Abraham Lincoln's Biggest Objective in the Civil War: Analytical Essay

Essay type:
This essay sample was donated by a student to help the academic community. Papers provided by EduBirdie writers usually outdo students' samples.

Cite this essay cite-image

The Civil War played a major role in the history of the United States. It was fought between 1861 and 1865, with battles mainly being in the southern state. The civil war began due to unresolved economic, geographic, social, and political issues that divided the United States. The most significant of these points was slavery. There were many causes for this war but most historians would say that slavery was one of them. Slavery had existed in the United States since the 1600s. Although slavery was forbidden by the Constitution, it still existed within several states of the U.S. Even though slavery was abolished in 1865, it had it impact on the history of America for years to come. The civil war was fought mainly over the issue of slavery, the right of each state to become independent, and states’ rights.

The war began after Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States in 1860. The presidential election of 1860 would be the deciding point for the Union. Abraham Lincoln represented the new Republican Party and Stephen Douglas, the Northern Democrat, was seen as his biggest rival. The Southern Democrats put John C. Breckenridge on the ballot. John C. Bell represented the Constitutional Union Party, a group of conservative Whigs hoping to avoid secession.

The country's divisions were clear on Election Day. Lincoln won the North, Breckenridge the South, and Bell the border states. Douglas won only Missouri and a portion of New Jersey. It was enough for Lincoln to win the popular vote, as well as 180 electoral votes. After Abraham Lincoln was elected as president, he planned to keep slavery out of the territories. But at the time of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, slavery was legal in all 13 British American colonies and the slave also played a big role in their economies and industry.

Before American Revolution, the institution of slavery also existed in America but just limited to slaves from Africa. Although in 1789 United States Constitution allowed a few of black people and slaves to vote or own their rights. Because more and more people wanted to abolish slavery, many Northern States agree with abolitionist laws and abandon enslavement.

At the same time, sympathy for abolitionists and those who opposed slavery and slavery began to grow. Therefore, many northerners began to think that slavery was not only socially unjust but also morally wrong. Many abolitionists came out with different suggestions and viewpoints. People such as William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass wanted immediate freedom for all enslaved people. Next, also had a group including Theodore Weld and Arthur Tappan advocated for emancipating enslaved people slowly.

A number of events helped fuel the cause for abolition in the 1850s. Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote 'Uncle Tom's Cabin,' a popular novel that opened many eyes to the reality of enslavement. The Dred Scott Case brought the issues of enslaved peoples' rights, freedom, and citizenship to the Supreme Court. In addition, some abolitionists used the wrong ways to oppose slavery. One of the examples is John Brown and his family fought on the anti-slavery side of 'Bleeding Kansas.' They were responsible for the Pottawatomie Massacre, in which they killed five settlers who were pro-slavery. Yet, Brown's best-known fight would be his last when the group attacked Harper's Ferry in 1859, a crime for which he would hang.

At the same time, politics at the time were as turbulent as the anti-slavery movement. All the problems in this country are splitting political parties and reshaping the established two-party system of Whigs and Democrats.

The Democratic Party is divided into North and South factions. At the same time, the conflict around Kansas and the compromise in 1850 transformed the Whig Party into a Republican Party (founded in 1854).

In Northern, this new party was seen as anti-slavery and increasing American economic development. This included supporting the industry and encouraging homesteading, while also increasing educational opportunities. However, in the South, Republicans were seen as little more than divisive. Therefore, on December 24, 1860, South Carolina issued its “Declaration of the Causes of Secession”. This is because they believed that Lincoln was anti-slavery and supported the interests of the Northern. The Southern state also wanted to maintain their authority over the federal government so that they can repeal federal laws they do not

support, especially laws that interfere with the South’s right to retain slaves and take them wherever they want.

The other reason was they wanted to expand of territory. The Southerners hoped to bring their slavery into the Western territories. Meanwhile, the Northern strongly opposed the expansion of slavery westward.

President James Buchanan's administration did little to quell the tension or stop what would become known as 'Secession Winter.' Between Election Day and Lincoln's inauguration in March, seven states seceded from the Union: South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas.

After they left the Union, Lincoln hoped desperately to maintain the Union without war. When he decided to resupply the U.S. army at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbour, Confederate forces fired on the fort. Lincoln then asked for 75,000 volunteers to put down the rebellion. This prompted Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas to join the Confederacy. Civil war had come.

