EJR did a bit of a thread-jack on another post in response to a statement I made regarding Lincoln being one of our greatest presidents. I'm bored, so I decided to copy/paste and start a thread about Lincoln. I'll start with EJR's post, and if anyone wants to play along (even just argue devil's advocate), have at it ... it will keep me from studying corporate tax or losing more money playing on-line poker. Actually I imagine most of the posters on this board will be happy to jump on your bandwagon concerning Lincoln. We do live in the south where there are still some who are angry about the Civil War. There are also many on this board who consider the exercise of power Lincoln wielded to maintain the Union as being the death knell to the republic (I actually agree with that sentiment somewhat, but do not see that he had any choice in the matter - I'll explain that later). So you probably will have more people "ditto-ing" your sentiments. As to the sideways assertion you made (that being school's textbooks and media informed my opinion concerning Lincoln), you would be incorrect EJR. My opinion concerning Lincoln was made the same way my opinion regarding FDR was made, by reading, thinking and coming to my own conclusion. In Lincoln's case I agree with the majority of historians concerning his presidency's status in history. In FDR's, not so much. I am glad to see that you are not attempting to make the argument that the secession was not due to slavery as many do. Most people attempt to make the claim that it was over state's rights, but that argument was not even postulated by the south until after the Civil War. As to your belief, the south immediately began steps to establishing a governing authority, repudiated the republic they were seceding from, armed and mobilized for war. Lincoln had only once choice if he wanted to keep the union from breaking apart and that choice was by force of arms. Slavery was the issue that dogged our republic from before we were even a nation. Every president up to Lincoln had to deal with the issue as it was part and parcel to political power up until the issue was decided by the Civil War. Most of Lincoln's immediate predecessors are seen as weak presidents for the very reason that they would not address the issue and essentially kicked it down the road for another administration to deal with. As to simply buying the slaves, that would not have worked. You are assuming that there was a ready replacement for slavery in the south. Slavery allowed the plantation system to exist. While technology would most definitely have made slavery eventually a poor choice economically, at the time of the secession the agri-business of the south was tied to slavery. Political power in the south was therefore tied to slavery. And on the national stage, expansion into the opening territories was also tied into politics as the south saw the opening of non-slave states as a threat to their political power on the national stage. So was it necessary for Lincoln to maneuver the south into war by having them fire on union land? Only if you think the constitution was not just another form of the articles of confederation which it replaced. Actually Lincoln would have kept slavery alive as an institution if the south had given him a choice. Early in his presidency he clearly stated that he would accept slavery if it kept the union intact. So did he really push for war? Or was he forced into it in order to protect the Constitution of the US ... which is, after all the oath he took upon taking office. All correct. Well, perhaps the bit about the strong federal government isn't. I have never read anything written by him or those near him which stated that his goal was a dominant federal power. Did his actions lead to the centralization of power in DC? I think that would be a fair statement, but again I saw that he had no choice, either he could have let the south walk away which meant the Constitution was a document of convenience or he could enforce it. As to the Emancipation Proclamation, the primary reason he did it was to attempt to get slaves in the seceded states to rise up and fight for the north. It wasn't until later that slavery as an institution was written into unconstitutionality nationwide. Yep, that is why you have so many people attempting to argue that the south seceded on state sovereignty when if you read the minutes of the state legislative debates as well as the secession documents (for those states that decided to write them) you find that in every instance it was slavery that was the crux of the decision. Now, to claim it was just about slavery is simplistic. But as I stated before, slavery was the basis of political power. It was the basis of the south's economic engine. And the expansion of slavery was the only way southern states saw that they could maintain a strong voice in the federal government. When the remnants of the Whigs combined with smaller single issue political parties (all of which were focused on abolition), and when their candidate won the election ... well the south saw it had no choice. At least the states that saw no choice beyond supporting slavery in order to maintain their economies and political power (remember slaves were counted as 3/5ths of a person). So, a new political party (republican), which was primarily made up of abolitionists nominated a candidate who ended up winning the election. The south therefore saw Lincoln as a threat, and that is why they seceded. Well, he was willing to let slavery remain an institution and that was not good enough for the south. What else could he have done? Well, to be honest the proclamation was not made to free slaves so much as it was to create anarchy in confederate held land. That is because their economy was based on slavery. Of course it would take a long time to recover when that basis was removed. As to Sherman, that is a discussion for another thread and I still don't know what I think about him. Sometimes I think he was ahead of his time in warfare, other times I consider him nothing more than a terrorist with an army at his back. Depends on what day you catch me. Again, he was willing to go against his party's wishes and allow slavery to remain an institution if it kept American from killing American. What else should he have done? Boo! I go and applaud you for rightly stating that slavery was a core issue to the secession earlier in your reponse and now you are claiming it was state's rights. Read the secession documents that exist EJR. Slavery is the preeminent reason given and in one case is the only reason given. Now to state a little something that I always find funny in arguments concerning Lincoln and the Civil War. Usually the people who lambast Lincoln in the south tend to love our seventh president Andrew Jackson. Yet, like presidents after him, Lincoln looked to history to help him decide what he should do when the south seceded. Specifically, he studied the nullification doctrine espoused by some southern states, especially South Carolina, which came to a head in 1833. Jackson clearly and unequivocally stated that he would use force to keep South Carolina in the union because he saw that allowing any state to dictate the terms of its remaining in the republic would destroy that US Constitution. And for all his faults, Jackson believed in the union above all else. When Lincoln was deciding what he should do when the southern states seceded, it was to Jackson and his fight with South Carolina 32 years earlier that he looked to. So, for those of you who despise Lincoln for using force to keep the southern states in the union (and it was successful as we are still in the union), keep in mind that he was taking the 7th president's arguments and making them his own.