Secession and inauguration
After the November election, secessionists planned to leave the Union before he took office in March. On December 20, 1860, South Carolina took the lead by adopting an ordinance of secession; by February 1, 1861, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas had followed. Six of these states declared themselves to be a sovereign nation, the Confederate States of America and adopted a constitution. The upper South and Border States-LRB- Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, and Arkansas-RRB- listened to, but initially rejected, the secessionist appeal. President Buchanan and President-elect Lincoln refused to recognize the Confederacy, declaring secession illegal. The Confederacy selected Jefferson Davis as its provisional President on February 9, 1861.
Attempts at compromise followed. Lincoln and the Republicans rejected the proposed Crittenden Compromise as contrary to the Party 's free-soil in the territories platform. Lincoln rejected the idea, saying,`` I will suffer death before I consent... to any concession or compromise which looks like buying the privilege to take possession of this government to which we have a constitutional right.''
Lincoln did tacitly support the proposed Corwin Amendment to the Constitution, which passed Congress before Lincoln came into office and was then awaiting ratification by the states. That proposed amendment would have protected slavery in states where it already existed. A few weeks before the war, Lincoln sent a letter to every governor informing them Congress had passed a joint resolution to amend the Constitution. Lincoln was open to the possibility of a constitutional convention to make further amendments to the Constitution.
A large crowd in front of a large building with many pillars.
March 1861 inaugural at the Capitol building. The dome above the rotunda was still under construction.
En route to his inauguration, Lincoln addressed crowds and legislatures across the North. The president-elect evaded possible assassins in Baltimore. On February 23, 1861, he arrived in disguise in Washington, D.C., which was placed under substantial military guard. Lincoln directed his inaugural address to the South, proclaiming once again that he had no intention, or inclination, to abolish slavery in the Southern states:
Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States that by the accession of a Republican Administration their property and their peace and personal security are to be endangered. There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. Indeed, the most ample evidence to the contrary has all the while existed and been open to their inspection. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of him who now addresses you. I do but quote from one of those speeches when I declare that`` I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.''
First inaugural address, 4 March 1861
Lincoln cited his plans for banning the expansion of slavery as the key source of conflict between North and South, stating`` One section of our country believes slavery is right and ought to be extended, while the other believes it is wrong and ought not to be extended. This is the only substantial dispute.'' The President ended his address with an appeal to the people of the South:`` We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies... The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.'' The failure of the Peace Conference of 1861 signaled that legislative compromise was impossible. By March 1861, no leaders of the insurrection had proposed rejoining the Union on any terms. Meanwhile, Lincoln and the Republican leadership agreed that the dismantling of the Union could not be tolerated.-LSB- Lincoln said in his second inaugural address:
Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the Nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came.
The Civil War
Lincoln at Antietam
Fort Sumter 's commander, Major Robert Anderson, sent a request for provisions to Washington, and the execution of Lincoln 's order to meet that request was seen by the secessionists as an act of war. On April 12, 1861, Confederate forces fired on Union troops at Fort Sumter and began the fight. Historian Allan Nevins argued that the newly inaugurated Lincoln made three miscalculations: underestimating the gravity of the crisis, exaggerating the strength of Unionist sentiment in the South, and not realizing the Southern Unionists were insisting there be no invasion.
William Tecumseh Sherman talked to Lincoln during inauguration week and was`` sadly disappointed'' at his failure to realize that`` the country was sleeping on a volcano'' and that the South was preparing for war. Donald concludes that,`` His repeated efforts to avoid collision in the months between inauguration and the firing on Ft. Sumter showed he adhered to his vow not to be the first to shed fraternal blood. But he also vowed not to surrender the forts. The only resolution of these contradictory positions was for the confederates to fire the first shot; they did just that.''
On April 15, Lincoln called on the states to send detachments totaling 75,000 troops to recapture forts, protect Washington, and`` preserve the Union'', which, in his view, remained intact despite the seceding states. This call forced states to choose sides. Virginia seceded and was rewarded with the Confederate capital, despite the exposed position of Richmond close to Union lines. North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas followed over the following two months. Secession sentiment was strong in Missouri and Maryland, but did not prevail; Kentucky remained neutral. The Fort Sumter attack rallied Americans north of the Mason-Dixon line to defend the nation.
