Abraham Lincoln's Presidency

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What are some problems that Abraham Lincoln faced?

Abraham Lincoln faced many serious problems during his presidency, including secession and the Civil War. He had to manage the war politically as well as militarily and make decisions about such major issues as slavery and reconstruction.

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Abraham Lincoln was elected president at a time of deep crisis in American history. For decades, the United States had not been able to resolve the tensions that grew out of being made up of a mix of slave states and free states. In fact, these tensions grew worse as the country moved from a situation in which both North and South saw slavery as an unfortunate institution that would fade out over time into two fiercely opposed camps. By 1860, abolitionists wanted the immediate end to all slavery, while Southerners increasingly defended slavery as a positive good for the slaves. Lincoln's election triggered Southern states to secede from the Union, starting the Civil War, but by the time he was elected, either war or the breakup of the Union had become inevitable.

Lincoln was tasked with managing and winning one of the worst and bloodiest wars Americans were ever involved in. He also had to make politically tricky determinations about when and how to free the slaves, negotiate keeping superpowers like England from helping the South (the South's only hope of winning), balance the Constitutional rights of citizens against the need to wage an effective war, and plan for healing the wounds of a divided nation after war ended. All of these were heavy burdens, not made easier from opposition from his own party. Fortunately, Lincoln was the right man for the job and rose to the occasion.

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Abraham Lincoln was elected president on a purely sectional vote, and as he prepared to begin his presidency, he was faced with the possibility, even probability, of disunion, as many people in the South renounced his election. The issues at the top of the list were states' rights, the expansion (or not) of slavery into US territories, and the Northern lack of enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act.

Before Lincoln even took office on March 4, 1861, seven Southern states had already seceded from the Union, and the new president had to decide what to do about it. On April 15, he chose to call for 75,000 troops, an action that nudged four more states out of the Union. After the debacle at Fort Sumter, Abraham Lincoln ended up with a civil war on his hands.

Lincoln's primary task for the next four years was to manage a war, both militarily and politically. He had to cope with everything from incompetent generals to opposition in the North. He had to decide what to do about slavery and when to do it, and he finally issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863.

In 1864, Lincoln faced a campaign for reelection against George McClellan. He won, but only after a time in which his victory was in serious doubt. At the beginning of Lincoln's second term, the war was starting to draw to a close, and Lincoln needed to plan for the renewal of the Union and the reconstruction of the South. Again, he faced serious opposition here. Indeed, Lincoln's presidency was far from easy, and his problems only multiplied as the years passed.

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The biggest problem that Lincoln faced was trying to hold the Union together. Not long after he was elected, a number of Southern states seceded to form the Confederacy. Inevitably, this undermined the integrity of the Union, which made Lincoln's job all the more difficult.

Once the Civil War broke out, Lincoln then had to figure out how to win it, which was by no means an easy task. The war would be fought primarily on Southern soil, and it would involve not only with defeating the South militarily, but also with incorporating them back into the Union once the war was finally won. The successful accomplishment of these twin aims would've been hard for anyone, but for a new president without any military experience, they were doubly so.

It may seem hard for us to believe, given the deep reverence with which Lincoln is held today, but many of his contemporaries, including many within his own party, seriously doubted his abilities. Many were convinced that the South would win the Civil War and in the process destroy the Union forever.

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Abraham Lincoln faced several problems. Soon after he won the election in 1860, seven southern states seceded from the Union. President Lincoln tried to convince the other southern states to remain in the Union, but four more southern states seceded after the attack at Fort Sumter.

Once the Civil War began, President Lincoln needed to keep some of the Border States in the Union. For example, if Maryland seceded, Washington, D.C. would have been in the Confederacy. He arrested many Maryland lawmakers who were sympathetic to Confederacy, which prevented them from voting to secede. As a result, Maryland remained in the Union.

President Lincoln had to deal with ineffective military leadership. For example, General McClelland was so hesitant to move his army that he lost opportunities to defeat the South in battle. One example was after the battle fought at Antietam. General McClelland didn’t pursue General Lee’s army.

President Lincoln also had to deal with opposition in the North. There were Northerners who wanted a peaceful end to the war. Other people were opposed to the draft. President Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus to deal with possible disloyal activities.

Other people were dismayed that the Civil War had not ended as the election of 1864 approached. Fortunately, there were some victories in 1864 that helped boost Northern morale. Also, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, making it clear that this was a war that was being fought to end slavery in the United States.

Abraham Lincoln had several issues with which he had to deal.

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