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Towards Civil War.docx

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Erin Black

Towards Civil War 1. So far in the readings I have found Lincoln’s speeches and writings to be quite powerful. He appeals to the listener/reader’s emotions and is able to keep them engaged. For example, during the debates with Stephen A. Douglas, “laughter” and “applause” was included in the printing of the debates as proof of how well Lincoln’s audience reacted to him. a. Lincoln’s life experiences prepared him for the Presidency because he was able to hone and cultivate his skills as an orator through his time spent as a lawyer and a politician. Lincoln was born into a poor family who made their living on a farm and so he was able to empathize with those less fortunate. Lincoln knew that it was not only the rich people who were affected by federal and state legislatures and he made sure to consider all of the Union’s citizens in the work that he did. 2. Lincoln was so opposed to the Kansas-Nebraska Act because he believed that it was a repeal of the Missouri Compromise. He felt that the Kansas-Nebraska Act wrong in effect by allowing slavery into Kansas and Nebraska and wrong in the principle which would allow slavery to spread to “every part of the wide world” (16). In essence, Lincoln hated the Kansas-Nebraska Act because he was against the spread of slavery. Lincoln opposed the Supreme Court’s decision regarding Dred Scott because he felt that the decision had been made not out of a unanimous agreement among the judges, but instead because of party loyalty and bias. He also felt that Chief Justice Taney’s claim that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution did not apply to blacks was false and was an opinion of the judge and not a complete fact. 3. Lincoln discussed the “all men are created equal” aspect of the Declaration of Independence throughout this section of the reader. Lincoln felt that this phrase was extremely important and that there was no interpretation that could be taken from it. It was very straightforward and, basically, should be taken at face value. In his letter to Joshua Speed Lincoln described some of these interpretations. He tells Speed that as a nation “we now practically read it, as ‘all men are created equal, except negroes.’” (24). He went even further to say “when the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics’”. (24) Lincoln also believed that the Constitution was in place in order to protect all of the people, not only those who were considered citizens. He uses this point as well to prove that the founding fathers felt that regardless of colour, all men were to be included under the Declaration and the Constitution but that not everyone was equal in all respects. Lincoln continues to say that the founding fathers “meant simply to declare the right, so that the enforcement of it might follow as fast as circumstances should permit…for free society.” (28). I agree with his interpretation because if the founding fathers meant something else than they would have changed the wording within those documents in order to completely separate slaves and free blacks from the white population. 4. In Lincoln’s “House Divided” speech, Lincoln states that “I do not expect the Union to be dissolved – I do not expect the house to fall – but I do expect it will cease to be divided.” (32). Lincoln means that even though there will be changes and disagreements, the states will emerge as a united entity. a. Lincoln speaks of the nationalization of slavery and sees this as a possibility because if slavery becomes legal in the northern states or in the newer territories than it is likely that it will continue to spread and envelop the country, becoming accepted and nationalized. 5. The South perceives Lincoln as a threat, eve
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