States sent Union regiments south. On April 19, mobs in Baltimore, which controlled rail links, attacked Union troops who were changing trains. Local leaders ' groups later burned critical rail bridges to the capital. The Army responded by arresting local Maryland officials. Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus in areas the army felt it needed to secure for troops to reach Washington. John Merryman, a Maryland official involved in hindering the U.S. troop movements, petitioned Supreme Court Chief Justice and Marylander, Roger B. Taney, author of the Dred Scott opinion, to issue a writ of habeas corpus. In June Taney, acting as a circuit judge and not speaking for the Supreme Court, issued the writ, because in his opinion only Congress could suspend the writ. Lincoln continued the army policy that the writ was suspended in limited areas despite the ex parte Merryman ruling.
Union military strategy
After the Battle of Fort Sumter, Lincoln took executive control of the war and formed an overall Union military strategy. Lincoln responded to this unprecedented political and military crisis as commander-in-chief, using unprecedented powers. He expanded his war powers, imposed a blockade on Confederate ports, disbursed funds before appropriation by Congress, suspended habeas corpus, and arrested and imprisoned thousands of suspected Confederate sympathizers. Lincoln was supported by Congress and the northern public for these actions. In addition, Lincoln had to reinforce Union sympathies in the border slave states and keep the war from becoming an international conflict.
The war dominated Lincoln 's time and attention. From the start, it was clear that bipartisan support would be essential to success, and that any compromise would alienate factions on both sides of the aisle, such as the appointment of Republicans and Democrats to command positions. Copperheads criticized Lincoln for refusing to compromise on slavery. The Radical Republicans criticized him for moving too slowly in abolishing slavery. On August 6, 1861, Lincoln signed the Confiscation Act that judicial proceedings to confiscate and free slaves who were used to support the Confederates. In practice, the law had little effect, but it did signal political support for abolishing slavery.
In late August 1861, General John C. Frémont, the 1856 Republican presidential nominee, without consulting his superiors in Washington, proclaimed a very harsh martial law in Missouri. Lincoln cancelled the proclamation, saying its emancipation plan was political, lacking military necessity and a legal basis. After Lincoln acted, Union enlistments from Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri increased by over 40,000.
In foreign policy, Lincoln 's main goal was to stop military aid to the Confederacy. Lincoln left most diplomatic matters to his Secretary of State, William Seward. At times Seward was too bellicose, so for balance Lincoln maintained a close working relationship with Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Charles Sumner. The Trent Affair of late 1861 threatened war with Great Britain. The had illegally intercepted a British mail ship, the Trent, on the high seas and seized two Confederate envoys; Britain protested vehemently while the U.S. cheered. Lincoln ended the crisis by releasing the two diplomats. Biographer James G. Randall dissected Lincoln 's successful techniques: his restraint, his avoidance of any outward expression of truculence, his early softening of State Department 's attitude toward Britain, his deference toward Seward and Sumner, his withholding of his own paper prepared for the occasion, his readiness to arbitrate, his golden silence in addressing Congress, his shrewdness in recognizing that war must be averted, and his clear perception that a point could be clinched for America 's true position at the same time that full satisfaction was given to a friendly country.
Lincoln painstakingly monitored the telegraph reports coming into War Department. He tracked all phases of the effort, consulted with governors, and selected generals based on their success-LRB- as well as their state and party-RRB-. In January 1862, after many complaints of inefficiency and profiteering in the War Department, Lincoln replaced Simon Cameron with Edwin Stanton as War Secretary. Stanton centralized the War Department 's activities, auditing and cancelling contracts, saving the federal government$ 17,000,000. Stanton was a staunchly Unionist, pro-business, conservative Democrat who moved toward the Radical Republican faction. He worked more often and more closely with Lincoln than any other senior official.`` Stanton and Lincoln virtually conducted the war together,'' say Thomas and Hyman.
