Political Goals of Lincoln upon the Secession of the Southern States

What were the immediate political goals of Lincoln upon the secession of the southern states? What political efforts did Lincoln employ to end the war early?

The secession of Southern States was highly predictable before the election of Abraham Lincoln as the US President. Southern States openly declared that they will exit the union, in case of the election of Lincoln as the US President because his attitude to slavery and his open pro-abolitionist position was absolutely unacceptable to the South and threatened to the foundations of Southern economy. This is why the secession became the logical outcome of the US elections, but the secession ultimately resulted in the Civil War which Lincoln attempted to prevent immediately after the secession.

Therefore, the major immediate goal of Lincoln after the secession of the Southern States was to prevent the military conflict between the North and the South. He needed to have the political platform to negotiate with the Southern States. This is why he did not accept the secession and insisted on the ongoing negotiations and political solution of contradictions between the federal government, which he headed, and the Southern States which have declared their secession from the union.

Another important goal Lincoln pursued after the secession was the legitimacy of him as the President of all of the states that comprised the union and the legitimacy of all of his actions, including the use of the military power against the rebellious states. He had managed to preserve his legitimacy as the US President since neither he nor the Congress recognized the secession of the Southern States. Instead, the Southern States declared their secession but, as Lincoln had never accepted the secession, their exit from the union was not legitimate, while Lincoln remained the legitimate President of the US. As a result, all his actions were legitimate too.

One more immediate political goal of Lincoln after secession was to consolidate the rest of the nation and to suppress the rebellion as soon as possible. Lincoln could not admit the transformation of the rebellion of the Southern States into a long-run military conflict. This is why he attempted to use all political tools and the military to accelerate the defeat of the South.

In addition, it was important for Lincoln to isolate Southern States and deprive them of any international support or recognition as independent states at the international level. The latter would open an opportunity for Southern states to receive the official financial, military and other support from other nations. The involvement of foreign powers into the inner conflict would definitely put Lincoln and the Northern States in a difficult position. This is why he focused on the international isolation of the Southern States.

Lincoln attempted to prevent the war as he refused to accept the secession of Southern States that opened the opportunity for the political dialogue between him as the US President and leaders of Southern States that declared their independence. To put it more precisely, the refusal to accept the secession was an important step to the last negotiation opportunity and prevention of the large scale military conflict which was the Civil War. As the President did not accept the secession, he implicitly suggested Southern States to look for a compromise between them and the federal government headed by the US President.

However, Southern States did not use that opportunity to prevent the Civil War and insisted on the secession and started building up their military potential and enhance their strategic position in case of the further confrontation with the North. In such a situation, Lincoln had no other option but to launch the large scale military offensive against the South to restore the territorial unity of the US and to suppress the rebellious forces in the South (Jaffa 187). The rejection of the political way of the solution of the conflict between the federal government and Southern States give Lincoln the ground for the military offense. He did not accept the secession. Hence, Southern States had no legal ground for any independent policies and actions until their independent status was legally defined. As Southern States disobeyed and started independent policies, Lincoln had got the legal ground and reason for the use of the US army to suppress the rebellion and to stop the disobedience of Southern States, whose political and military leaders have stopped to obey to the federal government, as they were supposed to under the US Constitution, and conducted independent domestic, international and military policy as independent states but not as members of the union.

As the Civil War started, Lincoln concentrated his efforts on finding the effective military leader, who could head the Northern Army to victories and to manage the supply and military campaign against the South. His actions were planned and carefully prepared. He attempted to accumulate the military power at the beginning of the war and avoided aggressive military steps probably in a hope to end the war early. He did not launch a sort of Blitz Krieg but instead focused on preparation to change the balance of power between Nortehrn and SOuhtern states. If Northern states managed to enhance its position consistently in a short time as Lincoln attempted them to do, Southern states could have surrendered in face of the superior power of the North that would have made the war virtually pointless.

Works Cited:

Jaffa, Harry V. A New Birth of Freedom: Abraham Lincoln and the Coming of the Civil War. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000. ISBN 0-8476-9952-8

The terms offer and acceptance. (2016, May 17). Retrieved from

[Accessed: October 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016.

[Accessed: October 27, 2021]

freeessays.club (2016) The terms offer and acceptance [Online].
Available at:

[Accessed: October 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: October 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: October 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: October 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: October 27, 2021]
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