Abraham Lincoln, Slavery and the Civil War


Slavery was practiced in all the American states during the colonial period. After independence, the northern states were challenged on the rights of all and started to shift their view on slavery. They considered it to go against the ideals of the war they fought with their colonial masters the British. The end of the Mexican war caused anxiety with some states wondering whether to join the United States as free states or slave states.

The southern part of the country relied heavily on slavery for the provision of cheap labor. Slavery was the main political issue in the whole of America (Johnson 30). War mostly happens as a result of human ambition or the breakdown of peaceful means to conflict solution. When this happened America’s north fought against the south, at the time when Lincoln was President. This paper seeks to highlight the roles of slavery and President Lincoln in the civil war.


America’s north had most of the industries which got their raw material from the south. The southern states were mostly large farms that grew cotton and other farm produce. This meant that they were labor-intensive states. To achieve the level of productivity needed, the southern states relied on the slaves to provide cheap labor. The African American’s were enslaved for life with the settler’s children inheriting them after their parents.

At this time, war erupted in Kansas over its decision to be a free state. A similar uprising occurred in West Virginia by John Brown, who tried to start a slave uprising. Abraham Lincoln got elected to the United States Congress in 1846. With American politics centered on slavery, he became a vocal voice against slavery. With the slow rise in the anti-slavery sentiments, Lincoln won a Republican nomination for president, aided by his great oratory skills (Johnson 43).


Over this period, the southern states of America had enlisted to join as slave states. They were largely aided by the Compromise of 1850, which allowed them to choose whether to be free or slave states. The Republican Party that had just been formed pegged its campaign on an anti-slavery platform. The southerly states issued a series of warning on cessation if the Republican Party does win (Johnson 58).

After the election, Abraham Lincoln won by 40% and was sworn in as President even as it emerged that no southerly state had voted for him. The south felt that they no longer had a place in the Union and made good their threat to secede. Starting from South Carolina, Mississippi followed by Florida, Georgia, Texas, and Alabama. They then moved ahead and created the Confederate States of America, electing Jefferson Davis as their president.

Civil war

The northern States under Lincoln were more interested in preserving the Union of America. On April 12, 1961civil war broke out in South Carolina upon the provocation by the Confederate army. The President rallied the northern states for the retention of the Union as a cause for fighting the civil war (Johnson 65). The north was developed with factories that manufactured ammunition, money, and a large labor force. Its army war larger than the southern one.

The only way the south could have won was if they could garner external support from Europe, which at one point was being considered. They apart from the fact that they were undercapitalized had the best generals in America. President Lincoln sought to deny them external support by wisely juggling between the idea of fighting for the union and fighting to free the slaves. This kept the loyalty of the northern states, and the freeing of slaves kept at bay the European intervention (Johnson 66).

Winning the war

As the Union army moved southwards, lots of fleeing people crossed the Frontline into the northern side. The north had at this time developed a great transportation system, through its railroad, which meant that the logistical supply of its troops was easy. The Confederates had to deal with the use of traditional horseback and other not up to date transport systems. The black fleeing population did offer to fight in the war but were kept from enlisting. In the navy, they had some experience and were therefore enlisted in the naval The Union then blockaded the ports limiting the supplies to the Confederate’s and cutting short their refinancing through the sale of cotton.

The ideological reason for fighting the war was used as a war tool. The confederate’s main reason seemed to be a selfish one. During this time of war, the slaves who were in the fields left under the supervision of the white women started to abscond work. Those who through the war found gaps of escaping did so in large numbers. At this time and due to his great leadership skills, the President issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. With the full proclamation, the African-Americans were able to be enlisted to join the Union army (Johnson 74).


The slaves now fought for their freedom alongside the Union which fought for the unity of the states. The slaves were freeing themselves, creating a humanitarian crisis. This saw the change of the aims of the war to one whose aim was to abolish slavery. The union army grew with the new African American manpower. The war continued with the north suffering defeats but their resolve to win was strong. In the year 1865, the Congress approved the thirteenth amendment that abolished slavery (Johnson 75). President Lincoln got reelected, and the union won the war. Efforts now were redirected at the reconstruction of the Union. It is during this period that the president was assassinated.


President Lincoln became one of the greatest figures in the history of the United States. The cessation and war with the south are the chance that provided him an opportunity to become the great inspirational founders of America. The thirteenth amendment was then ratified putting an end to slavery in America making all the states free. Clearly, at his death, the whole nation knew that the days of slavery were behind them. History has proven right the major cause of the civil war was indeed slavery.

Work Cited

Johnson, Michael P. Abraham Lincoln, Slavery, and the Civil War: Selected Writings and Speeches. California: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2000. Print.

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