President Abraham Lincoln: His Presidency: Pros
About the presidency of Abraham Lincoln some of the pros or positive aspects of his time in office.
16th President ABRAHAM LINCOLN
His 4 Years, 42 Days as President
In the critical period between his election as President and the attack on Fort Sumter, while lesser men desperately sought a compromise, Lincoln had the strength to say No. He refused to abandon the Republican platform or to retreat from his own stubborn opposition to the extension of slavery. While even antislavery "Radicals" like Seward talked of a plan that would allow slavery to spread to the unsettled areas of the Southwest, Lincoln had the moral vision to see that the time for compromise had passed.
As a war leader, Lincoln exercised the most effective and inspiring presidential leadership in our history. His strength, vision and consummate political skill steered a bitterly divided country successfully through the bloodiest war in its history. He dramatically expanded the powers of the Presidency to meet the needs of the moment. He showed a better grasp of overall strategy than any of his generals, and he had the courage to replace one general after another until he found the men he wanted. In dealing with Northern public opinion and the threat of European intervention on behalf of the Confederacy, Lincoln's moves were strong, decisive, and unerring.
In steering a middle course between antislavery Radicals and Northern Conservatives on his handling of Southern slavery, Lincoln held the country together and managed to preserve the Union. He wisely ignored Radical demands for immediate emancipation, and thereby kept the key border States in the Union; if those States had joined the Confederacy, the South might very well have won the war. Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, was a perfectly timed, brilliantly conceived political masterstroke that helped to rally the Northern people and to prevent European recognition of the Confederacy. Though the celebrated Proclamation actually freed few slaves, Lincoln deserves his title of "Great Emancipator" for his support for the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery forever throughout the U.S.; he had already successfully steered the amendment through Congress by the time he died. Though preserving the Union always remained his primary goal, Lincoln never lost sight of his secondary desire to end a slave system which he had always opposed as a grave moral wrong.
Lincoln was more than a great President; he was a great man. He was not corrupted by power, he was deepened and saddened by it. He never lost sight of the human consequences of his actions. His utter lack of personal malice toward even his most bitter opponents is unique in the annals of political history. He demonstrated time and again the qualities of patience, forbearance, and understanding, while his enormous intellectual power enabled him to inspire the nation with the most sublime prose ever written or spoken by an American President. Lincoln was probably the most accessible of all our Chief Executives, and spent hours each day meeting with ordinary citizens in what he called "his public opinion baths." His moderate and sensible plans for Reconstruction, protecting the rights of both blacks and whites in the South, might have avoided much of the bitterness and suffering of the postwar era; it was a supreme tragedy for the nation that Lincoln did not live to carry them out.
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