Abraham Lincoln's Presidency

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Does Abraham Lincoln deserve credit as "the Great Emancipator"?  Why or why not?

On the whole, one would argue that Lincoln does deserve credit as the Great Emancipator. Lincoln was the driving force behind changing the central aim of the Civil War from restoring the Union to abolishing slavery. In his Emancipation Proclamation, he also helped lay the ground for the eventual abolition of slavery under the Thirteenth Amendment.

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If any one individual in American history deserves the title of “The Great Emancipator,” it's Abraham Lincoln. Thanks to him, the Civil War turned from being a conflict over the Union to a moral crusade against the evils of slavery. This represented something of an about-face for Lincoln. In the early stages of the war, he'd expressed his opinion that he would retain slavery if it meant keeping the Union together. To be sure, Lincoln had always detested slavery, but was nonetheless prepared, for purely political reasons, to keep it if possible.

However, over the course of the Civil War, Lincoln came to realize that the war was about slavery, and that so long as slavery remained on American soil, the country would always be at risk of further political and military conflict. So slavery had to go, and Lincoln articulated his new thinking in his famous Gettysburg Address, in which he spoke of giving life to the emancipatory words of the Declaration of Independence—“all men are...

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