|Abraham was born a poor farmhand boy in Kentucky, but he moved from small
cabins in Kentucky, Indiana, and finally settled in Illinois. He was a farmhand
for his father in these states and didn’t have much exposure to slavery,
although, these states did have black/slave laws. Lincoln got his first dose of
slavery at the age of eighteen when he was hired to take a flatboat down to New
Orleans. I quote from Lincoln: A Photo biography “Lincoln would never forget the
site of black men, women, and children being driven along in chains and being
auctioned off like cattle.” This still didn’t change his “opinion” on slavery
(he didn’t have one).
In 1846, after experience in law and the Illinois
state legislature, Lincoln was elected to the US House of Representatives as a
member of the Whig party. As a member of the Illinois State Legislature he took
a stand against slavery saying that slavery was “founded on both injustice and
bad policy”. He supported a bill to prohibit slavery in lands won from Mexico;
he also proposed a bill that would ban slavery in the District of Columbia. He
also always voted with his party against the spread of slavery in the south.
When his bill started to draw negative attention he dropped it. He hated slavery, but he thought that forcing anti-slavery on the south would lead to
violence. He hoped that slavery would just wear away as society advanced. He
wanted bills to be passed that would eliminate slavery with compensation given
to southerners who owned slaves. Now he realizes that he opposes slavery, but
not so much that he would fight for it.
When the Kansas-Nebraska Act
Missouri Compromise by allowing slavery in the Louisiana territory
forbidden by the Compromise Lincoln was rocketed into an abolitionist
standpoint. He spoke against Stephen Douglas’ act and campaigned for
anti-slavery Whigs. Lincoln spoke harshly against slavery, even going so far as
to call it a “cancer”. In 1856 Lincoln switched to the Republican Party solely
because the Whigs couldn’t be absolutely against slavery as a party, while the
Republicans strongly disfavored slavery. In 1858 Lincoln fought against Stephen
Douglas in a battle for the senate. They held three debates, Lincoln strongly
favoring abolition while Douglas stayed at a position in which he believed in
white supremacy saying, “I am not in favor of Negro equality”. At this point in
his life Lincoln was a leading abolitionist and fully fledged against slavery.
Lincoln lost the election by a slim margin but didn’t even stop fighting; in
fact the fight had just begun. Lincoln was elected to run for the Republican
president in 1860. Lincoln new that since he strongly despised slavery that he
wasn’t going to win any slave states; so he strongly campaigned in the north.
For this action he became the president elect. Because of his election, South
Carolina seceded from the union. Lincoln wanted to preserve the union without
bloodshed, but that didn’t happen. At the beginning of the Civil War Lincoln
believed that it was being fought to preserve the union, but then he strongly
believed it was because of the issue of slavery. Also at first he believed that
he wrote the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1863 as a war measure,
but then he realized that he wrote it because he knew that slavery was inhumane
and he needed to do something a bout it. So, in the winter of 1864 he pushed
congress to pass an amendment forever banning slavery. It was passed on January
31, 1865. Lincoln felt so strongly against slavery that he ended it forever.
Lincoln fought for slavery, winning the Civil War, until his death on April 15,
1865; he died because someone thought that his views on slavery were wrong. He
fought and died to see slavery be abolished.