Thursday, May 18, 2017

Lincoln Ch 3-4 by E. C.

In Abraham Lincoln Chapter 3, author George McGovern writes about some of the difficulties Lincoln was faced with and how he used his priorities to try and resolve these difficulties. No other American president had ever faced the challenges of disunion, rebellion, and Civil War. Southerners viewed the election of Lincoln as a preemptive act of war and just six weeks after Lincoln's election in 1860, South Carolinas legislature was already drafting articles of union came apart after six cotton states had follow in their footsteps. Even through all of these disputes and the growing number of the Souths military, Lincoln was still not convinced that the crisis was real and decided to stay silent on the matter until he was inaugurated, believing that he had no power to do anything about it until he officially took office. McGovern also writes that Lincoln chose a very unusual tactic while choosing the members of his cabinet, selecting his chief rivals in the Republican nomination and men who were former Whigs and Democrats. On Inauguration Day, May 4, 1861, Lincoln is highly anticipated address was an attempt to assure wary Southerners that their property, their peace, and their personal security would remain intact.  This attempt to prove to be unsuccessful and then more weeks after Lincoln's inauguration, secessionists took control of federal farts, eventually leaving only Fort Pickens in Florida and Fort Sumter in South Carolina under federal control. McGovern also tells us that link and used extra legal actions without congressional approval which were critical to his administration such as the suspension of habeas corpus, the censorship of the press, And ordering a blockade of southern ports. Congress later passed a law that those who were drafted could pay a fee for someone else to take their place in the war. Every action Lincoln truck was ultimately to save the Union.
In Chapter 4, McGovern writes about the changes in Lincoln's views on slavery and emancipation. The Emancipation Proclamation greatly transformed the notion of freedom in America, freeing up to 4 million slaves. At the beginning of his political career, Lincoln had made it clear that he didn't want to abolish slavery where it already existed, only to halt the extension of slavery. The author also informs us that Lincoln wanted to balance his personal views on slavery with his interpretation of the Constitution. His politically diverse cabinet was deeply divided over the issue of slavery, so much so that they had stopped meeting regularly until Lincoln had instructed them to meet every Tuesday and Friday. Lincoln decided to issue the Emancipation Proclamation after coming to the conclusion that he had the authority to free slaves under the circumstances of the rebellion. This proclamation was absolutely essential for the salvation of the Union and the powers of the president overrode the constitutional protection of slavery. By  providing freedom for the slaves, this also gave them the motivation to fight for the Union. In both chapters of Abraham Lincoln, McGovern uses strong evidence by tying in some of Lincolns quotes to support his claims and make them more reliable. Lincoln's views on both slavery and emancipation were both greatly altered during the span of his presidency.
The purpose and point view of the author is to educate his readers about the hardships that Lincoln faced in his presidency and to express his changing views on slavery and emancipation. The author really sheds light on Lincoln's struggles to make both parties content, although ultimately failing to meet both of their demands and having to choose one side over the other. We mainly hear Lincoln's voice in this text, but I would also like to hear a little more of Lincolns cabinets views. How many of them supported The Emancipation Proclamation? How many opposed it? Even though Southerners greatly opposed the proclamation, it proved to be extremely successful in the end.
In class, we talked about Lincolns views against secession after reading from his first inaugural address. We discussed how Lincolns views were greatly influenced from his experiences as a lawyer and referred mostly to the Constitution when making decisions. We also talked about some of the warnings Lincoln gave to the South. The South couldn't demolish the contract without the agreement from the North and they could violate the contract, but not without suffering from the repercussions. Lincoln greatly relyed on the lawyer part of his brain and his knowledge of the Constitution to convince the South that secession would be a mistake. We also discussed the extra-legal steps that Lincoln issued, such as suspending habeas corpus, censoring the press, and issuing a draft law in which people who were drafted could pay a fee for someone else to replace them in fighting in the war. Our discussions in class greatly enhanced our understanding of the topic and made many of us eager to continue reading.
We also asked some historical questions about the reading. One in particular was, "what is the authors argument"? Though he doesn't make his personal views known, he makes it clear that Lincolns efforts in his presidency greatly shaped the country and their treatment towards others. He also makes it known that Lincoln did his best to prevent secession and stay true to the Constitution. We were also asked, "what evidence does the author use to support his claim"? The author uses a lot of evidence by giving specific dates and locations and using many of Lincolns Direct quotes to tie into the reading, expressing Lincoln's views in a more personal and relatable way. These questions really helped us to dig deeper and analyze his personal and political views.
A few questions still remain; what was President James Buchanan's views on slavery? Did he support or oppose Lincoln? Also, were any of Lincoln's cabinet members so frustrated that they deserted Lincoln and dropped out of the cabinet?