Slavery is the main cause of the American Civil War, especially the Southern’s anger accompanied by the antislavery political forces exerted to block its expansion into the western territories by the Nothern. The slave owners in the Southern believed that if such restrictions on slavery came to practice, this would be a violation of the principle of states’ rights. Abraham Lincoln won the national election in 1860-he, however, did not receive a single vote from any Southern state-started the declarations of secession from the U.S caused by the slave states in the Deep South and the states’ formation of Confederate States of America. This paper is going to discuss Abraham Lincolns view for slavery as he said in his first inaugural speech delivered on 4th March 1861in Springfield, Illinois.
During this period, the white supremacy prevailed in the South, making slavery seem to be natural, essential and legitimate for a civilized society. By the 1850s, the Southern slaveholders together with the non-slave holders were increasingly encircled politically and psychologically in the political arena due to the rise of abolitionism and soilism in the Northern states. In his speech, Lincoln says he is not for abolitionism; rather, he believes that the already-existent slaves should not be abolished; but discourages further spread of slavery to other territories. He advocates for free labor; where a servant works for the employer of his choice and gets a pay, while the Southerners advocate for slavery; where slaves work and never receive a pay. He says there will be no violence nor invasion. He says he will, to the best of his ability, use the constitutional powers bestowed upon him to ensure that the laws are executed in all states faithfully.
The Southern highly depended on the North for commercial services, manufactured goods and loans. Lincoln believes the South does not have the right to secede because it is not lawful. He says that the Union was formed earlier than the constitution; by the Articles of Association in 1774. One of the reasons they established the constitution, in 1787, was to make the union more perfect. However, he says that if the destruction of the Union’s destruction by one state, or a part of it is lawfully possible, it would render the union worse than it was before the constitution since it will lose the element of perpetuity. Therefore, he concludes, no state can get out of the union upon its own motion.
He thinks that the secession is futile because the constitution disapproves it ; and there is no any government that can cut off itself from part of its state-the Northern and Southern all are one state governed by one president, and ,therefore, cannot be separated without an agreement by both.
Lincoln believes that according to the law, the presidents duties are to hold, occupy and possess places and property that belongs to the government and collection of duties and imposts. Additionally, he should ensure that the Union’ laws are executed faithfully in all the states. Lincoln intends to stop further spread of slavery; he wants it to diminish; though he does not intend to free the slaves right away. He plans to do this in a peaceful manner; with no hostility.