Masaryk university faculty of education


Abraham Lincoln - Civil War 1861



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Abraham Lincoln - Civil War 1861


When the Confederates forced the Union troops to surrender at Fort Sumter and thus started the Civil War, Lincoln had been in office less than two months. Though the causes of the Civil War are numerous, the crisis in the early 1860s itself resulted in several southern states threatening secession. The North opposed this decision and tried to politically and economically appease the South in order to prevent the dissolution of the Union. Prior to declaring war, Lincoln faced a difficult opposition not just from the Democratic Party, known as Peace Democrats (or Copperheads), but also from the general citizenry. Lincoln tried to prevent war by sending troops to battle without the authorization of Congress, stating that this was not a war but an internal issue. In fact, he broke many laws and overstepped his authority in many cases, which ironically earned him high acclaim later. Declaring a civil war less than a century after independence was not something Lincoln favored, but at last, he saw no other option for keeping the Union together. Linguistically speaking, he was and still is voted as one of the most eloquent and esteemed orators in the history of the U.S. Though it seems contrary to his language, which is full of religious references and allusions, Lincoln never joined a church. While there are some speculations whether or not he used God and religion to appease his audience or to speak his own beliefs, he was well versed in the Bible, quoted it frequently and praised its teachings as well.


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