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You are to read Chapters 11 and 12 in the lectures that I have attached on presidents Thomas Jefferson to Ulysses Grant.You are going to choose Two of the following presidents: Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson James Polk or Abraham Lincoln read the website on your chosen presidents: Thomas Jefferson: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.Thomas_Jefferson; Andrew Jackson: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Jackson (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.;; Abraham Lincoln: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_Lincoln (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.and finally James Polk: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_K._Polk (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

(paragraph 1) You are going to compare your TWO presidents as leaders, with their domestic policy, with their foreign policy. Remember that Polk and Lincoln were also war presidents and should be evaluated as war leaders.You are going to rate these two presidents by the following categories: High, above average, average, below average or poor.

( paragraph 2) Finally you are going to rate which of the early presidents from Washington to Grant as the best president and why.

I need about a paragraph and half (maybe a page) on this discussion.

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JACKSON TO TAYLOR The election of 1828 was turning point in American political history. It was a repeat of the election of 1824 with John Quincy Adams facing Andrew Jackson. Many consider this the real beginning of modern politics. This was the first election in American history in which there were no restrictions on voting; you did not have to be a property owner or you did not have to possess a certain amount of money. This was the first open election and the farmers of America would take advantage of this situation. Plus this was the first major personality election in which voters would learn about the private lives of the candidates and would become much more interested in their lives and their images than the real issues. Dirty politics or mudslinging really began with this crucial election of 1828. There were numerous stories about both candidates. And many of these stories were true. Stories focused upon the cold personality of John Quincy Adams and how he was such an extreme loner. Stories told of his best friend being his dog and his nude bathing in the Potomac River. Other stories told of his problems with his wife and his children. During his presidency, there was the purchase of a pool table for the white house; critics called it a gaming table. They indicated that with government funds a pleasure table was placed in the white house. One story even called Adams a pimp and said that he arranged women for his foreign guests. There were many stories also about Andrew Jackson and most of these stories were also true. It is an understatement to say that Andrew Jackson was one of the most colorful individuals ever to run for president. There were the stories about his smoking habits; he smoked a great deal and if he knew that you did not like smoking, he would often blow smoke right in your face. Some called him Mr. Chimney. There were stories about his drinking of alcohol and how he liked to party with his friends. He was called by his friends: King Dung because he and his friends would often fall down outside the tavern after a long evening of drinking and roll in the horse manure. Actually he is considered the only president to be featured on the label of a bottle of hard liquor. He is found on the bottle of Old Hickory, bourbon whiskey. Stories told about his bad temper and how he liked to fight and how he liked to fight duels. Stories told that he was a womanizer and how he married a pregnant women named Rachael who was already married and was never divorced. He was always very sensitive about this situation and would readily fight to defend her honor. Stories circulated about his career in the military and how he would often display a bad temper to his men. There were many stories about his health since he had two bullets in his body from his military career and these bullets had poisoned his system and caused him to be very thin and to have numerous illnesses, especially constant bouts of diarrhea. But this man Andrew Jackson appealed to the farmers-common people- of America. He had the habits of common people and it is those common people who elected Jackson in 1828 in what is considered the most popular election in our history. A higher percentage of eligible voters voted in this election than any other election in our entire history. Andrew Jackson was elected as the most popular man ever and would leave office in 1836 as an extremely popular president. Was Jackson really a common man when he was elected president or was this just an image? There is no doubt that the origins of Jackson were common and that the habits of Jackson were common. Jackson was the first president to be born in a log cabin in the frontier. He had little formal education and his family was a poor farm family. He held many jobs as he was growing up and then joined the army and rise quickly within the military. He became an Indian fighter with his battles against the Creeks during the War of 1812; and he became a military hero as the upset winner of the Battle of New Orleans during that same war. When the war was over, Jackson became a successful attorney and plantation owner. The Hermitage is the plantation home of Jackson in Tennessee. Visit his plantation home at: http://www.hermitage.org/mans.htm He was then elected to the senate and in 1828 was elected president of the United States. It is true that he was wealthy when he was elected president. But he never forgot his common origins and his common man habits kept him in touch with the common people. He was more common than not. Andrew Jackson was responsible for the third and last road to the white house in our early history. His political formula that would last for years in known as the Jackson formula. It is a four part formula that involved: a. being born in a log cabin, b. being a farmer, c. being an Indian fighter, and d. being a military hero. After Jackson's election, it would be difficult being elected president without having some part of this formula. The part of being a military hero would become the important and longest lasting part of