Lincoln Leads the Way

In 1861, eleven Southern states left the Union after the election of Abraham Lincoln as president. They believed that he would end slavery, even though he had not made any such promise. The Southerners went to war to protect their states’ rights, namely the right to own slaves. By the spring of 1862, Americans were entering the second year of the long and bloody Civil War (1861–1865) over that issue.

Lincoln believed that preserving the Union was his highest duty. That meant that he devoted most of his time and energy as president to winning the war. He did not, however, completely

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