Abraham Lincoln Questions and Answers

Start Your Free Trial

To what extent is the statement "Great figures in history are only remembered for their positive impact on the world" accurate in relation to Abraham Lincoln? I am writing an essay on Lincoln, and he had so many great achievements, so my response is slanted towards the positive ... am I on the right track? Are there negative things Lincoln did which have had an enduring negative mark on his legacy to the world? if so, what are they? And do you have any ideas of how to express them in my essay response? 

The statement "Great figures in history are only remembered for their positive impact on the world" is accurate for Abraham Lincoln in several ways. Lincoln is considered one of the greatest presidents in the history of the United States. He is best known for abolishing slavery and issuing the Emancipation Proclamation. While he is thought by many to have ended slavery, the Proclamation only abolished slavery in areas rebelling against the Union, as a way of weakening the Confederacy.

Expert Answers info

Jennifer Rodriguez eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseEditor, Professional Writer

bookB.A. from CUNY Brooklyn College


calendarEducator since 2020

write59 answers

starTop subjects are Literature and Science

The quotation is very true and certainly applies to Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was the sixteenth president of the United States and is considered to be one of the greatest. He is most well-known for abolishing slavery and the Emancipation Proclamation, but there is more to his story.

Contrary to popular belief, the Emancipation Proclamation did not free all slaves, but only slaves who lived in areas rebelling against the Union. While it paved the way for the complete cessation of slavery, the Emancipation Proclamation was actually a military tactic designed to weaken the Confederate states and strengthen the Union. Lincoln's reasons for issuing the Emancipation Proclamation were political. He did not abolish slavery in rebellion states because slavery was wrong or cruel, but rather to preserve the Union. If he were truly interested in ending slavery itself, he would have abolished it in all states, not just Confederate states.

According to The History Channel (see link below), Lincoln believed slavery was immoral, but he did not believe that White and Black people should enjoy the same social and political rights. In an 1858 debate, Lincoln stated, "I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races." Lincoln did not believe in suffrage for Black people, nor was he in support of interracial marriages, Black people holding office, or Black jurors. Lincoln's views changed slightly, and in 1865, he argued for voting rights for Black men who fought for the Union during the Civil War.

These are just a couple of examples of how Lincoln was not the person many people believe him to be. That is not to say that he did not have good qualities or achieve great things; rather, as the quotation states, history tends to focus on the positive impact of historical figures.

The website linked below has more information on the lesser known facts about Abraham Lincoln. I hope it helps. Good luck with your essay!

check Approved by eNotes Editorial