this formula. There would be many military hero presidents after Jackson. Andrew Jackson's election in 1828 is called the rise of common people into politics. While Jackson is considered the most popular president in our early history, he is also the most democratic president in our early history. Jacksonian Democracy has to do with the opening of the basic system of government to common people. There are many examples of how the government became more accessible to common people during the presidency of Jackson. Jackson was elected president in 1828 by average people who voted for the first time; other common people also came into politics. Take Davy Crockett, for example; he is part of the Jacksonian Democracy. Here is a man from the west who had relatively little education and yet he was elected to congress. The inauguration of Andrew Jackson is another example of the democracy; thousands of farmers came to Washington, D.C. to share in the victory of Jackson. This was the first victory for farmers in our history. As Jackson gave his inaugural speech, no one could hear what he was saying as people were yelling, " Andy, Andy." They wanted to touch Jackson and get close to Jackson; they followed him into the white house for the inaugural party and they nearly tore the white house apart. Newspapers described the inauguration day of Andrew Jackson as being similar to the invasion of Rome by the barbarians. Jackson himself made policies which made the system more democratic. He drastically expanded the spoils system and brought more average people into government. He established a system called rotation where he took men who had been involved in government for years and who held important positions in government and he gave them new jobs of lesser importance as he brought his people into government. He also created the first unofficial cabinet; this cabinet was referred to as the kitchen cabinet, because his friends met with him in the kitchen of the white house and gave him advice. Jackson was the most popular of the early president and Jackson was the most democratic of the early presidents. In fact, Jackson's presidency may have featured the high point of democracy in our entire history. Jackson is referred to as a president of majority politics. He came in on a high and he left on a high. His policies were extremely popular and they appealed to a large number of people. There were three major policies of Jackson that contributed to his popularity. We have already discussed the Indian policy of Jackson. Jackson instituted the successful but tragic policy of Indian removal. The removal of Indians from the eastern United States was a very popular policy but a very controversial one. He changed the direction of Indian policy and his staff members began to institute new Indian treaties of removal. His economic policy was also extremely popular but also controversial and is open to criticism today. Andrew Jackson had a severe dislike of banks. In 1819 during the depression he had money in a Tennessee state bank and that bank went out of businesses. He not only disliked banks but he had an intense dislike of bankers. When he became president he found that he had to deal with the National Bank of the United States. This bank was initially an idea of Alexander Hamilton to give the wealthy more control over the economy. It was a government bank owed by both the government as well as the wealthy. It was started under George Washington and had been rechartered in 1816. Jackson had a real dislike of this national bank and of the director of that bank Nicholas Biddle. Jackson even said that Biddle smelled of money. The wealthy feared Jackson and wanted him out of office in 1832. They actually came together under the leadership of Henry Clay from Kentucky and formed a rival political party known as the Whig party. The Whigs were aware of Jackson's attitude toward banks in general and toward the National Bank in particular. They planned to make the National Bank a campaign by getting Biddle to apply for the renewal of the bank before the election of 1832. The recharter bill passed congress in the summer of 1832 and this bill was vetoed by Jackson. He did it for personal reasons and for the fact that he felt that the bank gave the wealthy too much control of the economy. This became a major issue in the election of 1832 when Jackson faced Whig leader Henry Clay. The bank was the major issue of the campaign but it did not stop Jackson from being elected for a second term. Jackson now interpreted his election as a popular mandate to proceed against the National Bank that still had four years left. He started removing federal funds from the bank and began depositing them in select state banks. The National Bank had been the major agent in aiding business, in stabilizing the currency, and in curbing inflation. That institution was virtually dead and now inflation and land speculation increased. Problems with the sale of public land led to weakened confidence in state banks. By 1837 there were be a depression and the economic policies of Jackson were greatly responsible for that depression. While Jackson's veto of the National Bank was a popular one, it was not a smart one from an economic standpoint. But this depression would occur after Jackson left office and it was a problem for his successor. Jackson's best day was president was his handing of the Nullification Crisis. South Carolina was in the midst of a cotton depression during the presidency of Jackson; those in South Carolina were convinced that the main reason for the economic crisis was the high tariff sought by northern factory owners that restricted foreign products from coming into the United States. South Carolina, in particular, blamed the Tariffs of 1828 and 1832 for their present problems. South Carolina now passed a nullification ordinance in which the state decreed that the national tariffs did not apply and could not be collected in South Carolina and that the use of federal force was grounds for secession. Here we another crisis between the federal government and the south. Jackson's response was strong and immediate in this nullification crisis. He ordered the federal forts in South Carolina to be on immediate alert. He issued a message to Congress in which he recommended a reduction in the tariff. He then issued a Proclamation to the People of South Carolina in which he stated that nullification was an impractical absurdity, that the sovereign and indivisible federal government