Powerful Presidents- Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln is known to many as one of the strongest presidents of the United States. He used his presidential powers beyond the level of what other presidents had done before. Succeeding presidents after Lincoln had powers passed onto them because of how strong presidents just assumed them and acted upon their will and judgment. By doing so, presidents like Abraham Lincoln had strengthened the role of the executive branch and the president. Lincoln had strengthened his powers as president during a time when it was greatly necessary; he did so during the Civil War. It was a difficult time and despite what others, including his cabinet, thought, he made decisions that he felt were just and good for the country.
During the Civil War, important decisions had to be made and Congress was not in session. Decisions had to be made to confront the many problems occurring during the Civil War. He suspended certain constitutional liberties in order to make the required decisions. He had spent funds that Congress had not appropriated and blockaded Southern ports. Also, he banned “treasonable correspondence” from the United States mails. Lincoln had done this under his title of commander in chief. His responsibility was to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”
Lincoln also did things, which can’t be done by presidents today. He had officially declared war on the South without a formal declaration. The formal declaration would mean he would go through Congress and he would have to wait for them to approve. However, he went ahead and declared war on the Confederates. This act by Lincoln ultimately caused many deaths in the Union and the Confederacy but it was what was needed to end the division between the United States. Through his decisions, Lincoln had ended the Civil War and reunited the Union and the Confederacy.
President Lincoln further showed how he showed and used his power by making actions involving his cabinet. His cabinet is formed of a group of advisors who help make Lincoln make decisions. However, in Lincoln’s case, it seemed their advice was unnecessary. When Lincoln was reading the draft of the Emancipation Proclamation, he had convened his cabinet to do so. He showed his lack of concern for their opinion by telling them, “I have gotten you together to hear what I have written down. I do not wish your advice on the matter, for that I have determined myself.” This showed how much authority and power Lincoln took. Also, when his cabinet had voted unanimously on a vote against it, Lincoln had simply gone against it with his sole vote.
Lincoln was truly one of the strongest presidents of our nation’s history. He took power into his own hands during what was possibly the most difficult time for the nation. When the country had gone against itself, the North against the South, the nation needed a leader with the aggressiveness to take lead. Lincoln did so by doing what he knew was necessary. He didn’t always heed the advice from his cabinet and chose his thoughts over all others. His Emancipation Proclamation prohibited slavery and changed the history of the role of African Americans. Through his decisions, the nation could be reunited and problems able to be solved. Lincoln used his power wisely and set a path so presidents after him could have more power and do what is necessary when the country was in peril.
West American Government
Abraham Lincoln a biography