It was a difficult time in the country, ending with the Civil War, yet Lincoln showed resolve and determination through it all. The purpose of this essay is to examine the attitudes that President Lincoln had about slavery and race before becoming President, coupled with the gradual shift in those opinions during his Presidency leading up to his eventual assassination.
As is the case with many an educated and rational thinking human being, Lincoln’s views toward certain social issues gradually evolved over time. Race and slavery are certainly no exception to his notion, as Lincoln implemented different policies as situations dictated. Interestingly enough, however, his personal views about the subjects did not radically change, but as he saw certain benefits to the country as a whole, he felt obliged to put country first, and his personal moral opinions second.
Lincoln never really expressed an inherent desire to abolish slavery before he was president. While he personally did not believe the practice should exist in the United States, he was a strict constitutionalist. This meant that the constitution at the time allowed states to permit slavery should they choose to do so, so he did not believe the federal government had any role in changing that. He did, however, see a difference between blacks and whites. On the issue of race, he did not support the position that blacks were entitled to the same rights and freedoms that whites had (Podgers 38). In a senatorial campaign in 1858, for example, Lincoln clearly stated, “I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races” (Davis 158). As senator, he openly opposed such issues as blacks being able to vote freely in elections and he did not think that they should be permitted to serve on juries either. Politically,