In March 1861, when Abraham Lincoln took the oath as the sixteenth president of the United States, the country had been struggling with the question of slavery for years. Kansas was bleeding from it, laws had been broken over it and in early February, seven southern states had finally seceded because of it and formed the Confederate States of America. In Kansas, pro-slavery and anti-slavery partisans engaged in a bloody war for control of the territorial government. Prior to these events, the voters who supported Lincoln in 1860 preferred preserving the Union rather than abolishing slavery; however they both became major issues of his presidency following his election.
Contrary to many beliefs, the election of Lincoln was not the result of his followers, the majority of them being Republicans, wanting to completely remove slavery. He was known as the ?gGreat Emancipator?h and yet he did not publicly call for emancipation throughout his entire life. Actually, Lincoln denied continuously that he was an abolitionist. In two separate debates, he refused to believe that blacks should enjoy the privileges of American citizenship. Secondly, much as he hated slavery, he accepted it?fs the law of the land, which he held sacred, ?gas if the Almighty had written it in golden letters a yard high?h. Throughout his inaugural address in March of 1861, Lincoln gave additional evidence suggesting that as President he really had no intention of advocating emancipation. Lincoln insisted he had ?gno purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with slavery in the states where it already exists?h. He continued by stating he had neither the lawful right nor the inclination to do so. His speech plainly states without doubt that Lincoln?fs primary motive was not to abolish slavery. Instead, during the election campaign of 1860, Lincoln?fs highest priority had been to keep the country united. He felt that any decision he would make as president wou…


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