Thursday, May 18, 2017

Lincoln Ch 3-4 by H. T.

In Abraham Lincoln chapters 3 and 4, author George McGovern details the many controversial choices Lincoln made throughout the Civil War and the changes in his thinking as he gained war and presidential experience. McGovern provided evidence through explaining the events that occurred. For example, President Lincoln revoked Habeas Corpus, and allowed for civilians to be arrested without reason or trial. This was a very controversial decision as many felt as though it went against the Bill of Rights and was not legal. Many men were arrested for reporting their opinions or for reporting false information, a crime you’d otherwise never hear a word from the law for. Another controversial decision he made was the decision to form the Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln initially had no intentions of writing such a document that could free the slaves from bondage. He initially believed that the institution of Slavery, while horrible, should not be removed, just be limited. The idea was flirted with after the North won a battle in the South and the general at the time had attempted to free the slaves there as a victory of the North, but Lincoln forbid, it, saying that was not the goal of the war. Eventually he came to the conclusion that the slaves needed to be freed once he believed that it would help assist the North in winning the war. Once he did this, he declared all the slaves free, an action he wasn’t entirely sure would even hold up in court. Lincoln experienced many different difficulties throughout the war and made many controversial decisions that, at the time, were commonly seen as going too far.
His goal of these writings are to inform the reader of how the Civil War evolved, as did Abraham Lincoln, as the war continued. The voices he used in his attempt to tell this story were those of Lincoln himself, government officials, and citizens of both the North and the South. Most voices heard not named Lincoln were of those whom often doubted, or disagreed with, President Abraham Lincoln. This were to illustrate the fact that it wasn’t as easy as North vs South, and Lincoln faced conflict from both sides of the war. Voices we didn’t hear of were those which were fighting in the war. We rarely heard what was going on the ground in these places, and what the military officials had thought of Lincoln’s decisions.
The handout, which was first inauguration speech that Abraham Lincoln gave, gave me plenty of insight as to how Lincoln evolved from before the war to during and after the war. Before the war, it was apparent that he had no intention of abolishing slavery, and his only goal was to prevent the secession of more states into the confederacy. His goal was to compromise with those of the South to create peace, while acknowledging the anger that the South felt over his election. Once Lincoln was faced with the actual war, Lincoln changed his mind on plenty of topics and most of what Lincoln said during his inauguration speech was no longer relevant as his only goal became to rejoin the union together again, and he was willing to take any action in order to do so.
Some questions that we posed about Abraham Lincoln resembled that of “how did Lincoln expand his powers as president during his time in office?” A conclusion we gathered from our discussion and the reading was that Lincoln used the fact that he was in war to justify the extreme action he were taking within his own government in an attempt to win the war. This allowed him to commit what some considered crimes such as revoking Habeas Corpus, declaring all slaves free with one signing of the pen and waging war on what was his own country as he did not believe that secession was legal and the Southern States were still technically part of the United States. He did this all in the name of bringing together the union to be one united nation once again.
Some questions I had were those such as did the South’s elected president break any similar laws during the course of the war, perhaps in an effort to claim victory and properly declare its independence? Another question I had was how would the Founding Fathers of America see Lincoln’s actions? As brave and intelligent? Or cowardly and evil?