The Principles Of American Politics

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Principles of American Politics Dr. Foss 17 October 2014 Lincoln and Liberty In January of 1861, when Lincoln penned his musings on the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, he likely did so with no small amount of uneasiness. Though he had recently gained the presidency by a landslide, the country continued to be bitterly divided over the future of slavery in the United States. Barely one month later, the outrage over Lincoln’s elevation to the highest office in the land would motivate the first seven of the southern states to secede from the Union, an action which would ultimately lead to the Civil War. Lincoln’s valiant efforts during the conflict to save the nation immortalized his place as one of our finest national heroes (McPherson 170-202). Unfortunately, when the conflict is viewed through the lens of our modern society, we often overlook what was at stake, and why our country was polarized with a zeal never before seen in our short history. Lincoln’s brief notes reveal that he was well aware of what was at stake: our country’s identity. Lincoln correctly saw that our country’s core principles and convictions are defined in the Declaration of Independence, and that the Constitution is a vital but subordinate engine by which those fundamental beliefs are to become a reality.
In order to more fully understand the role of the Constitution in American society, we must first look to the Declaration of Independence, specifically, how the founders viewed both
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