was surpreme, and that no state could refuse to obey the laws of the land or could leave the union. Finally he stated that disunion by armed force is treason. In South Carolina they called him "King Andy", while most Americans were impressed with his strong, immediate response. The crisis ended when a compromise tariff was introduced in congress. Jackson had become a very powerful leader during this crisis and most experts consider this the high point of his presidency. Jackson had come in on a high and would leave on a high. He is the sickest president in American history and is one of the most personal and biased. Yet he is rated the most popular and democratic president in our early history. While some of his policies are questionable such as his Indian policy and his economic policy, he remained the ultimate president of majority politics. Here are details on the life and presidency of Jackson: http://odur.let.rug.nl/~usa/P/aj7/about/bio/jackxx.htm He gave more people policies which they wanted. And there is no question the most impressive aspect of his presidency was his handling of the nullification crisis. His popularity allowed him to hand pick his successor in 1836. The Whig party nominated a series of candidates so that the Democrats could not get a majority and so the election would again be in the House of Representatives. The Democrats turned to an experienced politician who was vice president during the second term of Jackson: Martin Van Buren. Van Buren was the choice of Jackson and that was all the farmers needed to know. Plus Van Buren pledged that he would follow the policies of Jackson. In 1836 Van Buren was elected the 8th president of the United States. Martin Van Buren was known as the Little Magician for his success at power politics. He was the first career politician to be elected president. This wealthy man with a Dutch background was very different from Jackson and that would hurt his presidency. Jackson was a wealthy man with common man habits; Van Buren was a wealthy man with wealthy man habits. He did not relate well to the common people and he was continually compared to Jackson. Davy Crockett said it best when he said that Van Buren was as opposite to Jackson as dung is to a diamond. But the major problem that Van Buren would face would be the Depression of 1837. Van Buren is known in our early history as the depression president. The Panic or Depression of 1837 was caused by Jackson's economic policies. He killed the national bank and put money in state banks. The only real control on the economy was gone and the economy went crazy. Cotton prices fell by one half; unemployment rose along with rent, food and fuel prices. Several banks began to close; public land sales fell. Many viewed Van Buren as being very unsympathetic to the common people during this depression. Van Buren resonded with an Independent Treasury System in which money would be taken away from state banks and put in a federal government treasury system. But this system was found to be ineffective. The effects of this depression would last during the entire term of Van Buren as president and it would remain as his major unsolved problem. And it would cause Van Buren to remain a below average rated president. The election of 1840 would again feature the evolution of modern politics. The elections of 1800 and 1824 are similar because these were the only two elections ever held in the House of Representatives. The elections of 1828 and 1840 were similar in the evolution of modern politics. By the election of 1840 party lines began to disappear; parties would now resort to tactics that would lead to victory. The Whig Party now decided to use the Jackson Formula of the Democratic Party. The Whigs knew that Van Buren was unpopular because of his wealthy man habits and because of the depression. They knew that the Jackson Formula appealed to common people so they nominated William Henry Harrison. He was not born in a log cabin or involved with farming, but he was an Indian fighter and military hero. He had defeated the nation of Tecumseh at the Battle of Tippecanoe. The Whigs also decided to create a political slogan that would help win the election: "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too." This slogan referred to the victory of Harrison at the Battle of Tippecanoe and also referred to John Tyler from Virginia who was attempting to get the Southern vote. The Whigs also decided to turn this campaign into the log cabin campaign. They invented log cabins songs and sponsored log cabin parties and men and women wore log cabin clothing and Harrison threw parties in a large log cabin in which hard cider, the log cabin drink was served. The Jackson Formula worked for the Whig party and in 1840 William Henry Harrison became the first Whig president in American History. William Henry Harrison is the only non-rated early president. He wanted to give the image of toughness, so when he went to his inauguration in weather below zero, he wore little clothing. He also gave one of the longest inauguration speeches in history because he spoke so slowly. He now developed a bad cold which became pneumonia and he died in office after only one month. He had the shortest term in our entire history. The doctors bled him and blistered him and even used opium, but their efforts failed. Harrison is now the first president to die in office and John Tyler of Virginia becomes the first accidental president. Refer to this short biography of the first Whig president Harrison at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/WH/glimpse/presidents/html/wh9.html Who is this John Tyler? Few Americans knew him. He would become the second Whig president and another below average rated president. John Tyler was a states rights Whig. This means that he stood against most of the major politics of his party such as the restoration of the national bank and national roads and canals. During his three years as president he constantly frustrated the politics of his own party and members of his party even talked seriously in congress of impeachment. The legacy of Tyler is that he weakened and split his party. Some of his speeches clearly indicated his philosophy and policies: http://www.intac.com/~rfrone/history/p10-jt.htm He accomplished little as president and he is to be remembered for few decisions. One of the more interesting facts of the Tyler presidency is that he became the first president to marry in the White House; of course, this marriage