Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Lincoln Ch 3 & 4 - by C. B.

In Chapters 3 and 4 of Abraham Lincoln by George McGovern, Lincoln’s first two years as president are discussed to explain his actions as president in wartime and the decision to take an attack on slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln’s choices as president were complex beyond the complex thought in the modern day. Some of the most important decisions included expanding the powers of the president and never declaring the Confederacy as a new nation. Lincoln suspended the right of Habeas Corpus to prevent newspapers from discrediting Lincoln’s military actions as well as imprisoning suspected spies. Before releasing the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln issued a preliminary proclamation to give the Confederate states 100 days to return to the Union or Lincoln would free the slaves of the Confederate states. Lincoln never wanted to free the slaves but keep the Union together. As the war progressed, the change to the war goal became an additional strategy to encourage Union slaves states to remain in the Union and to use the Confederate owned slaves against the Confederates.
The author’s purpose for section of reading was to provide a breakdown for Lincoln’s strategies. Lincoln’s strategies could be arguably too radical. Suspending Habeas Corpus was an unconstitutional action that Lincoln issued before a law passed by Congress could be passed to support his decision. Issuing the Emancipation Proclamation meant that the Union was no longer fighting to preserve the nation created back in the 1700s but meant that Lincoln was attempting to destroy the South’s way of life. Draft laws for army enlistment was a way of forcing individuals against the war to fight in it. Most of Lincoln’s decision making was influenced by his cabinet members because he picked members that were formally opposed to him in political views.
Our class discussion involved discussing topics before Lincoln’s presidency and how they affected the decisions Lincoln had to work around when moving through the war. Lincoln picked his cabinet members to help him think about his decisions. His cabinet members opposed his ideas and always made Lincoln think his decisions with careful consideration. The Dred Scott decision of 1857 proclaimed that all slaves were considered property and had no rights. Free blacks also were not stated to have the same rights and freedom of men as described in the constitution. To reverse the Supreme Court’s decision required the passing of the 13th amendment to free all of the slaves and the 14th to grant all black men equal rights under the law.
In Class Questions included how did slaves live after becoming free, the description of generals serving both the Union and the Confederacy, and the effects of the Union blockade of the South. As all of the slaves were freed by the end of the civil war, most of blacks had to become workers for southern landlords. Almost all of the generals of the civil war went to West Point academy. Robert E Lee was the top of his class and became the most important general of the war for the Confederacy. Ulysses S Grant was the worst of his class but made the best decisions supporting the Union side. Grant would run two terms as president during the era of Reconstruction. Mclellan was a general of the Union who took very cautious battles for the Union to preserve soldier’s lives and ran for president against Lincoln in the later years of the war. The Union blockade drained the south of its resources and prevented aid from foreign nations.
How would Lincoln have run Reconstruction if he had not been assassinated in 1865?
Why was Lincoln considered an abolitionist but Lincoln did not see himself as one?
Why was the Emancipation Proclamation too radical by some and not radical enough by others?