Abraham Lincoln Abolitionist Analysis

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Abraham Lincoln had an evolution when it came to dealing with slavery. Many believe Lincoln was an abolitionist, so what is an abolitionist? An abolitionist is one who abhors slavery in every aspect, wants slavery ended, and all rights and privileges’ of the white man given to the black man. “They didn’t care about working within the existing political system, or under the Constitution, which they saw as unjustly protecting slavery and slave owners. Leading abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison called the Constitution a covenant with death and an agreement with Hell, and went so far as to burn a copy at a Massachusetts rally in 1854.” (Pruitt, 2012)
Now with the definition of an abolitionist known, we can address Lincoln’s evolution towards
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It set him apart because almost all abolitionists’ fought against the Constitutions’ dictate; abolitionists’ supported runaway slaves and were against those who would return a runaway slave. Lincoln personally did not like the hunting down of slaves to be returned to an owner. However his political support of the Constitution and the Fugitive Slave Law had to make it obvious that in the beginning, Lincoln was far from an abolitionist.
Also, as Lincoln ran for President in 1860 he promised to leave slavery as is, in the states that it currently existed. Lincoln did not believe that slave owners were evil; he just believed they were products of their environment. In a speech in Peoria in 1854 Lincoln said: “They are just what we would be in their situation. If slavery did not now exist amongst them, they would not introduce it. If it did now exist amongst us, we should not instantly give it up.” (Wilson, 2017)
The evolution of Lincoln being considered an abolitionist was about to come full circle. The Civil War was in full swing, and The Emancipation Proclamation was about to be
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As previously mentioned the Civil War and The Emancipation Proclamation was the key to Lincolns’ coming full circle on abolition and being considered an abolitionist.
Consequently, the Emancipation Proclamation did not immediately free a single slave. Yet, as abolitionist Wendell Phillips understood, Lincoln’s proclamation had moved slavery to “the edge of Niagara,” and would soon sweep it over the brink. Advancing Union troops became the agents of slavery’s destruction. “I became free in 1863, in the summer, when the yankees come by and said I could go work for myself,” recalled Jackson Daniel of Maysville, Alabama. As Lincoln now saw it, “the old South is to be destroyed and replaced by new propositions and ideas” — a system of free labor. (Henretta, 2016)

In conclusion, we see that Abraham Lincoln by definition was far from being an abolitionist at first. However, we see that his evolution from letting slavery be, to limiting slavery, and finally to completely abolishing slavery had come full circle. Lincoln will go down in history as the man whom abolished slavery in America, but to call him an absolute abolitionist may be pushing the
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