Honest Abe or Lyin' Lincoln? Agree or disagree: Lincoln was a great president.

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator
  • Lincoln was NOT "Honest" Abe, to be sure.

As President, Abraham Lincoln swore to uphold the United States Constitution; however, he violated the Constitution. For, the South did have the right to secede, according to the Constitution. (After the 2012 presidential election, many stateshad the number of requisite signatures for secession, but it was a more figurative gesture.) Lincoln also tried to prevent the South from having enough votes for secession by holding in jail overnight two congressmen from the South. These men were unconstitutionally arrested for they were not served the writ of habeus corpus, but were instead quickly locked up and kept incarcerated so that the South would not have the 2 votes they needed. This right falls under the Article 1, Section 9 of the US Constitution.

Although he did not believe in slavery, Lincoln did not perceive blacks as equals to whites. For, his plan was to return the former slaves to Africa. In addition, after removing slaves from plantations, Lincoln allowed slavery to be practiced in the North.

His Emancipation Proclamation was illegal in nature:

On January 1, 1863 Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation extending freedom to all slaves in the seceded states. In practice,it only applied to slaves in states under confederate control, in other words, in precisely those places where Lincoln's words had no power.
                                                                                                --The American Antiquarian Society

  • Lincoln was NOT a good president

He did not want the South to secede for economic reasons, one of which was that 75% of the money from tariffs was contributed by Southern ports. (This money went to the federal government.)

Having been responsible for the declaration of war upon Americans, he was, then, also responsible for the deaths of 620,000 men, according to a survey from 1899; a more recent study puts the number as high as 850,000. The total of 620,000, let alone that of 850,000, is greater than any number of U.S. soldiers killed in any other war.

He was a shameful Commander-in-Chief. After the Civil War was essentially over, Lincoln did nothing to stop Sherman's massive destruction of the South in his "march to the sea." And, when Grant, after seeing their exploitation of the freed blacks and the surviving whites, had asked Lincoln to remove the carpetbaggers from the South, the president refused.

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