Abraham Lincoln Psychology
Some people believe that war does not have any moral grounds, but while it is apparent that war always leads to destruction, it is also often necessary to defend the principles from which nations were built. Even when leaders of states decide on engaging in wars, it does not necessarily mean that these people are violent, but that they are just doing what they think is necessary in a given situation. These claims are exemplified through life of Abraham Lincoln and the events that led to the American Civil War.
One of the people who have affected me on how I view the world today is Abraham Lincoln. He became the sixteenth President of the United States at a time when the country was virtually divided on the issue of whether or not slavery is to be allowed to expand. Abolitionists during that time based their principles on the same ground as when the forefathers have declared the country’s independence almost a century before the American Civil War—that all men are created equal.Lincoln was one such abolitionist, and when he won the Presidency in 1861 some southern states which rely on slavery for their economy seceded from the Union.
The secession, however, was not accepted as the very principles of democracy would be violated otherwise. Thus, the American Civil War began. Before the war started, Lincoln and other abolitionists did not really seek to remove the right of slave states to own slaves. Rather, they sought not to extend slavery to new states entering the Union in the hope that eventually slavery would disappear altogether.
The start of the civil war has changed that. The Northern States in winning the war has sought to eradicate slavery. One could only guess what could have happened if the Confederates have won the war. Debates surrounding the issue of slavery were based on the proponents’ interpretation of the concepts in the United States Declaration of Independence, particularly, that all men are created equal. Lincoln was one of the proponents against slavery. His Paoria Speech in 1854 was in response to Stephen Douglas’ proposition on popular sovereignty.
There, Lincoln (1854) stated that the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which allowed the people of a territory to decide whether to enter as a free state or a slave state, “deprives our republican example of its just influence in the world—enables the enemies of free institutions, with plausibility, to taunt us as hypocrites—causes the real friends of freedom to doubt out sincerity, and… forces so many really good men amongst ourselves into an open war with the very fundamental principles of civil liberty—criticizing the Declaration of Independence, and insisting that there is no right principle of action but self-interest.Even when Lincoln has led to preserve the Union, he did not do so without terrible regret. After the War, Lincoln (1865) addressed the Nation in his second inaugural address: “Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish…” He acted to preserve the Union and the opening fire did not come from those who stuck with the Union. Before the war, Lincoln was even criticized for moving too slowly to abolish slavery.Furthermore, after the war, Lincoln sought to reunite the nation through a policy of reconciliation. His assassination in 1865 failed him to see the realization of his dreams, to share the principle that all men are created equal throughout the world.
The American Civil War was considered as the deadliest war in American history, and one of the deadliest through all the history of mankind. But while it has yielded terrible destruction, it has also caused the reconstruction of the nation. Although racism would not be resolved for many more years after the war, slavery was abolished.Opponents of the war criticized Lincoln for not having come up with a compromise.
On the other hand, it could be argued that Lincoln did his best in response to the situation. Who could say what would have happened if the war did not commence? The nation could still be allowing slavery, a concept which violates the very principle that the nation based their independence. After the war, the United States led the abolition of slavery throughout the world. It has also led in the propagation of universal human rights and led in the defense of free citizens of the world.
War is really a terrible thing. The loss of lives and the destruction of property are just some of the effects of war that certainly is not something to be proud of. But with all these undesirable effects come a price that is beyond reproach—the defense of what a country believes to be right. Even as destruction leads to a very rough road, it also breeds creation.
Abraham Lincoln and the American Civil War is a proof that freedom, even that of others, is worth fighting for. Furthermore, it has proven the greatness of the nation even at the expense of countless of lives.