raised many questions because he married a woman thirty years younger than he was. There is no question that Tyler hurt his party and caused Henry Clay, the leader of the party, to run for president in 1844. This loss in 1844 would make Clay the only three time loser in our early history. The Democrats, however, really lacked a leader in 1844 and they now nominated a political unknown called a darkhorse. After many ballots they turned to James Polk from Tennessee. Many Americans had no idea who this Polk was, but they were impressed with the platform of the Democratic Party. The period of the 1840s is known as the era of manifest destiny in our history; this means in simple English that this was a period of land greed, expansion, and imperialism. Americans wanted to expand west and the Democratic platform promised the acquisition of the Pacific Northwest from England the acquisition of the Southwest from Mexico. This popular platform led to the election of darkhorse James Polk; this political unknown became one of our highest presidents in only one term and he is one of the strongest foreign policy presidents in our early history. Polk is both a land president and a war president. He was a good domestic leader and worked well with congress, but his real accomplishments lay in foreign policy. Polk first tried to get the Pacific Northwest from England. In those days the Pacific Northwest included the present areas of British Colombia, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Oregon. In 1818 the United States and England made an agreement of joint occupancy which allowed both countries to occupy this area. England was the country that took this agreement seriously and set up a series of fur trading posts run by the Hudson Bay Company in this region. The United States now had only a minor claim to this region; some Americans lived in the region of Oregon. But this minor claim would not stop aggressive James Polk. Polk let England know that he wanted all the Pacific Northwest and would get it. He created the slogan: "54 40 or fight" which meant that if they did not give us all the Pacific Northwest, we would go to war and get it. James Polk used the tactic of power diplomacy with England and it worked. Plus he was a very smart negotiator. He knew that England needed American wheat; he knew that the British fur trade in the area was in decline. And he knew that England would not go to war for a region so far removed from England. His power diplomacy worked and led to the Oregon Treaty of 1846. This was one of the most successful treaties in our history. This treaty gave us the present Pacific Northwest. We got much more of this region than we deserved and this is due to the aggressiveness and power diplomacy of Polk. Polk now turned to the Southwest region owed by Mexico. He thought that power diplomacy would also work with Mexico, but Mexico was still unhappy about losing Texas to the United States. So the Mexican government refused to participate in negotiations. Polk now decided that war with Mexico was necessary. He used the Texas border dispute as an excuse for war and in 1846 he became our second war president and one of our best early war president. This Mexican War can only be explained in terms of land greed and imperialism. We wanted land from Mexico and we felt that their military was weak, so we decided to go to war with Mexico and to take the land. In this period of manifest destiny, Americans supported this war of imperialism. Polk was correct in his analysis of the Mexican military and after some early defeats of the Mexican army in northern Mexico, Polk now expanded the war goals and tried to get as much of Mexico as possible. We eventually invaded central Mexico and captured their capitol. We had invaded and conquered Mexico and now Polk sent diplomat Nicholas Trist to negotiate for Mexican land. Trist was a realist and he put together the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in which we purchased the American Southwest. Polk was not happy with Trist or this treaty. But he supported the treaty, but he did not allow Trist to be paid for his diplomatic services. Years after Trist's death, his widow was sent money and a letter of apology. James Polk did not run for president in 1848. He had become a very popular and powerful president, but he said that he achieved what he wanted to achieve and he left office. Polk is rated high as president. Many today will question his tactics and even call him unethical. But he lived up to the platform of the Democratic Party and he acquired the west coast of the United States through power diplomacy and war. He was a successful land president and a successful war president. His decision not to run for president hurt the Democratic Party and now they turned to weak candidate Lewis Cass. The Whig Party had won on the Jackson Formula and they nominated another military hero. This time it was the military hero of the Mexican War: Zachary Taylor. Taylor was a Southerner from Louisiana who was also a plantation owner. He had been a career military man and had absolutely no political experience or understanding of politics. He was also very cheap. When a telegram was sent to him collect to inform him that he was the choice of the Whig Party for president, he refused to pay for the telegram. Eventually he read in a newspaper that he had been nominated for president. The Jackson Formula worked again and Taylor would become the third Jackson Formula president. Zachary Taylor became president during the period known as the coming of the Civil War. He is also the first of four president known as the four stooges who as a group make up one of the weakest periods for the American presidency. Taylor will be followed by Fillmore and Pierce and Buchanan and then the Civil War would begin. TAYLOR TO GRANT The election of 1848 featured the beginning of a weak presidential period in American history. The four presidents before the Civil War as known as the four stooges of early American history and they were responsible for the coming of the Civil War because as a group they created a power vacuum at a critical time in our history. The stooges begins with the election of Zachary Taylor, the military hero of the Mexican War. Taylor came at a time when the nation needed a strong president because congress was becoming increasingly split between north and south. But they would not get a strong president with Zachary Taylor. He was a strange mix of slave owner and supporter of a