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Lincoln and Slavery

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‘Abraham Lincoln and Slavery’ 

The wisdom of the Bible tells us ‘in the writing of books there is no end’. In our time this seems true for websites as well. Yet with the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth (2/12/09), with the election of the first African-American President, and with our ongoing need for inspiration and insight from the 16th President of the United States, it is an opportune time for this website.

Abraham Lincoln viewed slavery as something he had always hated. Yet this was an institution that had always been on the American landscape. The founding fathers had written in the Declaration of Independence (1776) about ‘all men being created equal’ and of ‘certain inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’. But in the ratified US Constitution (1788), ‘We the People’ promoted the institution of slavery, even to the point that each slave was valued as three-fifths of a citizen in a state’s electoral proportion. 'Self-evident truths' of equality and self-determination from the Declaration were in conflict with 'creating a more perfect union' from the Constitution.  This national ambivalence carried into the 1860s, when injustice was established and domestic tranquility became Civil War.