At the same time, seven slave states in the South that had left the Union built up a new nation, the Confederate States of America. Southern also had control of federal installations, including forts in the region, which would give them a foundation for war. The incoming Lincoln administration and most of the Northern people refused to recognize the legitimacy of secession. They feared that it would discredit democracy and create a fatal precedent that would eventually fragment the no-longer United States into several small, squabbling countries.

Save your time!
We can take care of your essay
  • Proper editing and formatting
  • Free revision, title page, and bibliography
  • Flexible prices and money-back guarantee
Place Order

The event that triggered the war came at Fort Sumter in Charleston Bay on April 12, 1861. Claiming this United States fort as their own, the Confederate army on that day opened fire on the federal garrison and forced it to lower the American flag in surrender. Lincoln called out to the militia to suppress this 'insurrection.' Four more slave states seceded and joined the Confederacy.

By the end of 1861, nearly a million-armed men confronted each other along a line stretching 1200 miles from Virginia to Missouri. Several battles had already taken place--near Manassas Junction in Virginia, in the mountains of western Virginia where Union victories paved the way for creation of the new state of West Virginia, at Wilson's Creek in Missouri, at Cape Hatteras in North Carolina, and at Port Royal in South Carolina where the Union navy established a base for a blockade to shut off the Confederacy's access to the outside The immediate cause was Constitutional principle: the U.S. government refused to recognize the southern states' right to secede from the Union. One of the most shocking events occurred when one-quarter of the nation's army surrendered in Texas under the command of General David E. Twigg. Not a single shot was fired in that exchange, but the stage was set for the bloodiest war in American history.

The other reason of civil war happen was economy from the Northern was based more on industry than agriculture. Northern also enjoyed a steady flow of European immigrants. As impoverished refugees from the potato famine of the 1840s and 1850s, many of these new immigrants could be hired as factory workers at low wages, thus reducing the need for enslaved people in the North.

But the southern state, which had longer growing seasons and fertile soils had established an economy based on agriculture fuelled by sprawling plantations owned by White people. Therefore, agriculture was more important than industry, and must depend on enslaved people to perform a huge range of duties and work.

Before cotton industries became popular and profitable in the 1800s, slaves had arrived in America in the early 1600s to work on farms that had grown different plantations such as tobacco and sugar. At the same, sugar and tobacco in America became the most profitable and popular to meet European demands because of weather in Europe was too cold so the plant was unable to grow in Europe. Virginia planters made a fortune growing tobacco, making tobacco the first King. Cotton succeeded Tobacco on the throne much later.

However, in 1860 Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana replaced Georgia and South Carolina as leading growers of cotton (see Primary Source Cotton and Slaves Data [1860]). This is because Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin in 1793, cotton became profitable because this machine was able to reduce the working times to separate seeds from the cotton. Therefore, had increased productivity and quality. At the same time, an increase in the number of plantations will increase the number of laborers needed. The Southern economy became a one-crop economy and they depended on cotton and labor. Therefore, southern people were unable to abolish slavery.

Even though slavery was very popular and supported by society but not every White Southerner family enslaved people. But the population of supported slavery was around 9.6 million in 1850 and about 350,000 people were slaves. This had included many of wealthy families had owned large plantations and needed huge numbers of laborers to work for them. Therefore, as the civil war had started, at least 4 million slaves were forced to work on the Southern plantation.

Next, according to the census of 1860, the total population of the thirty-four states and eight territories was close to 31,500,000. There were no slaves in nineteen states, and only two in Kansas and fifteen in Nebraska. Four million slaves inhabited 15 states and territories. Delaware held 1,798; Maryland held 87,189; and Virginia had the most with 490,865 slaves, owned by 52,128 slaveholders. There were 3,181 slaves in Washington, D.C. Generally, it has not been recognized that in Southern states, along with the 4 million slaves, there were about 400,000 free African Americans. While they did not have equal rights, many were successful business people and some were extensive slaveholders themselves.

By contrast, the economy in the Northern was more focused on industry than agriculture, they were less emphasis on agriculture. Although, agriculture was more diverse and able to increase the economy in the North. Many Northern industries were more preferred purchasing the South’s raw cotton and turning it into finished goods. Differences in economics in the North and South, therefore, created different ideas on political and societal issues.

