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Abraham LincolnCommander In Chief: The Hero of the Common PeopleIt had been a long time coming. Hopelessly divided by the issue of slavery, thirty-onemillion American citizens were in 1860Called upon to elect the 16th President of the United States. The Democratic Party met At its National Party Convention in Charleston, South Carolina, in order to choose their nomineefor the presidency. Split over slavery, each faction, Northern Democrats on the one hand and Southern Democrats on the other, presented its own opposite proposal for the party platform. InFebruary 1860, Senator Jefferson Davis of Mississippi claimed that neither the Congress of the United States nor the territorial parliaments had the power to touch slavery. Southern Democratsand few Northern pro-slavery Democrats support the Davis resolution: "the Government of a Territory (...) is provisional and temporary, and during its existence all citizens of the UnitedStates have an equal right to settle with their property in the Territory, without their rights, either of person or property, being destroyed or impaired by Congressional orTerritorial legislation."The Southerners' desire was to pass a slave code, that is, a federal law protecting slavery in the territories. The anti-slavery North, in contrast, was determined to reject any announcement of aSlave code and instead insisted on a platform based on Stephen Douglas's doctrine of popular sovereignty. The territories themselves would be able to decided themselves whether or not topermit slavery within their borders. Who was to know what the out come would be? He was fit for the job. He was well qualified, smart, and held a great passion for His country. A passion for the newborn west, for the North that loved him and the south that hated him. Abraham Lincoln had been elected as President. His life and tragic end would surely change the course of history. There were many events that led to his legacy, though. One is his argument for slavery and the Emancipation Proclamation. The Houses of Representatives, on January 31, 1865, passed the 13th Amendment with a vote of 119 to 56 — just two votes more than the required two-thirds majority. The American Constitution, though never mentioning slavery by
names, refers to slaves only as "person [s] held to service or labor"; the new amendment, in direct contrast, directly named the institution by name:"Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereofThe party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subjectSection 2. Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation." The adoption of the amendment also settled all questions in regard to the legality of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. Before the amendment however could actually become effective, twenty-seven out of thirty-six states needed to ratify it.