Lincoln was the first President not born in one of the thirteen original colonies. Also, he was the first President from the Republican Party. Prior to his election as President, seven Southern states had seceded from the Union. In his inaugural address on March 4, 1861, Lincoln reached out to the South by telling them he had no intention of changing slavery as it existed; but he held firm to the ideal that the Union be forever preserved and indissoluble. Soon after this, the Southern states banded together in their own Confederate Union. They demanded that the North abandon its garrisons in Southern territories, specifically naming Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, since it held strategic importance at the harbor to the city.…show more content… The Emancipation Proclamation was aimed only at those states at war with the Union, and did not effect slave-holding border states that did not join the Confederacy. More than an attempt to free the slaves, it was an attempt to re-join the country. The Proclamation was an important factor in turning the tide of the war. Not only did freeing the slaves deprive the South of manpower, but in the neighborhood of 186,000 former slaves joined the Union Army. Additionally, it changed the European 's perspective on the War from being about politics to being about principle. The northern defeats had tempted Britain and France to recognize the Confederacy; but the Proclamation made them reconsider.
After the Proclamation it continued to be an uphill battle for Lincoln, and the North lost many key battles. General Robert Lee, the commander of the Confederate Army, began a push into Pennsylvania to meet the Union in battle at Gettysburg. Lincoln had appointed General George Mead to defend the North. In early July 1863 the two armies met. More losses were sustained in that battle than in all the previous American wars together; but the North held the ground and won the day. July 5, 1863 was a banner day for the North, for on that day word came that General Ulysses Grant had also captured Vicksburg, a key Confederate position on the Mississippi River.