In the north, the influx of immigrants from many other countries that had abolished slavery for a long time. they build up a society with different cultures and classes of people living and working together. However, the South continued to insist their mindset was based on white supremacy in their life, social or political. For example, South Africa also continued to hold onto a social order based on white supremacy in both private and political life. These differences in both the North and South affected the government to control the economies and culture of the state.

But, freeing enslaved people was not an easy undertaking. Many in the government and politics hemmed and hawed over the process and implementation. In 1861, General Benjamin Franklin Butler, while in Command at Fort Monroe, a Union stronghold at the tip of the Virginia Peninsula, did not want to return three slaves that presented themselves at the fort. Butler, an attorney before the war, decided the three slaves were “contraband of war” and refused to return them to bondage. All over the battlefront, runaway slaves began presenting themselves to Union forces. The Union instituted a policy of hiring, and using them in the war effort. In August, the US Congress passed the Confiscation Act of 1861 making legal the status of runaway slaves. It declared that any property used by the Confederate military, including slaves, could be confiscated by Union forces. To put teeth into the act, Congress passed a law in March 1862 prohibiting the return of slaves. By the war’s end, the Union had set up over 100 contraband camps in the South.

Union officers took the initiative to actually free slaves. General John C. Fremont in August 1861 declared that the slaves owned by Confederates in his conquered territory in Missouri were free. The order was negated by Lincoln, and Fremont was fired. He was replaced by General David Hunter. In May 1862, Hunter, who by now was in charge of a larger southern geographical area, abolished slavery in the area under his command. Lincoln negated that order as well. However, in June 1862 Congress started the process by abolishing slavery in Washington, D.C. September 22, 1862, five days after the Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg), as Union forces drove the Confederates out of Maryland, President Lincoln, using an executive order, issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. It stipulated that if the Southern states did not cease their rebellion by January 1, 1863, then the slaves in those states would be free, as the Proclamation would go into effect. When the Confederacy did not yield, President Lincoln issued the final Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. The Proclamation freed only the slaves in the states in rebellion against the Federal government. It did not free the slaves held in Union states. At the end of the war on December 6, 1865, the US Congress passed the 13th Amendment to the Constitution which abolished slavery in the United States.

In summary, after I understand this history, I found that slavery was the main cause of civil wars because Southerners needed slaves to help them to produce agriculture such as tobacco, sugar, and cotton. While in the northern didn’t need a lot of slavery to work for them because of their economy was based on the industries not like agriculture needed many slaves to work on it. They can hire white laborers to work for them.

Furthermore, seven states from South America decided to leave the union and build up a new nation which able to maintain slavery. They didn’t need to follow the rules that fit the Union.

Make sure you submit a unique essay

Our writers will provide you with an essay sample written from scratch: any topic, any deadline, any instructions.

Cite this paper

Abraham Lincoln’s Biggest Objective in the Civil War: Analytical Essay. (2023, October 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 18, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/abraham-lincolns-biggest-objective-in-the-civil-war-analytical-essay/
“Abraham Lincoln’s Biggest Objective in the Civil War: Analytical Essay.” Edubirdie, 27 Oct. 2023, edubirdie.com/examples/abraham-lincolns-biggest-objective-in-the-civil-war-analytical-essay/
Abraham Lincoln’s Biggest Objective in the Civil War: Analytical Essay. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/abraham-lincolns-biggest-objective-in-the-civil-war-analytical-essay/> [Accessed 18 Apr. 2024].
Abraham Lincoln’s Biggest Objective in the Civil War: Analytical Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Oct 27 [cited 2024 Apr 18]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/abraham-lincolns-biggest-objective-in-the-civil-war-analytical-essay/

Join our 150k of happy users

  • Get original paper written according to your instructions
  • Save time for what matters most
Place an order

Fair Use Policy

EduBirdie considers academic integrity to be the essential part of the learning process and does not support any violation of the academic standards. Should you have any questions regarding our Fair Use Policy or become aware of any violations, please do not hesitate to contact us via support@edubirdie.com.

Check it out!
search Stuck on your essay?

We are here 24/7 to write your paper in as fast as 3 hours.