strong national government. Yet he provided little leadership in his two years as president and was not a politician. Experts would tell us that he is really the first career military man to become president in our early history. During a crisis in congress over the expansion of slavery into the nearly acquired southwest area, he opposed the expansion of slavery, yet he was a slave owner. Generally he tended to avoid decisions and in the summer of 1850 he ate unripe cherries and milk. He got very sick and died in office. For years it was believed that he died of acute indigestion, but recently there were stories of how he was poisoned. So in 1991 his body was exhumed and tested and it was discovered that he was not poisoned, but he died of natural causes. Here are the results of the Taylor scientific investigation: http://www.ornl.gov/ORNLReview/rev27-12/text/ansside6.html It seemed strange that he would have been poisoned, for he made few enemies while he was president. Taylor was the third Whig president and is rated low as president. He now joins John Adams in the lowest category. When Taylor became the second Whig president to die in office, Whig Millard Fillmore now became president. Many Americans still today ask the question: Who is Millard Fillmore? He is actually the most forgotten of the early presidents. Fillmore was a lawyer from Buffalo, New York. He had been born and raised in New York state and had some political experience having served in the House of Representatives. But he was known as a weak speaker and weak politician. When he became president, even his father questioned his leadership qualities. Fillmore continued the Taylor tradition; he generally avoided decisions and was a weak leader president. He did support the uneasy Compromise of 1850 that solved few problems and he was rejected by his party in 1852. But by 1852 the Whig party was slowly beginning to fall apart. It is believed that the only real fact to remember about the Fillmore presidency is that he became the first president to put a bathtub in the white house. So we have this picture of Fillmore taking a bath as the nation continues to fall apart. Fillmore is also rated low along with Taylor. The election of 1852 featured the Whig candidate who was another military hero from the Mexican War General Winfield Scott. The Whigs had won two elections with the Jackson formula and they now hoped that they could win a third election with the Jackson formula. But Scott was known as a heavy drinker and this would hurt his chances. Some also felt that his lack of political experience would help push the nation toward war. The Democrats in 1852 nominated another darkhorse; their first darkhorse candidate James Polk has become a very strong president in foreign affairs. The Democrats also wanted to offer a candidate who would keep the nation together. In essence the Democrats offered a "safe" candidate in 1852. The darkhorse was Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire. Pierce was a virtual unknown in 1852 and did little campaigning. But the Democrats supported the Compromise of 1850 which eased sectional problems in congress, while Scott was a questionable candidate. In 1852 Franklin Pierce was elected the fourteenth president of the United States. Franklin Pierce had some political background in state and national politics, but he entered office in a very nervous state for his young son had just been killed in a train wreck. Plus he was married to a very dominant woman. Pierce made few decisions as president and those ideas he has created more tension between north and south. He discussed the idea of buying Cuba and making it a Southern state, so he seemed to be pro-South and to be interested in extending slavery. On the other hand, he supported the Kansas Nebraska Act which allowed people in Kansas to decide on whether they wanted slavery or not. This led to fighting in Kansas between northerners and southerners and created "bleeding Kansas." Franklin Pierce was to be a safe president, but he was not particularly safe. He was dominated by his wife, his ideas created more tension, and he was rejected by the Democrats in 1856. He is rated a below average president. It is during his presidency that the Whig party divided into a Southern group and a Northern group and disappeared. This is the end of the 2nd Republican party; there are been four Whig presidents: two died in office and two were accidental presidents. These four presidents are little remembered in American History. All of the Whig presidents are rated lower and have little influence on our history. It was also during the presidency of Pierce that a new party started in the Midwest. This was initially a regional party and the name of the party was the Republican Party. This party stood against two evils: the expansion of slavery and the Mormons. In 1856 this new Republican Party nominated explorer John Fremont for president. He called himself "the glamour boy" of American politics, but his appeal was regional. The only national party with national appeal was the Democratic party. This party nominated the best of the four stooges: James Buchanan. He was elected in 1856 and now this Pennsylvania native became president at a critical time in our history. Buchanan had a very capable political background he moved from state to national politics; he was Secretary of State under Polk and Minister to England during the presidency of Pierce. He was an honest hardworking politician who wanted to keep the national together, but he did not have the leadership or ability to accomplish that difficult task. He is to be remembered as the last gentleman president with his old style of dress. He is the only bachelor president in American history and some recent research indicates that he may have been gay. He had eye problems that made him appear cockeyed and he was obsessed with detail. He spent time researching the job of a man who seems to have ripped off the federal government for a little money; he himself once refused a check for thousands of dollars because it was off by one cent. Buchanan came at a very difficult time in our history and is rated average often for his efforts to overcome the impending crisis ahead: the Civil War. He seemed to rely on the courts to make decisions that would keep the nation together. Actually the supreme court with the Dred Scott Decision made matters worse when it ruled that slavery could exist anywhere in the United States. He had an excellent background