Abraham Lincoln - A Portrait in Grief

Chapter Two

Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four




The obvious conclusion when examining Lincoln’s life is that the Civil War and its various qualities and ramifications both politically and personally, became the ultimate focus of Lincoln’s life and endeavors. He walked into his first term as President of the United States and stood figuratively at the edge of that abyss for almost four years to the day. 

His personality became much more amplified as did his emotional expressions once he arrived at the White House in the early spring of 1861. Not only did his emotional responses become more evident, but as the Civil War lingered on, the more a sense of spiritual reliance on God and an adherence to Biblical principals became more evident in Lincoln’s life.               

Lincoln and his family were affected emotionally, spiritually, and even physically by the constant impact and influences of the Civil War. Early in the war efforts one of Lincoln’s closest friends, Edward Baker, was killed in a conflict in October 1861. Lincoln had named his second son after Edward Baker. Lincoln got the news and was absolutely distraught. The loss of every soldier meant something to him, because that was his responsibility. Those men died because of orders and policies that he had implemented.(quotes by Josh Shenk and Michael Burlingame) [1]

It must be noted that during the Civil War Lincoln was very willing to give everything for the preservation of the Union, and ultimately he did. He set forth the humanitarian ideals that gave meaning to the conflict and inspiration to later generations[2].

Lincoln lived and breathed the efforts of the war and his ultimate desire to preserve the Union. Mr. Lincoln held to his personal convictions regarding slavery and how democracy and slavery could not continue to exist in the same governmental structure.

\He was not afraid of the sacrifice that was required of Him to win the war. He spent hours in the local telegraph office waiting for both the good news and the bad news of the various key military conflicts that he hoped would bring an end to the war. Lincoln was considered by both the North and the South to be a very strong leader who was known to not only push his own personal ability to endure, but also the legal boundaries of military and civil compliance the very edge so that the final outcome of each circumstance would be exactly as it was. It was a very long and difficult four years of his life for Lincoln and those around him.

The Civil War ended when General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant on April 9,1865 at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia[3]. Yet the bloodshed was not completely over and the grief within the Lincoln household would only intensify within a week. Both he and his family would soon come to the realization that just because there has been a public surrender that concludes a battle or war, the private aspirations of a single man and his co-conspirators may and often do continue forward in a vain attempt to reignite the passions of others who have conceded.    

[1] Jayanti, Vikram Lincoln (A&E Television Networks 2009) DVD AAAE172190LT5

[2] Freidel, Frank Our Country’s Presidents (Washington, DC, National Geographic Society, 1983) p.100

[3] Sutton, Robert K. The Civil War (Fort Washington Pennsylvania, Eastern National, 2014) p.16

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