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The President of the United States during the Civil War had a very hard time keeping the country together. This President helped the country bring the South back, so we could be one united nation again. He also made many famous speeches, such as the Gettysburg Address. Sadly, this wonderful President was assassinated while watching a play one evening.
Lincoln's Election Alarms the South
Abraham Lincoln was elected the sixteenth President of the United States on November 6, 1860 with his running mate Hannibal Hamlin. After Lincolnís election, many Southerners, who were mostly Democrats, feared Republican control. They were afraid that the Republicans would have the majority say in most votes and that their votes wouldnít count. They decided they didnít want to be part of the union, so they tried to start a new country. Lincoln faced the greatest internal crisis of any U.S. President, which was several states seceding from the union. After the fall of Fort Sumter, Lincoln gathered an army together and fought to save the Union in a civil war.
Despite enormous pressure, loss of lives, battlefield setbacks, generals who were not ready to fight, assassination threats, etc, Lincoln stuck with his pro-union policy for four long years of the Civil War. Although some generals knew how to handle their armies in a war, many generals did not. Many generals were unprepared for full-fledged war. General Ulysses S. Grant was one of the few generals who knew what he was doing.
The generals, who didnít know what to expect in a war, were also the generals whose squads had the most loss of life. In addition to the inexperienced generals, many soldiers died from minor injuries that could be easily healed today because they didnít know a lot about medicine back then. Many arms and legs were amputated while soldiers were awake, and the saw they used for amputations were not cleaned between surgeries. Many more soldiers died from infections from the dirty surgical equipment and unclean conditions than actually died in battle.
President Lincoln also received a lot of assassination threats from many people, but mostly from Southerners who hated everything the President stood for, such as his pro-union policy that he would not let the South secede from the Union. On January 1, 1863 the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect. This was Lincolnís declaration of freedom for all slaves in areas of the Confederacy not under union control. The South didnít like this because they would have to free all their slaves if the North won the war.
Leading the Country
On November 19, 1863, Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg Address, which dedicated the battlefield at Gettysburg to the Union Soldiers who had died there. He called the living to finish the war that the dead soldiers had begun.
Lincolnís support for the Homestead Act allowed poor people in the East to obtain land in the West so new settlements could be set up. This act decreased crowding in the East. The act also made it easier for people to come to the U.S. from foreign countries.
Lincoln also signed legislation entitled the National Banking Act, which established a national currency for the whole country, not a different kind of money for each state like there used to be. It also provided for the creation of a network of national banks. Before this act, each state had its own currency and banks. This act is still in effect to this day. In addition to the National Banking Act, Lincoln signed tariff legislation that offered protection to large industries in the U.S. and signed a bill that chartered the first transcontinental railroad. This railroad helped the North to bring supplies to the areas where they were needed and it gave the Northern army another type of transportation. Lincolnís foreign policy was geared toward preventing foreign intervention in the Civil War, which made it difficult for any foreign country to help either side during the Civil War.
In 1864, Ulysses S. Grant was named General-in-Chief of the Northern army. The South was slowly being worn down and Lincoln was re-elected president. On April 9, 1865, General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Grant. Two days later Lincoln addressed a crowd outside the White House. Among other things, he suggested he would vote for rights for certain Blacks. This infuriated a racist and Southern sympathizer who was in the audience: the actor John Wilkes Booth who hated everything the President stood for.
On April 4, 1865 the Lincolns attended a play called "Our American Cousin" at Fordís Theater. During the performance, Booth arrived at the Theatre, entered the State Box (a box for special people such as the president) from the rear, and shot the President in the back of the head. Lincoln was carried across the street to the Petersen House where he passed away the next day at 7:22 A.M. This was the first presidential assassination in United States history. Lincoln was born in 1809 on the date of February 12 and led a short life. He was 56 when he died.
Lincoln helped win freedom for Blacks after defeating the South in the Civil War. His Emancipation Proclamation helped Blacks gain their freedom after the U.S. regained control of the Confederacy. Lincoln had some of the most difficult problems any president ever had to face, and he died a hero.
Abraham Lincoln Timeline
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