Impact On America Essay, Research Paper
Many people remember President Abraham Lincoln as being a very gifted speaker as well as a dignified leader of our country. Through his many speeches and writings, Abraham Lincoln captivated American minds and gained millions of followers. In Lincoln’s “Perpetuation speech,” given before the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois, in 1838, Lincoln himself stated that our country was in great danger. He speaks of people such as Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar and Napoleon and then asks, “Is it unreasonable to expect, that some man possessed of the loftiest genius, coupled with ambition sufficient to push it to its utmost stretch, will at some time, spring up among us?” In this, he shares his fear that some man with great ambition and power could exist in this country that is not satisfied with just the power of the presidency and strive for more than that. I believe that Lincoln had the power to be one of those people. When Lincoln’s orations and writings are carefully analyzed, one can see how he used his wit and intelligence to unite the American people. With his intelligence and immense popularity, Lincoln could have easily been one of the men that he spoke of. He used his gift as a speaker to get ahead and that, I believe, made him a threat to American society. Abraham Lincoln was a very popular man among the American people. He was there for the country through the Civil War, whether good or bad times. In the North he was the great emancipationist. Many loved Lincoln, and he could have used this to his advantage. One reason that he was so loved was because he had the ability to draw people’s attention with his speeches. After his assassination and the reaction of the American people, the fact that he was so loved was a surprise to some people in Washington. There was a three-week funeral procession where Lincoln’s body was taken to the big cities by a special train so that the people could mourn him. It is widely believed that popular Presidents of our country have been able to do many things, undisputed. “Our great Presidents have joyously played the political piano by ear, making up the melody as they went, “. This can be seen as a threat. Some presidents, Lincoln specifically, could use their power to do whatever they wanted. This power can be used to different degrees. A modern day example of the Presidential misuse of power is the Bill Clinton scandal. Lincoln, in the people’s eyes, was known as “Honest Abe,” and was trusted not to use his power to his advantage, although he very easily could have. Lincoln had the ambition and the talent to be a very powerful man. Abraham Lincoln was a great speaker as well. Lincoln had a talent for expression and he was by nature a literary artist. He was greater than a speaker. He had a gift with his pen, and that was the tool that he used to gain tremendous support from the people. He spoke to people, just throughout his daily activities, and one can see that he had very great confidence in himself and wanted to spread his ideals out into the American public. “In 1838 he carried his enthusiasm with him on his visits to the office of the county clerk. ‘He would come into the clerk’s office where some young men and I were writing and staying,’ the unnamed friend recalled,’ and would bring the Bible with him; would read a chapter and argue against it, ‘ “. This shows how Lincoln liked to spread his ideals. It also shows how Lincoln is trying to undermine the most cherished and followed book of more than half of the Americans. He must have thought very highly of his opinions to be arguing against the most important book of the American people. Lincoln argues his rights as president and makes excuses for his actions, and he was very good at it. During the Civil War, it was argued that Lincoln, as President, was not allowed under the Constitution to suspend the Writ of Habeas Corpus, which he did during that time. “Or if, as has happened, the executive should suspend the writ, without ruinous waste of time, in instances as arresting innocent persons might occur, as are always likely to occur in such cases; and then a clamor could be raised in regard to this, which might be, at least, of some service to the insurgent cause”. Lincoln could have been impeached for his actions during the Civil War. Through this statement, he is trying to justify his actions, although they were unconstitutional. As the President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln should be protecting the Constitution. However, he makes an exception for himself, and he tries to justify it later through his speeches. When looking at many of his speeches, one can see how Lincoln subtly drops hints about the extent of his power and he manipulates the people through his words. Lincoln changes the words around. At first, when he has the peoples’ attention, he tactfully describes the incident and refers to McIntosh respectfully as a mulatto. Later he calls him a Negro. He subtly slips this part in and not many people would normally catch it. Lincoln manipulates people to gain more supporters. In Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address in 1863, he quotes the Declaration of Independence, but he changes the words around very slightly for the times to fit his own purposes. “Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal”. Lincoln introduces the idea that our founding fathers brought forth a new nation. The word “nation” in this phrase is being used purposely at that time. During the Civil War the South did not think of themselves as part of the nation, but Lincoln would not recognize them as having seceded from the United States and being a separate nation, thus, using the word nation when referring to all of the states being bound together still. He also talks about the fact that we were, “dedicated to the proposition,” when in the real document, it said that those truths were to be held, “self-evident”. This is in a way trying to undermine the founders by saying that they had an idea to make everyone equal, but it would have never worked. This reflected the situation that they were now in, with the Civil War. It was something that the founding fathers had the chance to take care of long ago, but was never able to. Now Lincoln faced the same problem and was better equipped with the times to handle it. In the days of the drafting of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, the idea of abolishing slavery was thought to be impossible because of the situation. There were too many people in those days whose lives were dependent on slavery. Through Lincoln’s speech, he makes it seem as if all that the country needed was someone who could make things happen. This person would be himself. He does not mention the fact that the times had changed. He makes himself look better than the founding fathers with his change in the wording of the Declaration of Independence. This speech was given in front of 15,000 to 20,000 people. This was a very large audience and a huge opportunity for Lincoln to gain even more support. Lincoln uses many tactics in his speeches to get ahead, for his own personal uses. Lincoln was a very dangerous speaker. He could have easily used this power and his ability as a speaker to become one of those men that are not satisfied with just the presidency and could have tried to have more. I believe that for this reason, Lincoln was a threat to our society. However, the people did not realize this because he had them so entranced by his wonderful speeches and writings. At a normal glance, it looks as if there is nothing hidden in those speeches. When they are looked at a little more closely though, one can see how Lincoln used his immense talent to trick the people into supporting him. Through his beautifully crafted orations, Abraham Lincoln gained many followers.