In terms of war strategy, Lincoln articulated two priorities: to ensure that Washington was well-defended, and to conduct an aggressive war effort leading to prompt, decisive victory. However major Northern newspapers demanded more-- they expected victory within 90 days. Twice a week, Lincoln met with his cabinet in the afternoon. Occasionally Mary would force him to take a carriage ride, concerned that he was working too hard. Lincoln learned from reading his chief of staff General Henry Halleck 's book, a disciple of the European strategist Jomini; he began to appreciate the critical need to control strategic points, such as the Mississippi River. Lincoln saw the importance of Vicksburg and understood the necessity of defeating the enemy 's army, rather than simply capturing territory.
After the Union rout at Bull Run and Winfield Scott 's retirement, Lincoln appointed Major General George B. McClellan general-in-chief. McClellan then took months to plan his Peninsula Campaign. McClellan 's slow progress frustrated Lincoln, as did his position that no troops were needed to defend Washington. McClellan blamed Lincoln 's holding troops back for his campaign 's subsequent failure. Lincoln went as far as meeting with General McClellan in his home to discuss matters privately. Once McClellan heard Lincoln was in his home, McClellan stay hidden away until Lincoln left.
Lincoln and McClellan
Lincoln removed McClellan in March 1862, after McClellan offered unsolicited political advice. In July Lincoln elevated Henry Halleck. Lincoln appointed John Pope as head of the new Army of Virginia. Pope complied with Lincoln 's desire to advance on Richmond from the north, thus protecting Washington from counterattack.
Pope was then soundly defeated at the Second Battle of Bull Run in the summer of 1862, forcing the Army of the Potomac back to defend Washington.
Despite his dissatisfaction with McClellan 's failure to reinforce Pope, Lincoln restored him to command of all forces around Washington. Two days after McClellan 's return to command, General Robert E. Lee 's forces crossed the Potomac River into Maryland, leading to the Battle of Antietam in September. The ensuing Union victory was among the bloodiest in American history, but it enabled Lincoln to announce that he would issue an Emancipation Proclamation in January. Lincoln had waited for a military victory so that the Proclamation would not be perceived as the product of desperation.
McClellan then resisted the president 's demand that he pursue Lee 's army, while General Don Carlos Buell likewise refused orders to move the Army of the Ohio against rebel forces in eastern Tennessee. Lincoln replaced Buell with William Rosecrans; and, after the 1862 midterm elections, replaced McClellan with Ambrose Burnside. Both were presumably more supportive of the commander-in-chief.
Burnside, against presidential advice, launched an offensive across the Rappahannock River and was defeated by Lee at Fredericksburg in December. Desertions during 1863 came in the thousands and increased after Fredericksburg. Lincoln promoted Joseph Hooker.
The midterm elections in 1862 cost the Republicans severe losses due to rising inflation, high taxes, rumors of corruption, suspension of habeas corpus, military draft law, and fears that freed slaves would come North and undermine the labor market. The Emancipation Proclamation gained votes for Republicans in rural New England and the upper Midwest, but cost votes in the Irish and German strongholds and in the lower Midwest, where many Southerners had lived for generations.
In the spring of 1863, Lincoln became optimistic about upcoming military campaigns to the point of thinking the end of the war could be near if a string of victories could be put together; these plans included attacks by Hooker on Lee north of Richmond, Rosecrans on Chattanooga, Grant on Vicksburg, and a naval assault on Charleston.
Hooker was routed by Lee at the Battle of Chancellorsville in May. He then resigned and was replaced by George Meade as Lee moved north. Meade followed Lee into Pennsylvania and beat him in the Gettysburg Campaign, but then failed to follow up despite Lincoln 's demands. At the same time, Grant captured Vicksburg and gained control of the Mississippi River, splitting off the far western rebel states. Emancipation Proclamation
The Federal government 's power to end slavery was limited by the Constitution, which before 1865, committed the issue to individual states. Lincoln argued that slavery would end by preventing its expansion into new territories. He sought to persuade the states to accept compensated emancipation in return for their prohibition of slavery. Lincoln believed that curtailing slavery would make it obsolete. Lincoln rejected Fremont 's two emancipation attempts in August 1861 and one by Major General David Hunter in May 1862, on the grounds that it was not within their power, and would upset loyal Border States.
