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Abraham Lincoln's Slavery Policy

The purpose of this research is to examine Abraham Lincoln's slavery policy. The plan of the research will be to set forth the historical background in which Lincoln's handling of the slavery issue became the principal dynamic of his presidency and then to discuss the evolution of his policy toward the containment, then abolition of slavery, within the context of Constitutional crisis and of a commitment to preservation of the Constitution. In that regard, it is important to note that the issue of whether slavery was an evil is outside the scope of this research; rather, what is important is the political impact of slavery as a given of the American culture of the period. Accordingly, the content and appropriateness of Lincoln's attempts at finding a permanent and politically workable remedy for the problem constitute the focus of investigation.

The historical background for Lincoln's choices in dealing with the American slavery issue can be located in the conception of government developed as a consequence of the Declaration of Independence, American Revolution, and the Constitutional Convention. Tensions and controversy surrounding the moral repugnance of slavery, its measurable economic benefits, and the project of nation building were articulated almost from the beginning of the republic. Writing in 1804, toward the end of his first term as president, Jefferson refers to the American "experiment . . . that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth" (Jefferson 222). However, in slavery-related excerpts from his "Notes on Virginia" that he suppressed as inflammatory, he famously writes: "I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever; that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation is among possible events" (Jefferson 27-8).

The failu...

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Abraham Lincoln's Slavery Policy. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 16:34, March 20, 2019, from