in foreign affairs, but this was not a time for foreign affairs, it was a time for extraordinary leadership. Buchanan did not possess that leadership. He talked of the improving economy and then the economy suffered a depression. His policies were inactive during this economic crisis. Actually Buchanan did too little too late to cause the Civil War to be avoided. Many historians feel that by the time of Buchanan the Civil War was virtually inevitable or unavoidable. Even the unity of the Democratic Party had fallen apart by 1860. There was a northern Democratic candidate and a southern Democratic candidate. The Republican support was primarily in the north and west. Of course, the fact that the Republicans took control of the House of Representatives in 1858 also led to the frustrations of Buchanan as president. The election of 1860 was a sectional or regional election. The election of Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln became the immediate cause of the Civil War. Southern states now became to leave or secede from the union. This was the final tragedy of the presidency of James Buchanan. He knew that secession was illegal but he decided that the federal government had no power to stop the southern states from leaving the union. So James Buchanan just watched as the nation fell apart. When Abraham Lincoln became president, he faced a real crisis: the nation was split. He now had to bring the union back together. It is difficult to describe the life of this man Abraham Lincoln. There is more written about Abraham Lincoln than any person in the history of the world except for Jesus Christ. And the myths connected with Lincoln are more numerous and more believable than the myths connected with the life of George Washington. We know that Lincoln is the most commercialized person in American History; there are more monuments and tributes to Lincoln than anyone else. He is so far the only president to be featured in Disneyland and Disney World. He was a natural literary genius; he had an excellent sense of humor and he has become one of the most hated and criticized presidents in our entire history. Who is this man: Abraham Lincoln and what are some of the myths connected with him? It is true that Lincoln was born in a log cabin, but he was born in Kentucky, not Illinois. His family was a farm family that moved to Indiana where his mother died. Lincoln here received little education, he said, "less than a year altogether." But he had the basics of reading and writing. His father remarried and the family now moved to Illinois. At age 22 Lincoln left home and moved to New Salem, Illinois, near Springfield. It appeared that he had problems with his father and he spoke little of his father the rest of his life. He tried various occupations at this time and even served briefly in the Indian war the Black Hawk War. The Lincoln myth includes his honesty and his obsession with learning. There were numerous stories about Lincoln as an honest child; one of those stories involved his going to the store during a blizzard for his mother. He returned home with one cent too much in change. He then walked back through the blizzard to return that money because he was so honest. His obsession with learning also involved a series of stories such as his reading at night by the fire in the fireplace and his plowing fields during the day and reading a book on top of the plow at the same time. Again his honesty was evident even though he had such an obsession for learning. One day he dropped a borrowed book in the mud when he was plowing. He was so upset, he worked at various jobs to pay for the cost of the book. Lincoln has also been pictured as a role model for hard work and success. Actually he disliked manual labor. He did not like farming and he did try many jobs such as working on the building of a railroad, and as a river boatman and even as a store owner, but he failed at these jobs and then he turned to politics. As with the Washington myth, the stories about Lincoln and his early life cannot be substantiated and they are believed to be false. In 1832 Lincoln became a member of the Whig party and was elected to four successive terms to the Illinois legislature. He now became a lawyer and moved to Springfield, where he built a successful practice. Now he met Kentuckian Mary Todd who became his wife; they had four sons but he outlived all of them but two. Lincoln now was elected to the House of Representatives as a Whig politician; he was one of the leading voices against the Mexican War. He then returned to law in Springfield. By this time in his life Lincoln did not believe that the federal government had the power to end slavery where it existed, but he did believe that slavery should not be allowed to be extended outside of the South and into the new territories in the West. He now joined the nearly formed Republican Party and he ran against Democrat Stephen Douglas for the senate seat from Illinois. The Lincoln-Douglas political debates are among the best political debates in our history. While Lincoln was not appointed to the senate, he did achieve much publicity. Lincoln was the choice of the Republican Party in 1860 and was elected as president. His election would cause southern states to leave the union and would lead to the beginning of the Civil War. The Lincoln Myth involves his honesty, his hard work, his obsession with learning, his ideal relationship with his family even though he was raised by a stepmother and talked little with his father after he left home, his tendency for democracy even though he was a Whig, and the myth focuses on the fact that he was shot on Good Friday. For years he was pictured as the American Christ and for years Easter was called Black Easter. Abraham Lincoln was the sixteenth president of the United States and he had one of the most difficult tasks of any president: to bring the union back together. Abraham Lincoln was the third war president at a time when the four war president was Jefferson Davis the president of the Southern Confederacy. An evaluation of Lincoln as president will focus on his role as the president of the Civil war and will focus on how he solved the basic problems of that war. By the time that he had become president seven southern states had seceded from the union. He immediately decided to send supplies to Fort Sumter in the Charleston, South Carolina, harbor. This fort was a symbol of federal authority in the state that had first left the union. South Carolina