Abraham Lincoln the Greatest Leaders of our Nation
Abraham Lincoln lived from 1809 to 1865 and was undoubtedly one of the greatest leaders of our nation while serving as the sixteenth President of the United States. With no surprise, different leaders use different leadership abilities to not only offer direction to their subjects, but also to motivate people and implement great plans. During his time as commander in chief, President Lincoln had many great accomplishments to his credit, some of which include the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation, the approval of the Homestead Act, and the deliverance of the Gettysburg Address. So, throughout his time in office, Lincoln had used his leadership skills to lead his country to victory in the American Civil War, to fight toward the abolishment of slavery, and to motivate and unify the country with powerful speeches that had unique appeal. He not only empowered the souls of citizens and had an incredible impact on North American society, but he also created a solid foundation for many generations to come. In fact, even to this day, he is viewed as a highly respected man in history.
Abraham Lincoln arose from a modest beginning and persevered to attain the top office in the country. He was born on February 12, 1809, to Thomas and Nancy Lincoln in Hardin County, Kentucky. While growing up, Lincoln had a knack for learning and was more interested in reading than doing chores or physical labor. He was mostly self-taught with very little instruction from teachers. In fact, Lincoln ended up only attending his local school for a few short periods because he had to work to support his family. Nevertheless, Lincoln later became interested in politics and taught himself to be a lawyer.
Abraham Lincoln, actually started his political career by winning election to the House of Representatives in Illinois on August 4, 1834 and was a member of the Whig Party until 1856 when he moved to the Republican Party. He began debating with Democrat Stephen Douglas to run for the President of the United States on August 21, 1858. In fact, the textbook tells how his presence and strong debates had an impact on his career as it reveals, “Lincoln remained largely unknown before the debates. These appearances provided an opportunity for him to raise his profile with both northerners and southerners… the debates propelled Lincoln into the national political spotlight” (Corbett, 2017). In the end, Lincoln won the election and became the President of the US in 1861.
From the very beginning of the presidential campaigns, Lincoln made his opposition to slavery very apparent. So, he was elected as the president during the time of serious crisis which started even before his Inauguration, and there were already some states starting to secede from the Union. His victory provoked crisis with many Southerners who feared that he would attempt to abolish slavery in the South, thus resulting in the Civil War.
On January 1, 1863, still during the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation which began the process of making American slaves free. This law only freed slaves in the Confederate states if those States did not return to the Union. It also strengthened the Union’s moral cause and triggered Americans to fight even more enthusiastically since the freedom of those salves would only be granted if the Union won the war. Lincoln purposefully only included rebellious Confederate state slaves because he did not want to exacerbate the crisis. The law also allowed for black slaves to join the army. As a result, the end of the war had brought nearly 200,000 black soldiers and sailors who had joined Lincoln’s army and fought for the Union and for freedom.
On November 19, 1963 Abraham Lincoln made his most famously quoted speech in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. His address was only two minutes long but it was extremely effective. Lincoln was sensitive to the fact that America was in the midst of a violent and bloody civil war. He took into account that only four months prior at the Battle of Gettysburg, Union troops had defeated the Confederate Army in one of the bloodiest battles of the American Civil War. That having been said, the purpose of Lincoln’s speech was to dedicate a plot of land that would become Soldier’s National Cemetery to honor the fallen. But, the Civil War still raged and Lincoln realized that he also had to use this speech to inspire the people to continue the fight. Lincoln recognized those who had fallen for their country, contrasting life vs. death so effectively by stating, “those who here gave their lives that that nation might live” (Transcript of Gettysburg Address, 2000). He also proclaimed that those soldiers had not only died to preserve the Union, but also to guarantee freedom and equality. Furthermore, Lincoln signified a call to action to resolve and complete “the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced” (Transcript of Gettysburg Address, 2000). All in all, this short speech that Lincoln compiled of only 10 sentences and 272 words, was able to strike a chord and instill a sense of patriotism in the hearts of many Americans.
There is no doubt that Abraham Lincoln was one of our nation’s greatest leaders. And although the decisions that he made may have resulted in the start of the Civil War, they also made southerners give up seceding in the future. Obviously, he was best known for his contributions in eradicating slavery and for preserving and solidifying the Union, but overall, Lincoln was a strong leader who stayed true to his convictions. He was an amazing, responsible, and intelligent individual who was not only an eloquent communicator, but also a protector and defender of the Constitution. Sadly Lincoln’s presidency came to an end after his assassination on April 14, 1865, which resulted in his death the next morning. His contributions and efforts will never be forgotten, as he so honorably established a pathway to the government that we know today.