In the critical period between his election as President and the attack on Fort Sumter, while lesser men desperately sought a compromise, Lincoln had the strength to say No. He refused to abandon the Republican platform or to retreat from his own stubborn opposition to the extension of slavery. While even antislavery "Radicals" like Seward talked of a plan that would allow slavery to spread to the unsettled areas of the Southwest, Lincoln had the moral vision to see that the time for compromise had passed.
As a war leader, Lincoln exercised the most effective and inspiring presidential leadership in our history. His strength, vision and consummate political skill steered a bitterly divided country successfully through the bloodiest war in its history. He dramatically expanded the powers of the Presidency to meet the needs of the moment. He showed a better grasp of overall strategy than any of his generals, and he had the courage to replace one general after another until he found the men he wanted. In dealing with Northern public opinion and the threat of European intervention on behalf of the Confederacy, Lincoln's moves were strong, decisive, and unerring.
In steering a middle course between antislavery Radicals and Northern Conservatives on his handling of Southern slavery, Lincoln held the country together and managed to preserve the Union. He wisely ignored Radical demands for immediate emancipation, and thereby kept the key border States in the Union; if those States had joined the Confederacy, the South might very well have won the war. Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, was a perfectly timed, brilliantly conceived political masterstroke that helped to rally the Northern people and to prevent European recognition of the Confederacy. Though the celebrated Proclamation actually freed few slaves, Lincoln deserves his title of "Great Emancipator" for his support for the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery forever throughout the U.S.; he had already successfully steered the amendment through Congress by the time he died. Though preserving the Union always remained his primary goal, Lincoln never lost sight of his secondary desire to end a slave system which he had always opposed as a grave moral wrong.
_No President, either before or after, has shown a disregard for civil liberties as Abraham Lincoln. He suspended the writ of habeas corpus and ordered the arbitrary arrest of more than 15,000 Northern civilians, often with little or no cause. In ordering the arrest of Congressman Clement Vallandigham, an antiwar Democrat, Lincoln perpetrated one of the most infamous acts of political repression in American history. Lincoln himself admitted that he would "follow forms of law as far as convenient."
No President, either before or after, has shown so callous a disregard for civil liberties as Abraham Lincoln. He suspended the writ of habeas corpus and ordered the arbitrary arrest of more than 15,000 Northern civilians, often with little or no cause. In ordering the arrest of Congressman Clement Vallandigham, an antiwar Democrat, Lincoln perpetrated one of the most infamous acts of political repression in American history. Lincoln himself admitted that he would "follow forms of law as far as convenient."
Lincoln's 1st actions relating to slavery were his moves to countermand the orders of 2 abolitionist generals who had freed slaves in some Union-occupied territory; Lincoln considered public opinion in the wavering border States to be more important than the continued enslavement of several hundred thousand human beings! Never a believer in true racial equality, Lincoln moved to free the slaves only after the overwhelming majority of his party had demanded it. Unlike the so-called "Radical" Republicans, Lincoln never considered the possibility that the free Negroes might some day function as full-fledged American citizens; Lincoln favored colonization in Central America as the "final solution" to the Negro problem.