Abraham Lincoln, the Boeotian turned strategist

Abraham Lincoln, the Boeotian turned strategist

Given a loser against the old drivers of his party, finally designated for the presidential race, this elected local mocked for his inexperience in state affairs and his appetite for jokes found himself at the head of the country. A socialist deputy from Corr├Ęze, no doubt? No, the Republican representative of Illinois, a small itinerant prairie lawyer, elected 16th President of the United States: Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865). & Nbsp;

At the start of this year, we will hear about this big pole wearing a beard collar and top hat, because it will soon be on the screens, interpreted by the slender Daniel Day-Lewis in a Spielberg film. & Nbsp;

From Lincoln we generally know three things. He faced the most serious crisis in the young country: the secession of a state, South Carolina, followed by that of six others, the first step towards a four-year civil war (April 1861-April 1865). That he suppressed slavery. He was assassinated in a theater box in Washington by an actor committed to the southern cause. The biography of the American Doris Kearns Goodwin - Pulitzer Prize - reveals another Lincoln, melancholic gifted with political genius, transformed by the events of the warlord. & Nbsp;

Barely elected, the new president has the good idea to entrust important ministries to his unfortunate competitors. His cabinet formed, the urgency is to save the Union, even if it means making concessions to the southern states. In his inaugural speech, the new chief executive pledges not to oppose the abolition of slavery in the states where it is in force, even though the Republican Party was born seven years later early from the Whig party's split on this issue. In reality, the Republicans, a cocktail of modernizing elites, wealthy merchants and farmers, all in favor of economic expansion and the development of the vast territories of the West, are divided between supporters of immediate abolitionism and "gradualists", anxious to avoid the brutal ruin of the plantations. Lincoln is on this pragmatic line. If he ends up promulgating the emancipation of blacks sooner than expected, it is because the war is prolonged. To break the Confederates, the abolition of slavery beyond morality - becomes a formidable weapon, since it destroys the economy of the South by freeing the slave labor force and that it provokes a formidable call for air for black recruits in northern armies. & nbsp;

But the most astonishing thing about Lincoln's fate is elsewhere: in the transformation of a Boeotian from military questions to a sharp strategist. The ex-lawyer was able, in barely four years, to build and restructure an embryonic army, to demonstrate authority by dismissing the wait-and-see generals - starting with the awful General McClellan, future Democratic candidate for the White House, and by appointing the best to key positions: Sherman and Grant. & nbsp;

Of this work, conducted like a load of blue tunics, Barack Obama said that it was a "remarkable work on a leader of men of exception". Like the President of the United States - who was sworn in in January 2009 on the bible of his illustrious predecessor - you too will be convinced. & Nbsp;

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