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Portrait of Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln late in the Civil War (LOC)

York CWRT to feature Lincoln talk on Feb. 19

Press Release, York CWRT:

On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.  This act has earned him the title “The Great Emancipator.”  Many have labeled him an “abolitionist” because of this act.  Lincoln, however, never accepted this label.

Lincoln was an anti-slavery leader throughout his entire political career.  His opposition to slavery was a result of his family life growing up and his early exposure to the realities of slavery.  As slavery became central to the political atmosphere of the time, Lincoln became more vocal in his opposition. He joined the anti-slavery Republican Party and became the central leader in Illinois.  Through his campaign against incumbent Stephen A. Douglas, Lincoln developed a national reputation as a moderate opponent to slavery.  Despite his lack of national or executive experience, Lincoln was able to use this reputation to earn the Republican Party nomination for President in 1860.

The month after Lincoln was sworn in as President, the Civil War began with the Confederate assault on Fort Sumter.  Lincoln initially declared that his goal in fighting the war was to restore the Union as it was.  As the war progressed, Lincoln came to the conclusion that to win the war, ending slavery would have to be an aim of the war.  In his view, it transformed from a battle to restore the Union “as it was” to restoring the Union “as it should be.”

Mr. Scott E. Rosenau will discuss these issues and the growth of Lincoln’s anti-slavery thoughts.

Come join the York Civil War Round Table at 7 pm on Wednesday, February 19 at the York County History Center (250 E. Market St.).  The program is free and open to the public.

Rosenau holds a B.A. in History from Indiana University and a Master’s degree in History from Penn State University.  He has been studying Lincoln for over 30 years with an emphasis on his political career and ideas.