Abraham Lincoln and the road to Emancipation

Abraham Lincoln and the road to Emancipation

Abraham Lincoln is considered to be one of the greatest President of America. Various scholars and history writers have explored the Abraham Lincoln role in ending slavery in America. He is considered a hero to the slaves. One of the greatest mindsets in American history was Abraham. For him to reach this greatness, Abraham had qualities that made the American masses side with his views. He is termed as a heroine in the fight for the ending of slavery. Debates could be held in various topics; specifically the slavery issue and Abraham were very careful of his utterances and his answers in a speech. This saved him from misquotation by the slave masters.

“We are told by Lincoln that he is utterly opposed to the Dred Scott decisions and will not submit to it for the reason that he says it deprives the negro of the rights and privileges of citizenship,” blasted Douglas. From this text, it is clear that Abraham Lincoln is put under pressure to talk about that which will make the crowd be against him. It can be asked that why was Abraham against slavery? From his childhood, he had a humble upbringing. Abraham lived with his parents in Indiana before moving to Illinois. Basically, slavery was not that immense in these parts of America. Coupled with the fact that his parents were not into the slave trade.

Abraham Lincoln has been memorized as the man who ended slavery.


It is worth noting again that the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 did not allow for slavery in the northern territories. This included the area where Abraham grew up. This made him have a lot of questions regarding slavery.

Though he was against slavery, he did not consider it the political affair to follow. He tried to lie low about the issue though it affected him.

The 16th president of the United States of America, Abraham Lincoln began his political career at a time when slavery was at its peak with many treaties and agreements being formed.3 He began his political career by offering support to a man called Henry Clay in 1832.4 “Lincoln strongly referred to him as my beau ideal of a statesman.” They shared a prevailing ideology in the issue of slavery. Like Abraham, Clay believed that slavery was not a good practice and termed it evil.

During this time America experienced the Missouri Compromise. This was over slavery in territories under the US constitution. This had Missouri considered as a slave state. Again, to keep an equal number of free and slave states, it also admitted Maine as a free state. This was done with the aim of freeing the slaves and at the same time maintaining peace with the slave owners who were bitterly against these plans.

Abraham Lincoln joined the Whig Party and supported the presidential nominee of the party with the aim of getting recognition and acceptance by the party members.  This was a party lead by young future leaders of the country. At this point, it is clear that Lincoln had colliding ideas. He felt for the slaves and was against the slave owners but the accepted and denied any links with the abolitionists

Meetings were held, and a committee issued a report that allowed ownership of slaves. This report was taken for vetting, and it was kicked out in line with Lincoln’s feelings and plans as he was one of the members of the chambers that did away with the report. Remember Lincoln planned to amend some parts of a constitution to help accommodate his views on slavery. The power to abolish slavery lied on the slave owner hands, but Lincoln felt it is the government to have the powers.

In 1845 there was The Texas Annexation. Texas became a state by annexation. This annexation was forwarded by the Whigs which Abraham was part of. The sole aim of the Whigs was that slavery not to dominate political affairs. These political affairs could adversely affect the fight for free slavery in the various states.7

It is in 1852 that Lincoln came out boldly and addressed a crowd in Peoria. Though he had a great desire to talk out the issue of slavery, he controlled his feelings in delivering the speech. It was not easy to know Lincoln’s stand on matters of slavery as he was against it but could not come out to talk about it publicly. Various scholars have this argument regarding this fact that this could create a great revolution among the slave owners and those against slavery. Was this going to last? Lincoln had to do away with his ‘camouflage’ like behavior.

Yes, he did away with his ‘camouflage’ like behavior in 1858 when he and Douglas had a joint debate.

He said, “We know that some Southerner men do free their  slaves, go north, and become tip-top abolitionists; while some northern ones go south, and become most cruel slave-masters.” This created a feeling of abolitionism in Lincoln crowd. During his senatorial race with the Republican party, he was asked about this ideology.

This cost him his political life as Lincoln had always tried to keep his belief in slavery very private. It was a such a drawback to the Republicans as Lincoln experienced hostility and he was much behind Douglas. The Republicans had to come up with a plan on how to overcome this. A second debate that Lincoln used his speech skills to change the perception of the people’s mind so quickly.

It is unfortunate that Abraham lost his senatorial seat to Douglas. This thought helped him gain popularity among the people. He maintained to hide his views on slavery. He felt for the abolition, but he did not openly talk it out. He publicly supported slavery with a feeling of abolitionism. Lincoln talked against slavery as evil and unethical, but he never advocated for its abolition in public.

It was time for the Presidential race to start and the Republicans did their nominations for the presidency. It was so much apparent that the Republicans nominated Abraham for the presidential race and he immediately began his campaigns. When he was given an opportunity to talk in New York, Lincoln argued that slavery should not be abolished and it should not exceed the point that it was.

He brought together the Republicans and advocated for the slave owner to keep their slaves, but it should not exceed the situation it was. He could not speak about abolition to protect his reputation with his supporters. Again he was against the idea of slavery hence advocated for its removal in a way he knew the direction he was taking.

In 1860 Abraham won the presidential race with a large margin. He, however, had a big crisis as the slavery question was growing and becoming intense. As a leader, Lincoln had to be ready to give a solution to this problem. Remember during his campaigns he never advocated for the abolition.  His support for slavery to continue during his campaign meant that he was supposed to uphold the ideology.

“On March the same year, Lincoln acknowledged that Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the southern states.”  Slave states declared their independence, and this made Lincoln think of a proper strategy towards slavery. A rebellion broke out and this caused frustrations to Lincoln. He wanted to abolish slavery and talked to people telling of his plans to slow the rebellion. It was time when his efforts could not help, and he had to wait for the coming wars.

Lincoln started to consider the emancipation as he could not help it since the war had already broken out. “My paramount object in this struggle is to help save the union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery,” said Lincoln. 7He again stated that “if I could save the union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I could do it, and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I feel it helps save the union”.

In 1861 Lincoln called for troops as the rebellion went a notch higher. A civil war broke out in the United States in 1865. This made Lincoln change his stand on slavery. He supported the abolition of slavery in the United States. The slaves pressured the government to release them, and Abraham eventually responded. Due to his response in April of 1865, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. After the assassination, 16the Thirteenth Amendment freed the slaves, and the United States became a free country.

It is argued that Abraham stand on slavery changed after the break of civil wars in the United States. He came out boldly to support for the freeing of the slaves as this was the option that could help save the country. He is known for his effort and support in freeing the slaves and making the United States is independent.




  1. Klingaman, William K. Abraham Lincoln and the road to Emancipation, 1861-1865. New York: Viking Penguin, 2001.
  2. Franklin, John Hope. The Emancipation Proclamation. Garden City, NY: Doubleday& Company. Inc., 1963.
  3. A. J Smoot, “Affidavit of A. J Smoot,” in Free at last, ed. Berlin, 1967.
  4. James McPherson, Drawn with the sword: Reflections on the American Civil War, New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.


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