On June 19, 1862, endorsed by Lincoln, Congress passed an act banning slavery on all federal territory. In July, the Confiscation Act of 1862 was enacted, which set up court procedures to free the slaves of those convicted of aiding the rebellion. Although Lincoln believed this was not within Congress 's power, he approved the bill in deference to the legislature. He felt such action could be taken only by the Commander-in-Chief, using Constitutional war powers, which he planned to do. Lincoln discussed a draft of the Emancipation Proclamation with his cabinet.
Privately, Lincoln concluded that the Confederacy 's slave base had to be eliminated. However, Copperheads argued that emancipation was a stumbling block to peace and reunification. Republican editor Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune agreed. Lincoln rejected this argument directly in his letter of August 22, 1862. Although he said he personally wished all men could be free, Lincoln stated that the primary goal of his actions as president-LRB- he used the first person pronoun and explicitly refers to his`` official duty''-RRB- was that of preserving the Union.
My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union... I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free.
The Emancipation Proclamation, issued on September 22, 1862, with effect on January 1, 1863, declared free the slaves in 10 states not then under Union control, with exemptions specified for areas under Union control in two states. Lincoln spent the next 100 days preparing the army and the nation for emancipation, while Democrats rallied their voters by warning of the threat that freed slaves posed to northern whites.
Once the abolition of slavery in the rebel states became a military objective, Union armies advancing south liberated three million slaves. Lincoln 's on the signing of the Proclamation was:`` I never, in my life, felt more certain that I was doing right, than I do in signing this paper.'' Lincoln continued earlier plans to set up colonies for the newly freed slaves. He supported this in the Proclamation, but the undertaking failed.
Enlisting former slaves became official policy. By the spring of 1863, Lincoln was ready to recruit black troops in more than token numbers. In a letter to Tennessee military governor Andrew Johnson encouraging him to lead the way in raising black troops, Lincoln wrote,`` The bare sight of 50,000 armed and drilled black soldiers on the banks of the Mississippi would end the rebellion at once''. By the end of 1863, at Lincoln 's direction, General Lorenzo Thomas had recruited 20 regiments of blacks from the Mississippi Valley.
Gettysburg Address-LRB- 1863-RRB-
Lincoln spoke at the Gettysburg battlefield cemetery on November 19, 1863. Defying his prediction that`` the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here'', the Address became the most quoted speech in American history.
In 272 words, and three minutes, Lincoln asserted that the nation was born not in 1789, but in 1776,`` conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal''. He defined the war as dedicated to the principles of liberty and equality for all. He declared that the deaths of so many brave soldiers would not be in vain, that slavery would end, and the future of democracy would be assured, that`` government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth''.
Grant 's victories at the Battle of Shiloh and in the Vicksburg campaign impressed Lincoln. Responding to criticism of Grant after Shiloh, Lincoln had said,`` I ca n't spare this man. He fights.'' With Grant in command, Lincoln felt the Union Army could advance in multiple theaters, and incorporate black troops. Meade 's failure to capture Lee 's army after Gettysburg and the continued passivity of the Army of the Potomac persuaded Lincoln to promote Grant to supreme commander. Grant stayed with Meade 's army and told Meade what to do.
Lincoln was concerned that Grant might be considering a presidential candidacy in 1864, as was McClellan. Lincoln arranged for an intermediary to inquire into Grant 's political intentions. Assured that he had none, Lincoln submitted Grant 's appointment to the Senate. He obtained Congress 's consent to make him Lieutenant General, a rank that had remained unoccupied since George Washington.
Grant waged his bloody Overland Campaign in 1864, with heavy losses on both sides. Despite this, when Lincoln asked what Grant 's plans were, the general replied,`` I propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer.''
Grant 's army moved steadily south. Lincoln traveled to Grant 's headquarters at City Point, Virginia to confer with Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman. Lincoln replaced the Union losses by mobilizing support throughout the North.
Lincoln Grant to target infrastructure-- plantations, railroads, and bridges-- hoping to destroy the South 's morale and weaken its fighting ability. Lincoln emphasized defeat of the Confederate armies rather than destruction-LRB- which was considerable-RRB- for its own sake.
