In Abraham Lincoln Chapter Seven, author Mc Govern talks about Lincoln’s second term to the presidency. His reelection hardily won, Lincoln was hopeful that his second term would be marked by peace, progress and prosperity instead of war and discontent. During his second term Lincoln was exhausted, it was hard for him to rest, he kept staggering his workload. His wife Martha noticed the toll the presidential duties was doing to him not only physically but emotionally. Lincoln was broken hearted about the war and the damages it was doing. The war was breaking families apart, innocent people where dying and the separation of the states was making Lincoln sad. During his second term Lincoln had to clean up his cabinet, there had to be some replacements on his top advisers. However, some of the adviser had already resigned in prior months during his first term in the presidency. After the replacement of the cabinet Lincoln was satisfied with the newly formed group formed by radical Senator William Fessenden of Maine and William Dennison of Ohio. Lincoln particularly enjoyed working with Secretary of State William Seward, they had a respectful relationship. Seward was the one to give thoughtful and reasonable advice to the President. Lincoln found a true friendship with Seward that was true and sincere. Seaward also admired Lincoln. The president was less friendly with his secretary of war Edwin Stanton, but the two managed to build a working relationship and they both put their differences aside. There was many that disagreed with Lincoln in regards the policy matters and Welles was one of them. He was Secretary of the Gideon Navy, instead of telling Lincoln his concerns and disagreements he would write them in his diary that he faithfully kept. Welles was great at his job, while the Navy was under his charge the Navy had grown from 76 vessels to 671, and the number of seamen from 7,600 to 51,000. Lincoln had made significant changes to the Supreme Court and in his cabinet, however one of his previous members of his cabinet died and had to choose another person to replace him and he ended choosing Chase to do the second term along him. Even do Lincoln did not like Chase he admired his abilities. Within months of being in the second term Lincoln’s hopes began to be at least partial realized: In January, Chief Justice Chase approved the admission of John Rock of Massachusetts, making him the first black man to practice before the Supreme Court. By the second term President Lincoln was more confident and was going forth with his plans to reshape society. One of the things he did to assist war was the 10 percent tax on state bank notes; state banks then had to choose to comply or go out of business. He also did the Homestead Act, any adult citizen who headed a household could win title to 160 acres of frontier land simply by living on it for five years. He was determined to end slavery and to unify the Union. Lincoln did everything in his power to accomplish his goal.
It had been four painful, catastrophic years for Americans. More than
ten thousand battles had been fought in sixteen states, three million
men who took arms against each other, more than six hundred thousand had
died; two-thirds of those deaths were by disease. This is the
statistic that the author Mc Govern gives in the book. This war sets a
record for American fatalities because all the people that dies were
Americans from the North and the South. Not only was the war ending
humanity but so where these horrible diseases. Woman also played a big
role during the war as well During this time there was groups of women
help with the cleaning and taking care of the wounded soldiers. Since
there were not many places to take the wounded soldiers Churches became
hospitals, homes became military headquarters. From the Atlantic Ocean
to the Mississippi river, American waterway were streaked with blood.
The war had taken a heavy toll on the president. Four years of war had
hunted and drained him. Not only was the war taking a toll on Lincoln,
but in 1862 the death of his favorite son Willie had devastated him, but
he took to heart the advice of a Presbyterian minister who told him to
turn to God. Lincoln acknowledge, and depended upon, higher power.
Lincoln saw himself as an instrument that God was using to trust with
great responsibility, however he didn’t believe that a miracle would
happen to stop the war. In his second inauguration, Lincoln spoke of
the need for mutual forgiveness and the promise of a reunited America.
Fedrick Douglas was one of the attendees when Lincoln gave his speech
and Fedrick told him that it was a, “scared effort”. Not many shared the
same sentiments as Fedrick.
In 1864, Lee’s army was rendering immobile in Petersburg. Grant knew
that if he attacked Richmond where Lee was he would take Richmond
itself. For months Grant, had launched a series of assaults on the city
but had a weakening resistance in all fronts. Grant believed that Lee’s
line of defense would stretch so thin that it would break. The war was
almost coming to an end. Grant invited Lincoln and Mary to visit the
Union headquarters at City Point, Virginia. Edwin Stanton stayed behind
to in Washington and covered while Lincoln was away. For the first time
in weeks Lincoln could relax and enjoy the trip. While on his trip
Lee’s army had broken way. It appeared that Lee’s plan was to move his
army to North Carolina with Joe Johnston to avoid Sherman and Grant to
join forces. Grant moved quickly.
Lincoln toured the battlefield on a horseback, seeing evidence of the
most recent carnage, Lincoln remarked, “upon the sad and unhappy
condition” of long lines of Confederate prisoner, most of whom appeared
undernourished and resigned for defeat. Lincoln visited hospital and
spent amounts of time with the wounded Union and Confederate soldiers.
Everyone saw a different side of Lincoln, one of the observers said that
he was, “kind and his handshake just as hearty, his interest was real
for the welfare of the men as when he was among our own soldiers”.
Lincoln was very humble and that showed how much he wanted unity for the
North and the South.
Finally, on April 2 the Confederate lines has fallen. Lee had
surrendered. When word of Richmond’s fall reached Washington, thousands
of people ran into the streets, “talking, laughing, hurrahing and
shouting in fullness of their joy.” Celebratory crowds gathered in front
of the War Department and called for Stanton to speak; he was so happy
that his voice trembled and his body shook. Stanton expressed his
gratitude to God and to President Lincoln. As Lincoln walked in
Richmond by himself, crowds of black men, women, and children surrounded
him, shouting, “Bless the Lord, Father Abraham’s come.” Some knelt but
he wouldn’t have none of that. Lincoln was a humble man and he didn’t
expect to get praised for what he’d done. He did what was right for
America. He told the crowds of people that they should thank God for
The last full day of Lincoln life was Good Friday, April 14, 1865. He
was the happiest he’s ever been in a long time. The war had ended and
the future looked cheerful. Lincoln was shoot in the head by Booth.
Lincoln took his last breath the morning of April 15. It was one of the
cruelest paradoxes of American History that Abraham Lincoln, whose heart
was filled with compassion and love for his nation and fellow human
beings, North and South, should have been killed by a man whose soul was
filled with hate in a theater loved by both the killer and his victim.
In we discussed, that it took 400 million dollars to reconstruct the
states that were affected by the war. We also discussed how Lincoln was
trying to reshape society in the South and how he included the black
man to vote. Black men also where able to own property and how it made
white people uncomfortable.
There was still a lot of unanswered question that are left
unanswered. Did the next President continue with Lincoln promises? Why
weren’t the women mentioned during the civil war? Did Lincoln change his
mind about being an Abolitionist?