From: Jerry Reavey
Time: 12:28:50 PM
Remote Name: 220.127.116.11
Jerry Reavey US History Week 13
Leading up to Lincoln's election, the union was dividing against itself. The issue of slavery had become a battle for political control between Republican-minded Northerners and the Democrat South. Further fuel was added to the abolitionist fire by the Dred Scott decision in 1857. The controversy over whether Kansas would enter the union as a slave or free state caused tension on both sides. The South accused the North of conspiring to limit its power, and the North claimed that the South had too much political pull, especially under the Three-fifths Compromise. Lincoln's goal, if he could, was to somehow ease the hostile situation from becoming a full scale war. No matter what, the country should not be allowed to fall into anarchy. Lincoln encouraged popular sovereignty of the states to decide on the issue of slavery, but favored federal authority and regulation. Lincoln was probably aware of the national economic state in denying extending an economy reliant on slave labor, which was weak, unstable, and old-fashioned in an increasingly industrialized society. Adding more slave states would only limit the economic potential the new acquisitions had to offer. Still, he regards the economic reliance of the South on slavery. He knows that simply freeing the slaves only would harm the nation further. Reconstruction after the war would help resolve the South's reliance on slave labor. "It presents to... man the question of whether a constitutional republic, or a democracy... can or cannot maintain its territorial integrity against its own domestic foes." "I have no purpose... to interfere with the institution of slavery in the U.S. I believe I have no right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so." Lincoln sacrifices his own views to maintain the status quo of the nation. Openly supporting one side or another would only result in more finger pointing and would only hasten the inevitable Civil War. He focuses more on the country's national unity and economic well-being instead of a trigger-topic like slavery.