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slavery simply because he believed in giving all men, black and white, the opportunity to better themselves and their situation (McPherson, “Lincoln”). Lincoln had tried to be fair to the South by holding off on freeing the slaves even though he knew slavery was wrong. But when the South did not yield, Lincoln went ahead to free the negroes of America because it became the best course of action to weaken the South, to force the South to relent.However, to succeed against the South Lincoln would need careful battle plans and tactics. He knew that his plan of attack for the “rebels” should not wipe them out. The overall strategy for the Union was not to destroy the Confederates, just to cut off their resources. When
the fighting was getting nowhere, he went all out and started decimating the South. Initially, Lincoln had adopted a plan called the “Limited War” strategy (McPherson, “Abraham”, 75). The basic plan was to wear the South thin, to keep fighting until the South couldn’t fight anymore. By battling the South to exhaustion instead of extinction Lincoln would be able to bring the South back into the Union and re-create the broken republic. Lincoln formed the Emancipation Proclamation to double as a war strategy; freeing the slaves would weaken the enemy but strengthen and “preserve” the Union when the freedmen came to fight against the South (83). Aware of how critical it was to win the war, Lincoln committed himself to research war tactics, to learn as much as he could to win. When General McClellan was doing poorly during the Civil War, Lincoln went to the Library of Congress to look up past records of wars and victories (Marrin 96). He then figured out a general plan of action to take against the Confederates (102). First, he initiated the offensive and replaced McClellan with General Grant, a risk-taker who was much more aggressive and proactive with the offensive. During the following months, Grant’s campaigns worked to cut the roads and ports that tethered the South to life. One such lifeline was the Mississippi River. The Mississippi River split the South in half, and Northern control of the river would divide the South, weakening it greatly. Not only would the Confederate States be separated, they would not have access to the ports that they relied on for supplies, food, and reinforcements. Once the Union had control of the Mississippi shipping, they had a huge advantage over the South. The campaign down the Mississippi was part of the Anaconda Plan, named after the snake that strangles its prey. The North was going to strangle the South until it gave in to “unconditional surrender” (McPherson, “Abraham” 88). A combined army and naval force went down the Mississippi River “for a blockade of southern ports” and to “split the
Confederacy and surround…it with a blue cordon” (75-76). Their victory was a crushing blow to the South.