The Abolition of Slavery After the Civil War
This essay covers topics directly addressing the racial and social problems from Reconstruction, when the civil war between the North and the South pushed society to critical changes. Analyzing and comparing the two observed articles helps identify the objective and coherent truth about the events that happened not so long ago in historical measures. The articles used in the paper are “Teaching the Complex History of Abolition and the Civil War. American Educator,” which portrays Lincoln as not a very democratic ruler, and “Lincoln’s Constitutional Necessity,” which states the former president guided the rule of necessity.
The first part of the essay presents the critical point of the first article and discusses its outlook on historical events. In the second part, the concept of the other article is correlated with the argument of the first one, identifying differences and similarities. Both authors of the articles agree that Lincoln did not prioritize abolishment before and during the civil war. However, one writer believes that all the work has been done by the black activist, while another states that it resulted from a wise political strategy.
This article emphasizes that Lincoln was not the only one who took part in abolishing slaves, and it was not his main idea from the start. The historical event that took place back then might seem straightforward, and there is nothing more to discuss but nothing as easy as it seems, and the situation is much more complicated and dual. With the most significant power and influence in the world, there are quite low chances that the aspiration of one white politician will end such a horrific phenomenon as slavery. Modern history tends to miss some details while observing the war between South and North and oversimplifying the process of abolishing slavery and putting too much weight on Lincoln’s role and initiative in it.
The double standards that the former president of the United States demonstrated during that revolutionary time might show the history of the beginning of black people’s freedom from different angles. Lincoln eventually did think that slavery was an inhuman act against people and did not mind ending this (Sanchez, 35). Still, at the same time, he acted passive or even contradictory when it came to some decisions. The former president preferred to stick to the scheme when the slaves would be set a free step by step, not all at once. All the slaveowners would have financial reimbursement for the deprivation of slaves as they were not people but property that had been liquidated. After receiving freedom from their masters, the slaves were sold overseas to countries that were practicing slavery and human trafficking.
Moreover, Lincoln decided not to deal with the states that established slavery as the law at some point. He thought that fighting against the indecent practices toward black people should only be there where the population was most resistant to the oppression of the black population. Another doubtable point is when the former president approved the law, which prohibited black people from marrying people of a different race, participating in the elections, having businesses, and performing in court (Sanchez, 36). Considering all the incompatible facts eventually raises the question of how Lincoln managed to deal with the issue of slavery in the end.
During his second inaugural, his outlook came through some changes, and the tolerance toward the South began to decline. Moreover, he stood for the amendment that slaveholders would not get any money for compensation, and the slaves would be free without any additional conditions for the colonizers (Sanchez, 36). The reason for such a drastic swing of opinion is the split between the North and the South. Both sides strongly depended on each other financially, and following different paths would eventually lead to an economic disaster.
When both parties could not agree on a common plan and direction of development, the only obvious solution was to start a war. Lincoln took it to his advantage and convinced the North that it would be beneficial for them since they lost all the finances that the South owed them (Sanchez, 37). By that time, the movement against slavery was massive, numerous black people escaped from their houses, and those who managed to stay in freedom got invited to serve in the Union Army. Black soldiers fought specifically against the confederates, who refused to end slavery and desired to keep the system. That was how the war for the preservation of union became the war for freedom, so Lincoln initially changed the direction he followed.
Thus, comparing the ideas of the first article to the second, there is one aspect that they have in common, and it is that abolishment was never a central issue of Lincoln. The author seemed to defend the former president’s possible accusations of hypocrisy by explaining his durable statements as a necessity throughout the text. Referencing the multiple letters he wrote in which the politician stated that he hated slavery and wished to stop it (Bromwich, 2). In public speeches, Lincoln addressed the issue multiple times, saying that it was a mistake and that such inhuman behavior demonstrated the Americans from the wrong side (Bromwich, 4). All the actions that the politician took were necessary, for he managed to balance the development of democratic rights and the abolition of slavery.
Yet, the politician discussed a lot about the immorality of the system and still was slowly implementing several changes against it and focused more on the economic issues of the country that was at the edge of revolution. Considering the suggestion that the former president made decisions according to the possible future outcomes and several strategies, it is possible that he was postponing the abolishment on purpose. If the slaves became free before the war, there would be less motivation and weighed reasons to participate in it. Since they had a goal to defeat their oppressors and finish the systematic slavery, black people voluntarily joined the army of the North, which Lincoln supported.
Overall, comparing both articles, there were detected several differences and similarities in the approaches to the historical events. Both articles claim that Lincoln was not concerned about slavery in the first place and acted intuitively, adapting to the situations. When the abolishment happened, the author of the first article believed the vital role played by the black people who became resisting the oppressors, ran from their houses, and joined the army to defeat the confederates. The second article mainly emphasizes Lincoln’s negative attitude toward slavery and some of his actions when he tried to use a reasonable strategy to make abolishment slaves. However, when addressing the issue of racism, it is crucial always to mention that black people made the main contribution to the fight against discrimination.
Sanchez, Adam. “Teaching the Complex History of Abolition and the Civil War.” American Educator, vol. 43, no. 3, 2019, pp. 35-37.
Bromwich, David. “Lincoln’s constitutional necessity.” Raritan, vol. 20, no. 3, 2001, pp. 1-33.