Abraham Lincoln Vision

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Abraham Lincoln Vision

A President's Vision

Abraham Lincoln

16th President of the United StatesMarch 4, 1861 - April 15,1865

Faced with the greatest crisis in the history of the nation, Abraham Lincoln invoked the New Testament when he declared, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” He committed his presidency to preserving the Union. The winning electoral votes were barely counted, however, before South Carolina seceded, soon followed by all the states of the Deep South. When the Confederates fired on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor in April 1861, Lincoln called on the states for 75,000 volunteers. The Civil War had begun.

President Lincoln was a brilliant writer whose letters and speeches successfully rallied northern legislators and public opinion to the Union cause. But as hopes for rapid victory evaporated, the president maintained his resolve to restore the nation. Through four bloody years, Lincoln exerted his authority as commander-in-chief, appointing generals, drafting soldiers, suppressing draft riots with armed troops, and establishing martial law where it was needed. He demonstrated his skill as a statesman when he issued the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863. The Proclamation granted freedom to all slaves within rebel territory, transforming a war fought to restore the Union into one fought for liberty.

Lincoln was reelected in 1864 as Union military victories heralded the war’s end. His initial outlines for Reconstruction suggested a swift and tolerant policy for readmitting the Confederate states, but he never had a chance to work with Congress to fulfill his plans. Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865, barely a week after the Confederate surrender was signed. His greatest legacy remains the Thirteenth Amendment, ratified in December 1865, which abolished slavery forever.


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