The Importance of the Rhetoric of Abraham Lincoln

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The Importance of the Rhetoric of Abraham Lincoln Introduction The real importance of the rhetoric of Abraham Lincoln derives not only from the words he used, but the time in which they were said. It was a crucial time in America’s history, with slavery and succession threatening freedom and the Union itself. There is little doubt that without the turmoil that existed at the time, President Lincoln’s importance would not resonate through time as it has, as there would be no exigency for such rhetoric and action. Equally without Abraham Lincoln there is no way to know how the United States of America, or perhaps more likely, the United and Confederate States of America would have developed, nor how long slavery would have been a part of American history. House Divided Speech, June 16th 1858 In this prophetic speech Lincoln foreshadows the deep division that occurred between the northern and southern states in saying A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. He further shows his opposition towards slavery in denouncing the ending of the Missouri Compromise’s ban on slavery in Kansas and Nebraska and the Dred Scott, which he say as another step in the direction of spreading slavery into Northern territories. Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858 The 1858 debates between Democrat Douglas and Republican Lincoln previewed the issues that Lincoln would face in the aftermath of his victory in the 1860 presidential election. The main issue discussed in all seven debates was slavery, an issue of monumental importance to citizens across the nation. Once again Lincoln expressed opposition to Dred Scott decision
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