In 1864 Confederate general Jubal Early raided Washington, D.C., while Lincoln watched from an exposed position; Captain Oliver Wendell Holmes shouted at him,`` Get down, you damn fool, before you get shot! ''
As Grant continued to attrit Lee 's forces, efforts to discuss peace began. Confederate Vice President Stephens led a group to meet with Lincoln, Seward, and others at Hampton Roads. Lincoln refused to allow any negotiation with the Confederacy as a coequal; his sole objective was an agreement to end the fighting and the meetings produced no results. On April 1, 1865, Grant nearly encircled Petersburg. The Confederate government evacuated and the city fell. Lincoln visited the conquered capital. On April 9, Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox officially ending the war.
Lincoln ran again in 1864. He united the main Republican factions, along with War Democrats such as Edwin M. Stanton and Andrew Johnson. Lincoln used conversation and his patronage powers-- greatly expanded from peacetime-- to build support and fend off the Radicals ' efforts to replace him. At its convention, the Republicans selected Johnson as his running mate. To broaden his coalition to include War Democrats as well as Republicans, Lincoln ran under the label of the new Union Party.
Grant 's bloody stalemates damaged Lincoln 's re-election prospects, and many Republicans feared defeat. Lincoln confidentially pledged in writing that if he should lose the election, he would still defeat the Confederacy before turning over the White House. Lincoln did not show the pledge to his cabinet, but asked them to sign the sealed envelope.
While the Democratic platform followed the`` Peace wing'' of the party and called the war a`` failure'', their candidate, McClellan, supported the war and repudiated the platform. Lincoln provided Grant with more troops and led his party to renew its support for Grant. Sherman 's capture of Atlanta in September and David Farragut 's capture of Mobile ended defeatism. The Democratic Party was deeply split, with some leaders and most soldiers openly for Lincoln. The National Union Party was united by Lincoln 's support for emancipation. State Republican parties stressed the perfidy of the Copperheads. On November 8, Lincoln carried all but three states, including 78 percent of Union soldiers.
On March 4, 1865, Lincoln delivered his second inaugural address. In it, he deemed the endless casualties to be God 's will. Historian Mark Noll claims this speech to rank`` among the small handful of semi-sacred texts by which Americans conceive their place in the world''. Lincoln said:
Fondly do we hope-- fervently do we pray-- that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man 's 250 years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said 3,000 years ago, so still it must be said,`` the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether''. With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation 's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan-- to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.
Reconstruction began during the war, as Lincoln and his associates considered how to reintegrate the nation, and the fates of Confederate leaders and freed slaves. Shortly after Lee 's surrender, a general asked Lincoln how to treat defeated Confederates. Lincoln replied,`` Let 'em up easy.'' Lincoln was determined to find meaning in the war even when it had passed, and did not want to continue to outcast the southern states. His main goal was to keep the union together. He planned to go forward not by focusing on who to blame, but on how to rebuild the nation as one. Lincoln led the moderates regarding Reconstruction policy, and was opposed by the Radicals, under Rep. Thaddeus Stevens, Sen. Charles Sumner and Sen. Benjamin Wade, who otherwise remained Lincoln 's allies. Determined to reunite the nation and not alienate the South, Lincoln urged that speedy elections under generous terms be held. His Amnesty Proclamation of December 8, 1863, offered pardons to those who had not held a Confederate civil office, had not mistreated Union prisoners, and would sign an oath of allegiance.
As Southern states fell, they needed leaders while their administrations re-formed. In Tennessee and Arkansas, Lincoln appointed Johnson and Frederick Steele as military governors, respectively. In Louisiana, Lincoln ordered General Nathaniel P. Banks to promote a plan that would restore statehood when 10 percent of the voters agreed. Democratic opponents accused Lincoln of using the military to ensure his and the Republicans ' political aspirations. The Radicals denounced his policy as too lenient, and passed their own plan, the Wade-Davis Bill, in 1864, which Lincoln vetoed. The Radicals retaliated by refusing to seat elected representatives from Louisiana, Arkansas, and Tennessee.
Lincoln 's appointments were designed to harness both moderates and Radicals. To fill Chief Justice Taney 's seat on the Supreme Court, he named the Radicals ' choice, Salmon P. Chase, who Lincoln believed would uphold his emancipation and paper money policies.