tried to prevent those supplies and fired on the fort on April 12, 1861, and the Civil War began. Abraham Lincoln was similar to James Madison in that he did not have a military background or a good understanding of the military. He tried to understand the military and tried to be a good commander in chief by reading books about military planning and strategy. There is no doubt, however, that Lincoln mishandled the military and was often at odds with his military commanders. Take George B. McClellan, for example; McClellan was initially supported with much enthusiasm by Lincoln, but McClellan never lived up to his potential. Still Lincoln stayed with him too long. It was only late in the Civil War that Lincoln developed a chain of command idea in which he began to give more authority to military leaders and in which he took a less direct role in military strategy and planning. Lincoln finally created the role of what a modern war president should be. Lincoln was also accused of being a tyrant and dictator for violating the civil rights of many Americans and for also violating the constitution. There were over 13,000 arbitrary arrests during his presidency and there was even a fear that he would postpone the election of 1864. Of course, the Democrats were greatly responsible for exaggerating Lincoln's suppression of civil liberties. In defense of Lincoln, he solved the basic problems of war and was an outstanding war president and war politician. Lincoln had an outstanding war cabinet that included all of his major rivals for the Republican nomination for president in 1860. William Seward was Secretary of State, Salmon P. Chase was Secretary of the Treasury, Edward Bates was Attorney General, and Edwin Stanton was Secretary of War. This cabinet often disagreed with him and caused him many problems, but it is viewed as one of the strongest war cabinets in our history. Another major problem for Lincoln was the manpower problem. Every war in our history up to that time had been fought by volunteers; Lincoln initially turned to the use of volunteers, but he refused to use black volunteers. The Civil War was the bloodiest war in American history and the volunteers began to decrease in number. Lincoln now created the draft system to solve the manpower problem. This draft system was highly criticized and even led to riots throughout the North, but it was successful in solving the manpower problem. In addition, Lincoln did use blacks in the military. Finances were a major problem for Lincoln and for the north. Lincoln used taxes in the wealthy to get money to support the war effort; he also turned to the sale of government war bonds. Up to that time in our history paper money was of different sizes and different colors. Lincoln decided to stabilize the currency by making money all the same size and color; he created the greenback dollars that we use today. Lincoln handled the finances of war very well. One of the most difficult areas for Lincoln was for him to get support for the war cause. He needed support from the wealthy in the north and from those in the West. Here Lincoln became a very capable war politician by working with Congress and getting laws and programs passed that would cater to the wealthy in the north and to those in the West. He restored the National Bank; Washington had established this bank, Jackson had killed it, and Lincoln brought it back. He also got congress to pass a high tariff-tax on imports- that would favor the wealthy factory owners. For those in the West, he was able to get congress to pass the Homestead Act which gave those in the West 160 acres of free public land. He also supported education in the West by a land grant policy of giving land for state colleges throughout the west. He was able to get support from key elements in the north and west. As the Civil War was dragging along and while there was pressure on Lincoln to end the war, Lincoln became an outstanding war politician by creating a new cause for the war. On January 1, 1863, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. While this was a limited freedom document, it was clear that Lincoln was out to end the slave system and out to destroy the South. He then went to congress and sought a congressional amendment to officially end all slavery in the United States. The Emancipation Proclamation created a new interest and new excitement in the war. Finally Lincoln achieved his goal: to save the union. It took the invasion and conquest of the South to achieve this difficult goal, but it was achieved on April 9, 1865 when General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses Grant. Lincoln now prepared for the difficult task of rebuilding the nation: this was known as the reconstruction process. He believed that the nation should be reconstructed as quickly as possible. In his second inaugural address in 1865, he urged, "malice toward none" and "charity for all." Congress, on the other hand, believed that the South should be punished for the Civil War and there should be a harsh program of reconstruction. But Lincoln never got an opportunity to follow a program of presidential reconstruction. He was shot at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C. by John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1865 and Lincoln died the next morning. Vice President Andrew Johnson now became president. Lincoln is the only early president to be assassinated as president; Johnson becomes the third accidental president in our early history. Abraham Lincoln is rated high as president. He was the only president to deal with an internal war known as the Civil War. He was a Midwest farmer with Midwest values who became an extraordinary war president and war politician. He did solve the basic problems of war and he did bring the union back together. He also did start the end of slavery in American history. If he had not been assassinated, he would have had to deal with the difficult problem of reconstruction. It is possible that this struggle with congress over reconstruction would have hurt his rating as president and may have even led to his impeachment. But that difficult problem now rested with Southerner Andrew Johnson. Andrew Johnson was born in poverty in Tennessee and became a tailor for much of his life before he entered politics. He had the appeal of Jackson Ian Democracy, but this Southern senator supported the union as Tenneesee left the union. He was a hero in the north and a traitor in the south. He became a supporter