Among the presidents who ruled the United States of America from 1789 to 1900, President Abraham Lincoln made the greatest contribution by expanding the presidential power. He was born on the 12th of February, 1809 in Larue (the former Hardin) County, Kentucky. From 1861-1865, he was the 16th president of the United States of America and the first republican to be elected president (White, 2009). He was a self-educated lawyer, IllinoisState legislator and one a time member of the House of Representatives in the 1840s.
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Throughout his life, Lincoln opposed slavery; he received a lot of resistance from the south. After assuming office, seven of southern states declared their secession from the union. The separation of the southern states gave him a firm control over the congress; however, his main goal was to re-unite the nation. He concentrated on military and political dimensions of his government. This was a strategy to bring the south back to the union. To achieve this, he suspended habeas corpus, detained suspected secessionists without trial and spent government money without congress authority. In 1861, he handled the Trent affair avoiding the British recognition of confederacy (Grimsley, 2001). He closely supervised the war bringing leaders of different factions together and urged them to cooperate. His efforts saw him defeat the south and the capture of some of them back to the union. He was generous and flexible and encouraged the remaining southerners to lay down their weapons and peacefully re-join the union.
During his second term in power, he faced resistance from both the democrats and republicans. Republicans were more radical and demanded harsh treatment of the south. Democrats, on the other hand, requested for more compromise, some despised him and even plotted his death. Through his oratory powers, he pitied his rivals and called for unity. He encouraged the citizens to uphold the principles of nationalism, equal rights, democracy and liberty. On Friday, April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth assassinated him at Ford’s theatre thinking he was helping the south (Steers, 2010). His outstanding achievement is expanding political powers and territory as well as upholding integrity, honesty and protection of minority rights.
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