After implementing the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln increased pressure on Congress to outlaw slavery throughout the nation with a constitutional amendment. He declared that such an amendment would`` clinch the whole matter''. By December 1863, an amendment was brought to Congress. This first attempt failed, falling short of the required two-thirds majority on June 15, 1864, in the House of Representatives. Passage became part of the Republican/Unionist platform. After a House debate, the second attempt passed on January 31, 1865. With ratification, it became the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution on December 6, 1865.
Lincoln believed the federal government had limited responsibility to the millions of freedmen. He signed Senator Charles Sumner 's Freedmen 's Bureau bill that set up a temporary federal agency designed to meet the immediate needs of former slaves. The law opened land for a lease of three years with the ability to purchase title for the freedmen. Lincoln announced a Reconstruction plan that involved short-term military control, pending readmission under the control of southern Unionists.
Historians agree that it is impossible to predict exactly how Reconstruction would have proceeded had Lincoln lived. Biographers James G. Randall and Richard Current, according to David Lincove, argue that:
It is likely that had he lived, Lincoln would have followed a policy similar to Johnson 's, that he would have clashed with congressional Radicals, that he would have produced a better result for the freedmen than occurred, and that his political skills would have helped him avoid Johnson 's mistakes.
Eric Foner argues that:
Unlike Sumner and other Radicals, Lincoln did not see Reconstruction as an opportunity for a sweeping political and social revolution beyond emancipation. He had long made clear his opposition to the confiscation and redistribution of land. He believed, as most Republicans did in April 1865, that the voting requirements should be determined by the states. He assumed that political control in the South would pass to white Unionists, reluctant secessionists, and forward-looking former Confederates. But time and again during the war, Lincoln, after initial opposition, had come to embrace positions first advanced by abolitionists and Radical Republicans.... Lincoln undoubtedly would have listened carefully to the outcry for further protection for the former slaves... It is entirely plausible to imagine Lincoln and Congress agreeing on a Reconstruction policy that encompassed federal protection for basic civil rights plus limited black suffrage, along the lines Lincoln proposed just before his death.
Lincoln adhered to the Whig theory of the presidency, giving Congress primary responsibility for lawmaking while the Executive enforced them. Lincoln vetoed only four bills; the only important one was the Wade-Davis Bill with its harsh Reconstruction program. The 1862 Homestead Act made millions of acres of Western government-held land available for purchase at low cost. The 1862 Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act provided government grants for agricultural colleges in each state. The Pacific Railway Acts of 1862 and 1864 granted federal support for the construction of the United States ' First Transcontinental Railroad, which was completed in 1869. The passage of the Homestead Act and the Pacific Railway Acts was enabled by the absence of Southern congressmen and senators who had opposed the measures in the 1850s.
In July 1861 the US issued paper currency for the first time. The currency became known greenbacks, because it was printed in green on the reverse side.
Other important legislation involved two measures to raise revenues for the Federal government: tariffs-LRB- a policy with long precedent-RRB-, and a Federal income tax. In 1861, Lincoln signed the second and third Morrill Tariffs, following the first enacted by Buchanan. Also in 1861, Lincoln signed the Revenue Act of 1861, creating the first U.S. income tax. This created a flat tax of 3 percent on incomes above$ 800-LRB-$ 22,300 in current dollar terms-RRB-. The Revenue Act of 1862 adopted rates that increased with income.
Lincoln presided over the expansion of the federal government 's economic influence in other areas. The National Banking Act created the system of national banks. It also established a national currency. In 1862, Congress created the Department of Agriculture. In 1862, Lincoln sent a senior general, John Pope to put down the`` Sioux Uprising'' in Minnesota. Presented with 303 execution warrants for Santee Dakota who were convicted of killing innocent farmers, Lincoln conducted his own personal review of each warrant, eventually approving 39 for execution-LRB- one was later reprieved-RRB-.
In response to rumors of a renewed draft, the editors of the New York World and the Journal of Commerce published a false draft proclamation that created an opportunity for the editors and others employed at the publications to corner the gold market. Lincoln attacked the media about such behavior, ordering the military to seize the two papers. The seizure lasted for two days.
