essay – 2300 words

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Instructions: Using George McGovern’s Abraham Lincoln, write an essay that answers all of the following questions:

  • Lincoln’s personal history. What professional and political experience did Abraham Lincoln accumulate before becoming President? (Ch.1—Humble Beginnings, pp.15-29; Ch.2—Making of a Statesman, pp.30-35)
  • The main conflict between North and South that led to war.
    What was the Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854)? The Dred Scott decision
    (1857)? Why did each one bring Lincoln out of private life and
    “rekindle” his political career? (Ch. 2—Making of a Statesman, pp.35-41)
  • Why saving the Union was important.
    What arguments did Lincoln make against southern secession? In what
    ways did he repress civil liberties during the war and otherwise
    “stretch the limits of presidential authority”? (Ch.3—Lincoln and the Union, pp.48-63)
  • Freeing the slaves.
    McGovern states that the Emancipation Proclamation “transformed the
    meaning of the war and redefined…the notion of freedom in America.”
    What was Lincoln’s early attitudes toward slavery and racial equality?
    On what grounds did he justify emancipation? (Ch.4—Lincoln and Emancipation, pp.64-72)
  • How the North won the war.
    McGovern states that Lincoln began the Civil War advocating “limited
    war” but later replaced it with “total war.” What does he mean by
    these? How did Generals Ulysses S Grant and William Sherman implement
    the policy of total warfare? (Ch.5—Lincoln and Total War, pp.80-87, 92-96)
  • Republican reform. What major domestic reforms were passed during Lincoln’s 1st and 2nd terms? (Ch. 7—Rising Above the Fray, pp.119-122)

Further Instructions:

  • Your essay must be typed and double-spaced.
  • Use Question-Answer format—write out the question, then write a short essay answering it. Do that for each question.
  • Use quotes and page citations (essays that don’t will be graded down).
  • All answers must come from the McGovern biography. Don’t use outside sources.
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