Segments descriptions
     
American Presidents Series
     
Sectionalism      

               Description: Lincoln

Sampler
Sectionalism
:          sampler  3í7Ē   (75í lecture)

Why is Lincolnís election in 1860 a fluke, and how does President Buchananís ineptness in the period before Lincoln takes office profoundly affect the nature of the Civil War?                                                                                           play sampler
 

 

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11.  James Knox Polk.  He achieves very significant expansion of American territory.  Texas, the entire southwest and southwest California is gained from the Mexican War.  He also negotiates the Northwest Territory in an 1848 treaty with England.
 

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12. Zachary Taylor.   He is a Southerner, a Mexican War hero, wins 1848 election.  He attempts to accommodation North-South sectionalism to maintain national perspective.  He dies 2 years into his term.
 

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13.  Millard Fillmore.  Completes Zachary Taylorís term, is a passive President, a pro-slavery Northerner.
 

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14.  Franklin Pierce.  A Democrat, elected in 1852, he does little to offend Southern slaveholders in the crucial pre-Civil War decade.
 

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15.  James Buchanan.  He also avoids offending Southern slaveholders as the country heads for civil war.  His inaction is incompetence. 

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16.  Abraham Lincoln.

A unionist.  Mythologized especially by African-Americans, in reality he is complex and contradictory.  Deals with blacks as equals on a one-on-one basis, but as an ambitious politician, tells audiences what they want to hear.  His own probable bi-polar condition contributes to stormy marriage with unstable wife, Mary Todd.  He opposes slavery but is a Unionist not an abolitionist.  .
 

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Civil War.  His election in 1860 begins secession crisis.  He responds to war crisis with strong measures, assuming dictatorial methods.  His Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 frees slaves in the Confederacy but not others.  He allows blacks to serve in Union Army.  Total war by Sherman and Grant leads to victory but also huge slaughter on both sides.  He imposes a generous plan for defeated South.  He lacks popularity until after his assassination.
 

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17.  Andrew Jackson.  From Tennessee, a slave state, Jackson is not an abolitionist.  He is not politically skilled and is an alcoholic.  The controversy of Reconstruction and the future of ex-slaves is over land for poor whites and ex-slaves.  His political and economic but not moral motives to keep his party in power create conflict with North.  He escapes removal from office by 1 vote.
 

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18.  Ulysses S. Grant.  He is considered a failure, lacking the confidence shown on the battlefield.  He is an alcoholic.  He is unwilling to enforce laws protecting ex-slaves.  There are scandals associated with his office.  His notable memoirs are assisted by Mark Twain.