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As sentiment for emancipation mounted, Lincoln was careful to keep complete control of the problem in his own hands. He sharply overruled premature efforts by two of his military commanders, Frйmont in Missouri and David Hunter in the Sea Islands off the coast of South Carolina, to declare slaves in their military theaters free. At the same time, the President urged the border states to accept a program of gradual emancipation, with federal compensation.

By midsummer of 1862, however, it was evident that these efforts would not be successful. Still troubled by divided Union sentiment and still uncertain of his constitutional powers to act, Lincoln prepared to issue an emancipation proclamation. Secretary of State William H. Seward, however, persuaded him that such an order, issued at the low point of Union military fortunes, would be taken as evidence of weakness. The President postponed his move until after the Battle of Antietam. Then, on Sept. 22, 1862, he issued his preliminary proclamation, announcing that after 100 days all slaves in states still in rebellion would be forever free. This was followed, in due course, by the definitive Emancipation Proclamation of Jan. 1, 1863.

Because the proclamation exempted slavery in the border states and in all Confederate territory already under the control of Union armies and because Lincoln was not certain that his action would be sustained by the Supreme Court, he strongly urged Congress to adopt the 13th Amendment, forever abolishing slavery throughout the country. Congressional action on this measure was completed in January 1865. Lincoln considered the amendment "the complete consummation of his own work, the emancipation proclamation."

Foreign Relations

Never having traveled abroad and having few acquaintances in the courts of Europe, Lincoln, for the most part, left the conduct of foreign policy to Seward. Yet, at critical times he made his influence felt. Early in his administration, when Seward recklessly proposed to divert attention from domestic difficulties by threatening a war against Spain and perhaps other powers, the President quietly squelched the project. Again, in 1861, Lincoln intervened to tone down a dispatch Seward wrote to Charles Francis Adams, the U.S. minister in London, which probably would have led to a break in diplomatic relations with Britain. In the Trent affair, that same year, when Union Capt. Charles Wilkes endangered the peace by removing two Confederate emissaries from a British ship and taking them into custody, Lincoln took a courageous but unpopular stand by insisting that the prisoners be released.

Wartime Politics

Throughout the war Lincoln was the subject of frequent, and often vitriolic, attacks, both from the Democrats who thought he was proceeding too drastically against slavery and from the Radicals in his own party--men like Charles Sumner, Benjamin F. Wade, and Zachariah Chandler--who considered him slow and ineffective. Partisan newspapers abused the President as "a slangwhanging stump speaker," a "half-witted usurper," a "mole-eyed" monster with "soul . of leather,""the present turtle at the head of the government." Men of his own party openly charged that he was "unfit," a "political coward," a "dictator,""timid and ignorant,""shattered, dazed, utterly foolish."

A minority president in 1861, Lincoln lost further support in the congressional elections of 1862, when Democrats took control of the crucial states of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. As the 1864 election approached, it was clear that Lincoln would face formidable opposition for reelection, not merely from a Democratic candidate but from rivals within his own party. Republican anti-Lincoln sentiment centered on treasury secretary Salmon P. Chase, who was working with the Radical critics of Lincoln in Congress. The Chase boom failed, however, chiefly because Lincoln insisted upon keeping the ambitious secretary in his cabinet. At the same time, Lincoln's own agents were working quietly to sew up the state delegations to the Republican national convention. Even Chase's own state of Ohio pledged to vote for Lincoln. Facing certain defeat, Chase withdrew from the race, but Lincoln kept him in the cabinet until after the Republican national convention, which met in Baltimore in June 1864.

Реферат опубликован: 9/09/2007