, he opposed argued that slavery was demonstrated based on color and intelligence. In letter to Joshua Speed, 1855, Lincoln expressed his hatred of slavery and later on Lincoln“Douglas debates, 1858; he claimed that slavery ran counter to American democratic principles because to some Americans, the Declaration of Independence’s phrase “All men are created equal.” applied only to somebody but to Lincoln, it applied to everyone include African-Americans. And much more the speeches and writing of Lincoln in history expressed his hate and struggle with slavery. Beside Lincoln hatred of slavery, his opposition to the Dred Scott decision (1958) is also evidence that makes his name became unforgettable. Many feelings against slavery of Lincoln were presented in seven Lincoln-Douglas debates.
Through debates with Douglas, Lincoln expressed his disagreement with the Dred Scott decision of the Supreme Court. “As Lincoln showed in these debates, politically, Republicans were now locked in conflict with the Dred Scott decision” (12-9b, Abraham Lincoln and the Slave Power, A People and A Nation) Lincoln actually adhered to the Declaration of Independence that refers to the equality of all people. Therefore, the Dred Scott decision was against the Declaration and Lincoln did not agree with it. As he said in seventh debate with Douglas And when this new principle – this new proposition that no human being ever thought of three years ago, – is brought forward, I combat it as having an evil tendency, if not an evil design; I combat it as having a tendency to dehumanize the negro – to take away from him the right of ever striving to be a man. I combat it as being one of the thousand things constantly done in these days to prepare the public mind to make property, and nothing but the property of the negro in all the States of this Union (This Fiery Trial, 61) Lincoln believed that black people had the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Although Lincoln and the Republicans denied any intent to interfere with slavery in the states where it existed, they stood firm against the extension of slavery into the territories. (13-1 Election of 1860 and Secession Crisis, A People and A Nation) shows that in the debate with Douglas, Lincoln did not try to do anything related to slavery but he believed that the Union could not function as half-slave and half-free.
The U.S. would have to be a slave nation or a free nation; it could not be both. (“They Have Encouraged” Lecture Notes) Therefore, he would try his best to stop slavery extend to the Western Territories. Douglas won the debate, but Lincoln gained much recognition that eventually helped him won the presidential election two years after. In addition, Lincoln began as against slavery and end with finally issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 which liberated all slaves in states that are in civil war and they had the ability to serve in the Army or Navy of the Union. Before the Emancipation Proclamation, the purpose of the Civil War was fighting for the Union. Lincoln said “I would save the Union”, “If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union.” (13-5b Confiscation Acts, A People and A Nation).
With the Emancipation Proclamation, the purpose of the war changed, the war was not only fighting for the Union but also for the freedom of slaves. However, the Emancipation Proclamation was limited in many states at South but not all area; therefore, the Emancipation Proclamation just released about half of Americans slaves on 1865 and later Lincoln strongly supported the 13th Amendment Thirteenth Amendment, the Law of State freed the rest of slaves which removed slavery in America. As this point, Lincoln supported the abolition of slavery to become the constitutional law which made him be the Great Emancipator of America.
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