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Abraham Lincoln's Opinion and Action on Slavery

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Abraham Lincoln abhorred slavery and it was one of his greatest wishes was for it to be abolished from the United States, however, during the Civil War, he had an over-riding concern--to keep the Union together and bring the Southern States back. He also didn't believe that congress and the federal government had the power to stop slavery completely. He was realistic and didn't think that slavery was going to come to an end quickly.

Lincoln once said to a Cincinnati audience about slavery in 1859, "I now assure you, that I neither ... had, nor have, nor ever had, any purpose in any way of interfering with the institution...." and also said to Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, "My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery." This proves how Lincoln didn't let his personal feelings interfere with his personal actions and that slavery, to President Lincoln, wasn't the primary reason for the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln was often called a "reluctant emancipator".

When the Civil War began, eleven states seceded from the Union and formed the Confederate States of America. All of these states permitted slavery. The Union states for the most part did not practice slavery, however the border states which were in the Union did. These states were Delaware, Maryland, Missouri, and Kentucky. They were pro-slavery, but felt like that differences between the North and South could be solved by means other than secession and did not take part in it because they did not agree with it. Lincoln knew that in order to win the war, these border states were necessary, so in the beginning of the war, he did not as strongly voice his opinion about the abolition of slavery.

The Emancipation Proclamation was an executive order issued by Abraham Lincoln on January 1st, 1863 during the Civil War. He used his war powers to proclaim freedom of 3.1 of the nation's 4 million slaves. It did not compensate the owners of the slaves and it did not make the freed-slaves citizens. The Emancipation Proclamation was directed at the insubordinate southern states which had seceded from the Union. Article 2 of the Constitution gave Abraham Lincoln the assurance of constitutionality and authority as commander in chief to free slaves in states under rebellion. He did not free the slaves in states which were still loyal to the Union, which is why the Border States were not addressed under the Emancipation. He did not have the authority to do that, so after the war the thirteenth amendment completely abolished slavery nationwide. The Emancipation Proclamation made abolition a more apparent and central goal of the war, other than reunion. This outraged many people all over the United States.

Although Abraham Lincoln's main goal of the Civil War was to reunite the Union, slavery also was a huge factor. Lincoln was a supporter of abolition,



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