Lincoln is largely responsible for the Thanksgiving holiday. Thanksgiving had become a regional holiday in New England in the 17th century. It had been sporadically proclaimed by the federal government on irregular dates. The prior proclamation had been during James Madison 's presidency 50 years earlier. In 1863, Lincoln declared the final Thursday in November of that year to be a day of Thanksgiving.
In June 1864, Lincoln approved the Yosemite Grant enacted by Congress, which provided unprecedented federal protection for the area now known as Yosemite National Park.
Supreme Court appointments
Salmon Portland Chase was Lincoln 's choice to be Chief Justice of the United States.
Lincoln 's declared philosophy on court nominations was that`` we can not ask a man what he will do, and if we should, and he should answer us, we should despise him for it. Therefore we must take a man whose opinions are known.'' Lincoln made five appointments to the United States Supreme Court. Noah Haynes Swayne was chosen as an anti-slavery lawyer who was committed to the Union. Samuel Freeman Miller, supported Lincoln in the 1860 election and was an avowed abolitionist. David Davis was Lincoln 's campaign manager in 1860 and had served as a judge in Lincoln 's Illinois court circuit. Democrat Stephen Johnson Field, a previous California Supreme Court justice, provided geographic and political balance. Finally, Lincoln 's Treasury Secretary, Salmon P. Chase, became Chief Justice. Lincoln believed Chase was an able jurist, would support Reconstruction legislation, and that his appointment united the Republican Party.
Other judicial appointments
Lincoln appointed 32 federal judges, including four Associate Justices and one Chief Justice to the Supreme Court of the United States, and 27 judges to the United States district courts. Lincoln appointed no judges to the United States circuit courts during his time in office.
States admitted to the Union
West Virginia was admitted to the Union on June 20, 1863. Nevada, which became the third State in the far-west of the continent, was admitted as a free state on October 31, 1864.
Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth on Good Friday, April 14, 1865, while attending a play at Ford 's Theatre, five days after Lee 's surrender. Booth was a well-known actor and a Confederate spy from Maryland; though he never joined the Confederate army, he had contacts with the Confederate secret service. After attending an April 11, 1865, speech in which Lincoln promoted voting rights for blacks, Booth decided to assassinate the President. Learning of Lincoln 's intent to attend the play with Grant, Booth and his co-conspirators planned to assassinate Lincoln and Grant at the theater and to kill Vice President Johnson and Secretary of State Seward at their respective homes. Lincoln left to attend the play Our American Cousin on April 14. At the last minute, Grant decided to go to New Jersey to visit his children instead of attending the play.
Booth crept up from behind and at about 10:13 pm, fired at the back of Lincoln 's head, mortally wounding him. Lincoln 's guest Major Henry Rathbone momentarily grappled with Booth, but Booth stabbed him and escaped.
Lincoln was taken across the street to Petersen House. After remaining in a coma for nine hours, Lincoln died at 7:22 am on April 15. After death his face relaxed into a smile. Stanton saluted and said,`` Now he belongs to the ages.''
Lincoln 's flag-enfolded body was then escorted in the rain to the White House by bareheaded Union officers, while the city 's church bells rang. President Johnson was sworn in at 10:00 am, less than 3 hours after Lincoln 's death.
Booth was tracked to a farm in Virginia. Refusing to surrender, he was shot on April 26.
Funeral and burial
The late President lay in state, first in the East Room, and then in the Capitol Rotunda from April 19 through April 21. The caskets containing Lincoln 's body and the body of his son Willie traveled for three weeks on the Lincoln Special funeral train. The train followed a circuitous route from Washington D.C. to Springfield, Illinois, stopping at many cities for memorials attended by hundreds of thousands. Many others gathered along the tracks as the train passed with bands, bonfires, and hymn singing or in silent grief. Poet Walt Whitman composed When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom 'd to eulogize him, one of four poems he wrote about Lincoln. African-Americans were especially moved; they had lost` their Moses '. In a larger sense, the reaction was in response to the deaths of so many men in the war. Historians emphasized the widespread shock and sorrow, but noted that some Lincoln haters celebrated his death.