Abraham Lincoln was a very effective leader throughout the
Although he had no prior military experience, he proved to be an asset
throughout the war. According to his contemporary critics, Abraham Lincoln\'s
Presidential record was notable for his despotic use of power and his blatant
disregard for the Constitution. Lincoln ordered thousands of arrests, kept
political enemies in prison without bringing charges against them, refused these
hapless men their right to trial by a jury of their peers, and ignored orders
from the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to release them. In his first few
months in office he made the most direct violations of the Constitution in the
Nation\'s history. He increased the size of the Regular Army without
Congressional approval, spent money without Congressional authorization,
suspended the writ of habeas corpus without authority and generally acted as if
he had never heard of the other two branches of the government. He threw out the
Constitution and retained popular appeal of the masses.
Davis lacked popular
appeal. At no time in his life did he mingle freely with the masses under
circumstances that might have enabled him to develop an appreciation of their
aspiration and virtues. He never felt close to them, and they didnít to him.
Davis never succeeded in dramatizing the issues of the war or in arousing public
enthusiasm for their support. Confederates like to compare their struggle with
the Colonial revolt against England. But their President was never able to
infuse the Southern movement with the lofty purposes and timeless qualities that
Jefferson and Paine breathed into the American Revolution.
was known for his integrity. He was not always as forthright as he might have
been in dealing with difficult persons and situations, but he observed a strict
code of conduct with respect to money, favors and gifts. As President he
repeatedly demonstrated his moral courage by unwavering support of unpopular
individuals and measures. He had rich experiences in public affairs. He was an
effective public speaker, known for their clarity and logic. He was profoundly
dedicated to the Southern cause. It seems quite contradictory when you think
about it. Jefferson Davis was never known as \"Honest Jeff,\" and Lincoln, the
man who led the Union by basically ignoring the Constitution, was known as
When Lincoln felt it was necessary he could act in the most
undemocratic manner (as he delivered the Gettysburg Address, his troops guarded
the polls at a state election in Delaware, insuring a Republican victory).
Realizing that the Constitution was not made for war, especially civil war, and
knowing that it took too long to change it, he was willing to bypass it and
create his own emergency powers in order to preserve it for peacetime. Events
were moving too rapidly to stay within the due process of the law.
presidents hovered closely to the War Department. Davis began to become very
unpopular with the populace of the South for his persistent support of
discredited officers such as Lucius B. Northrop, the Confederate commissary
General, and Generals Theophilus Holmes, John Pemberton, and Braxton Bragg.
Northrop and Bragg were grossly incompetent and their long retention in high
position, against an ever- increasing tide of public criticism, cannot be
justified on any reasonable ground. There was a great deal of criticism of Davis
for his removal of General Beauregard. Also a major destructive relationship
took place between Davis and Joe Johnston.
Lincoln on the other hand either
fired or sat back and let the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War fire
popular or unpopular generals for perceived ineptitude. McClellan and Buell (too
slow for the northern voters) -- Porter (we\'ll hang this one on the Joint
Committee, thus keeping Lincoln clean) -- Pope (no one likes a braggart,
especially one who nearly gets his army annihilated...easy call) -- Butler in
New Orleans (good move, it places the Beast in the den of depravity...he can\'t
lose battles and he can place his scorn and the contempt of the folks up north
on the folks down south) -- Sigel brought in to command the 11th Corps when
recruitment\'s were down-- (dismissed temporarily when campaigning began,
brought back in 1864 only to be humiliated at New Market by the cadets...he
could now remove him permanently). There were most definitely others, but
Lincoln remained unscathed.
Known to history as the Great Emancipator,
Lincoln believed-and often said-that it was impossible for white and black men
to live together in freedom. His only solution for America\'s greatest problem
was for all the blacks to return to Africa. In his Emancipation Proclamation he
carefully drew the boundaries within which it would operate, and deliberately
excluded all areas in which his armies had control. However, it should be
recalled that Congressional actions and the activities of certain generals had
already freed thousands of blacks, and would continue to be more important as a
source of emancipation.