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In the last decade before the Civil War, three presidents—Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierceand James Buchanan —tried to pacify Southern extremists to prevent secession and open warfare. They all failed, and history judges them harshly for that failure. But it was the election of Abraham Lincoln in November that tipped the balance and sent the nation into war.

Believing strongly that secession was unconstitutional and determined to hold the Union together, Lincoln chose to fight.

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He believed the rebellion would be limited in scope and quieted in short order. No one on either side foresaw the disaster ahead. Slavery was the leading issue and the ordinances of secession from the newly formed Confederate states document that the South saw the protection and expansion of slavery as the locus of its rebellion. Preservation of the Union was his focus, and to accomplish this he sidestepped discussion of federally imposed emancipation. Lincoln claimed that the authority to outlaw involuntary servitude and emancipate the slaves rested with the states, not with the federal government.

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Thus, he tried to convince the slaveholding border states that remained loyal to the Union, including Missouri, Maryland, Kentucky, and Delaware, to set the example for their Southern kinsmen by voluntarily emancipating their slaves. It is wrong, a great evil indeed, but the South is no more responsible for the wrong done to the African race than is the North.

He drafted legislation hoping to have it introduced before the Delaware legislature but the bill was defeated.

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Only the District of Columbia eventually initiated compensated emancipation as part of a bill ed in April There were other reasons Lincoln viewed the border states as important in his political and military strategy. Maryland was the access corridor to Washington, D. Keeping each of these states in the Union was a constant challenge: none more so than Missouri.

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Like his predecessors, Lincoln tried throughout his presidency to resolve the internal strife in Missouri that weakened it as a military ally and drained off federal resources desperately needed elsewhere. As Lincoln laid the groundwork for his presidential campaign, he visited the troubled Kansas Territory in December and perfected a speech about slavery that he would later deliver to wide acclaim at the Cooper Union in New York City.

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Learn more. Violence between slaveholders and non-slaveholders erupted along the Missouri-Kansas border with enactment of the Kansas-Nebraska Act inseven years before the attack on Fort Sumter. To quell the bloodshed in Kansas and ading territories, President Buchanan dispatched federal troops to Kansas Territory.

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Cross-border raids continued even after Kansas entered the Union as a free state in January The outbreak of war fewer than 45 days later further complicated the political landscape as combatants wrapped themselves in the flags of the Union or the Confederacy to justify continued violence. Missourians were divided on the issue of secession.

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He personally favored secession, but short of that led the state legislature to vote for armed neutrality, mirroring the Kentucky model. Armed neutrality meant that no Union or Confederate forces could enter Missouri or transit its borders, nor would Missouri allow its militia to be commandeered into the federal army. He then demanded the federal arsenal in St.

Louis be turned over to the state militia. When Union General William S. Price and his men surrounded the St. Meanwhile Lincoln gave Francis Blair Jr. General Harney initially refused to muster the recruits from his paramilitary unit into the regular army, which so angered Blair that he convinced Lincoln to recall Harney. Harney, on learning of his recall, traveled to Washington and convinced Lincoln and his advisers to reinstate him.

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Lyon, who had a reputation for rashness, immediately began to take draconian steps to protect the Union from those he categorized as traitors. Both Lyon and his Unionist Home Guard and Price with his Missouri State Guard claimed to be protecting the interests of Missouri: one appointed by the President, the other by the governor.

The generals took sides in a power struggle between the federal government and the government of Missouri. Should Missouri answer the call for troops despite its claim to neutrality?

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If neutral, did the United States federal government have the right to interfere with the internal workings of the state and station Union troops from other states within its borders? Finally, how could the citizens of neutral Missouri be protected from guerrilla attacks from within its borders and from without?

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Lincoln was new to the presidency and to leadership. He was easily influenced by whoever approached him with a compelling argument and as easily dissuaded by equally persuasive counterarguments. At the time he was seen, even by his supporters, as adrift. The decisiveness Lincoln displayed in organizing the Union response to the assault on Fort Sumter evaporated.

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He educated himself in military tactics and rid himself of feckless generals. Additional realignments would be necessary, but Grant and Sherman were beginning to emerge as the effective military leaders the Union needed. At the end of the year, General William Rosecrans won a decisive Union victory at Murfreesboro, which gave the Union a strong foothold in Tennessee.

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Despite his leadership gaffes in the beginning, Lincoln managed to hold the border states for the Union. True to his word, when he issued the Emancipation Proclamation in January he exempted the border states from its provisions. On November 1,shortly before Congress passed the 13th Amendment in JanuaryMaryland finally outlawed slavery.

In Missouri, Governor Thomas Fletcher eliminated slavery by executive order on January 11, - after Congress passed the amendment but before it was enacted.

Abraham lincoln delivers state of the union address

On December 6,slavery became illegal in all states. Interestingly, Delaware did not ratify the amendment until and Kentucky withheld ratification until Fortunately, these later votes were not necessary because the 13th Amendment had already been ratified December 6, Long after Robert E. For years, the bitterness and violence that began with the Kansas-Nebraska Act continued as renegades like the Youngers and the James brothers kept the engrained grievances alive and created new ones. To the very end, Lincoln tried to help reconcile the Missouri factions.

For example, in February he suggested, to the new Missouri governor Thomas Fletcher that he call local meetings at which citizens would agree to set aside their differences and look to the future.

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It would be a generation before the old grudges would even begin to be forgotten. Some argue that despite all logic they linger still, simmering just below the surface.

Abraham lincoln delivers state of the union address

Foner, Eric. New York: W. Norton, Harris, William C. Lincoln and the Border States: Preserving the Union. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, Fehrenbacher and Virginia Fehrenbacher Stanford, Calif. Monks, William. John F. Bradbury Jr. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, Phillips, Christopher.

Jonathan Earle and Diane Mutti Burke. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, Von Drehle, David. Keating, Deborah. The Kansas City Public Library. The missouri-kansas conflict You are here Encyclopedia. Timeline Event Lincoln-Douglas Debates. Lincoln Reelected. Harriet Beecher Stowe Meets Lincoln.

Ex parte Milligan.