Other than the war, how great a President was Lincoln?

Leaving aside winning the Civil War, how do historians view Lincoln’s presidency? Did he have other domestic policies worthy of praise or discredit?

Oh, Lord, don’t get me started on this! But since you make the claim, I will ask: How, precisely, did Lincoln “win” the Civil War???

It’s a question, not a debate.

Lincoln is NOT a favorite among libertarians. Many would say that he led the charge to create the stronger federal government that is now strangling our economy and our liberties. I’m not personally endorsing that opinion (not in this forum, anyway) but just factually stating that I know libertarians who feel that way.

Any president, faced with the same choice, would have sent in the SEALS.

He was the leader of the side that won. He, apparently, managed to avoid making decisions and appointments so utterly disastrous as to cause his side to lose. His primary goal, as I understand it, was to ensure that there would continue to be a Union. That goal was achieved.
No doubt, you have at your fingertips a wealth of information that will prove me wrong on all accounts. I would be obliged, when you unleash your flood of history and analysis, if you could simply refer to him as President Lincoln, or simply Lincoln, rather than “The Great Tyrant.”

There was so much more liberty before the Civil War.

Lincoln’s domestic policy was the win the war (and later, to abolish slavery). He didn’t really have room for much else.

Reminds me of the old joke: "But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

Well, the first thing that comes to mind is that Mr. Lincoln was incredibly lucky that the South invaded the North in 1863 and threw away what was probably its best army at the Battle of Gettysburg, after which the Confederacy didn’t stand much of a chance.

Even with the North’s overwhelming superiority in wealth, resources, industry and population, there was a decent chance the South could have won if they had just sat tight and waited for Northerners to tire of the war (and for the Confederacy to obtain international recognition and aid).

Lincoln’s other great stroke of luck was in finally finding cutthroat generals like Sherman and Grant who had no compunction about ravaging the South (which, according to Lincoln, had never actually left the Union; ergo, they thought nothing of slaughtering people who were still considered to be their fellow citizens and shattering their local economy for decades to come).

Up until 1864, Lincoln was responsible mainly for appointing losers like McClellan to high military posts, singlehandedly doing more to damage the North’s war effort than the entire Confederate leadership combined.

The Union was preserved more through default than through any of Lincoln’s direct actions. To say he saved it is a lot like saying that Stalin saved the Soviet Union from the Germans (he didn’t).

The question of whether this was a good thing, or whether it was worth the cost, or whether it the war was justified at all, is another matter.

Well, if we’re accounting for luck and all, the confederate states’ grand stroke was that Lee turned traitor and fought for them. Had he been captured and hung early on, or had he remained loyal to his country they would have collapsed much earlier.

Ah. Lincoln didn’t win. The South lost.
I’ve no further interest in pursuing this. Heard it before. Thank you for your reply.

Well let’s see, he was responsible for appointing bad generals, but lucky when he got competent ones. But even though they were competent they were ruthless because they “hit me back” which as we all know is [whine]not fair[/whine].

I don’t understand southern apologists. You really want to defend an attempt to extend slavery? You think that while we did end slavery the net “freedom” index ended up negative because Federalism was weakened? Hell, you still got the chance to have lynchings and separate drinking fountains for another hundred years. That wasn’t enough for you?

Actually, he did. Congress passed some of the most important domestic legislation of the Nineteenth Century during the Lincoln administration–the Homestead Act, the Morrill Act granting states land from the public domain provided that they sold it and used the proceeds to establish state universities, and the act providing for a transcontinental railroad, subsidized by land from the public domain. These three laws defined public land policy for the next two generations, and set the terms for the settlement of the West.

In addition the Lincoln administration oversaw the restoration of nationally chartered banks (albeit fully private ones) for the first time since Andrew Jackson killed the BUS. The national banks created a national currency and presided over the US financial system during the years in which the US became a financial superpower, until the creation of the Fed in 1913.

[golf clap]

Here are two sites that almost echo RealityChuck’s post. Lincoln truly wasn’t able to accomplish much else, as the Civil War was a bit of a time hog.

The sites say he did accomplish the Homestead Act and the Morrill Land Grant Act (both in 1862).

http://millercenter.org/president/lincoln/essays/biography/4

http://rogerjnorton.com/Lincoln87.html

Edit: Freddy the Pig beat me to it.

And now you’ve finally got it! :slight_smile:

It wasn’t winning the Civil War that he is known for. In some respects he is known as an ineffective CIC because he didn’t replace mediocre and incompetent generals fast enough. But it is the overall effect of preserving The Union, and establishing that we are a Nation, and not a collection of independent states, and ending slavery that he is known for. Not simply in the actions he undertook to do this, but in the manner he did it, through great statesmanship, and with a strong moral basis. He also solidified the new Republican Party that represented a change in the concept of political philosophy.

Plenty of people don’t like Lincoln because he was the first president to institute a draft for military service. There was rioting in several Northern cities as a result.

“Sic semper tyrannis”?

Break a leg!