of Lincoln and was chosen by Lincoln as vice president in 1864 to show Lincoln's attempt to bring the nation together quickly. Johnson continued the policies of Lincoln in reconstruction but he was opposed by Radical Republicans in congress who began to pass laws to punish the south and to lead to a military occupation of the south. Johnson tried to stop these laws by use of the veto but congressmen continued to override his veto. Johnson became frustrated; he turned to drink and became abusive. Congress now charged that he broke the Tenure of Office Act when he illegally removed Stanton as Secretary of War. These charges led to eighteen formal charges of impeachment in the House of Representatives. Johnson had earned the nickname "King Veto" through his constant use of the veto. Now he stood before the Senate on trail for crimes of impeachment. Actually Johnson was just in the way of congressional reconstruction and they wanted him out of office. When the final votes were taken, Johnson remained president by one vote. The Senate needed a two thirds majority to remove Johnson as president. Johnson remained an unpopular president and is rated a below average president. In 1868 the only united party was the Republican party. The Radical Republicans wanted to avoid the problems they had with Johnson. The Republicans now turned again to the Jackson Formula and nominated Ulysses Grant, a military hero, the commanding general of the Northern army at the end of the Civil War, for president. Grant accepted the nomination and would become the last Jackson Formula president in our early history and the eighteenth president of the United States. Grant is rated one of the worst American presidents ever and the worst two term presidents in our history. Why was Grant such a poor president? Ulysses Grant had no political experience and no political background. He was unaware of what a president should be. He was similar to Zachary Taylor. These are career military men who have never been elected to a political position in their lives and who have no understanding of politics. He had an attitude similar to John Adams: it was an honor,not a job. This attitude created the Grant Tradition: the tradition of allowed power in government to shift to congress and this is where power would remain for years after Grant. Grant abused the spoils system. He brought some of the most incompetent individuals into government; they were friends from the military and were relatives. He saw nothing wrong with rewarding his military buddies and relatives. Actually the White House became like Camp White House with the number of military men in the executive department of Grant. Grant also saw nothing wrong with taking gifts from people and doing favors. By modern standards people continually bribed Grant. He began to drink heavily and was continually given liquor as a gift. He loved to smoke cigars and was given more than 20,000 boxes of cigars during his presidency. His goal was to smoke every cigar in every box. He was also a womanizer and saw nothing wrong with going to houses of prostitution. His favorite prostitute was Little Egypt and his relationships with this lady was well known. The two term Grant presidency also featured the highest level of corruption and the largest number of scandals in American History. Grant was not involved with the corruption and scandals, but he allowed them to take place and was identified with them. This is why he became increasingly unpopular and would leave on a low. The scandals first appeared in his first term as president. The Credit Mobilier Scandal involved congressmen building stock in a railroad company and giving generous grants of land and money to that railroad company. The Salary Grab Scandal involved congress trying to give itself a 50% increase in salary. One of the scandals that showed Grant as president was the Black Friday Scandal. Jay Gould and Jim Fisk were wealthy men who wanted to control all of America's gold. But this was difficult because the United States Treasury was continuing to sell gold. So Gould and Fisk became friends of Grant and gave him gifts and took him on a trip to Boston. As a favor, Grant, who had little knowledge of economics, ordered the treasury to stop selling gold. The price of gold rose substantially. Congress even investigated this situation and stated that Grant was a victim of poor judgment, but he was not involved in this scandal. In 1872 Grant was renominated for president by the Republican party, the Democrats were still weak and divided and nominated newspaperman Horace Greeley who had just become a vegetarian and who spent more time on the evils of meat than the scandals of Grant. Grant was now elected for a second term: a term that featured more scandals and more corruption on all levels of government and all levels of society. During his second term there occurred the Whiskey Ring Scandal and the Belknap Scandal. Orville Babcock was the private secretary of the president and was involved in stealing government tax money; this was the Whiskey Ring Scandal. William Belknap was the Secretary of War and was found to be stealing Indian funds. He was removed from this position before he was arrested and would go to jail. The scandals and corruption were hurting Grant's rating. He was becoming increasingly unpopular and he could not understand why. He even wanted to be elected for a third term. But the party rejected Grant and he left office on a low to be rated one of the worst presidents in our entire history.
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Abraham Lincoln and James Polk Contrast
Regarded as both land and war President James Polk is rated high as president in the sense
that he was a dominant president and an excellent domestic leader. He had good relations with
the Congress and also he had great accomplishment on foreign policy. James Polk was a smart
negotiator, and his power diplomacy was successful, he used the border dispute in Texas as an
excuse for war becoming the second war president even though most rate him as unethical he
lived up to his democratic platform. On the other hand, Abraham Lincoln was also a high
president because he became one of the most criticized presidents in the history of America. His
election alone as Republican candidate became the cause of the civil war thus just like James
Polk Lincoln the fourth war president. Even though he was not a military expert like ...


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