By John F. Grabowski
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Additional info for Abraham Lincoln: Civil War President (Famous Figures of the Civil War Era)
Abe believed Polk had started the war to capture Mexican territory. Abe’s stand angered many Illinois voters. They felt he was taking the enemy’s side. His reputation was badly damaged. Before Abe accepted the nomination to Congress, he had agreed to serve only one term. In this way, other Whig candidates would have a chance to win the post. Abe thought he An Elected Representative of the People 31 In this drawing, American soldiers prepare for a battle during the war against Mexico. Abe disagreed with the war; his speeches on the subject angered the president and Congress because he seemed to be siding with America’s enemy.
It soon became obvious to Abe that slavery had to be abolished. Doing so would lead to a quicker end to the war. The freed slaves would be willing to enlist in the Union army, which would weaken the South. This raised another question. Did the president have the power to abolish slavery in states where it was legal? His advisors believed he did, because it was wartime. By July 22, 1862, Abe had made a very 53 54 ABRAHAM LINCOLN important decision. He told his advisors of his plan. He would issue a statement freeing the slaves in all states that did not return to the Union by January 1, 1863.
But the South did suffer an important loss. General “Stonewall” Jackson was killed in the battle at Chancellorsville. Jackson was Lee’s best general. Lee decided that the time was right for another assault on the North. Perhaps a major city like Baltimore could be eventually be captured. As Lee continued moving north, Abe put General George G. Meade in charge of Union forces. On July 1, 1863, the two sides met on the battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It was the turning point of the entire war.