lincoln paper

lincoln paper - 1 Our Reconstruction History class has...

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Our Reconstruction History class has spent a great deal of time trying to accurately construct a picture of the Antebellum Period, the Civil War, and the following reconstruction and reunion. I say an accurate picture, because many ideas and conceptions about these eras are at the very least blurred. They’re blurred by bias and time. Biases alter facts and create varied interpretations. Time erodes nuance and creates misconceptions between now and then. If you ask most Americans for a short list of the greatest Presidents, the lists usually include Washington, both Roosevelts, and Lincoln. Lincoln makes the list because he won the Civil War and freed the slaves. Some people might give a more nuanced answer, which they retained from a high school history class, and say he preserved the Union. This idea reflects a failure of bias and time. Bias, because there are still Southerners today that interpret his actions differently, and characterize Lincoln not as a savior, but as a war monger with aims to destroy the Constitution. Time has allowed me to boil down various opinions in short sound bites that make sense on the surface, but can lack a firm foundation in truth. I hope to stem the tide of time, and develop a deeper understanding of Lincoln as a wartime President that transcends fortune cookie logic and broad strokes. Lincoln was an exceptional wartime President, based on his ability to make decisions, and steer the country. By utilizing Doris Kearns Goodwin’s, “Team of Rivals,” Mark Neely’s, “The Fate of Liberty,” Gabor Boritt’s, “Lincoln’s Generals,” and William Davis’, “Lincoln’s Men,” I will provide snapshots of time that accurately explain Lincoln the wartime President, with a focus on his personal interactions and leadership. 1
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Lincoln’s interpretation of the Constitution, and the way in which he tested it to the limit without breaking it, illustrates his foresight and good judgment as a war time President. In the wake of shots being fired on Fort Sumter, Lincoln issued a request for 75,000 volunteers to form a National force that could combat the rebelling Southern states. This act was contrary to Constitutional thought at the time, which laid out means for Congress to organize and raise an army. Lincoln realized that the issue could not wait until Congress reconvened, and acted accordingly. i Fearing that the first request lacked the necessary provisions to create a strong national defense, Lincoln expanded his request on May 3 rd with a proclamation calling for three year enlistments ii . In these instances it made sense to ask forgiveness from the Congress, than try to defend the Constitution with an inadequate number of troops. Lincoln again tested the Constitution, when a group of people met in Annapolis
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course HIST 263 taught by Professor Behrend during the Fall '08 term at SUNY Geneseo.

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lincoln paper - 1 Our Reconstruction History class has...

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