Gienapp, William E., Abraham Lincoln and Civil War America; Oxford University Press.
New York, 2002.
This book is a glimpse into Abraham Lincoln’s political career and personal life. His personal life was much hidden from the outside world, and his feelings and personal affairs were kept out of public scrutiny. He was neither a great husband nor a father, but was considered to be one of the greatest presidents this nation has ever seen. Lincoln was a very conservative man, and managed to provide leadership in both the political and military strategies. He is considered the man who shaped change in our nation, which led to many controversial issues being solved. It took ...view middle of the document...
While politics were always his first love, he did not re-enter the political fray until the Kansas-Nebraska act of 1854 (which would allow the residents to decide the status of slavery). And as far as his legendary beard is concerned, it wasn’t something he always fashioned. In the presidential election of 1860, an 11 year old girl recommended that he grow a beard due to the fact that all ladies liked whiskers and would get their husbands to vote for him. So he did, and it worked.
In December 1860, South Carolina seceded from the union due to the divisive issue of slavery. Even though in early March he had assured all southern states he did not intend to interfere with the slavery issue, they still pursued secession. With South Carolina by their side, the southern states established the Confederate States of America in February 1861. They elected Jefferson Davis as their president. After South Carolinas attack on Fort Sumter, Lincoln tried to send a relief force. Though his effort failed, it did cause Jefferson Davis to demand the surrender of the fort. When Anderson, the commander, refused to on April 12th, the battle started. This was the beginning of the United States Civil war, the deadliest battle in the history of our country. Lincoln had no clear cut constitutional authority to wage war. However, backed by his cabinet, he increased the armies and the navies, constructed new ships and spent money without congressional authority. He had timed this war to start while congress was out of session. His main effort was to save the union. He saw this war as an effort to save the democracy not just in this country but for future generations around the world. Realizing the importance of the border states, his efforts in dealing with them demonstrated an impeccable political skill.
Holding his initial position, Lincoln repeated his inaugural pledge that he did not intend to interfere with slavery. When Fremont issued a proclamation on August 30th emancipating the slaves, Lincoln revoked the proclamation. He did so to avoid problems with Missouri- a border state he needed to win. McCellan was given the job of training the Army of the Potomac. He was soon found to be ill-equipped. He began to reflect a contemptuous attitude toward Lincoln and became hard to manage. Initially the Union planned to conduct limited war that would not fundamentally reshape southern society. Lincoln did not want to fight great battles but to maneuver and occupy southern territory there by ending the conflict.
During the early war years David Hunter, the Union general in charge of Georgia, South Carolina and Florida, issued another proclamation freeing the slaves in his area. Once again Lincoln swiftly squashed the order stating, “While it may become...