Government Policies During the Civil War
THEMATIC FOCUS American and National Identity (NAT)
The development of and debates about democracy, freedom, citizenship, diversity, and individualism shape American national identity, cultural values, and beliefs about American exceptionalism, and in turn, these ideas shape political institutions and
society. Throughout American history, notions of national identity and culture have coexisted with varying degrees of regional and group identities.
Unit 5: Learning Objective J
Explain how Lincoln’s leadership during the Civil War impacted American ideals over the course of the war.
Lincoln and most Union supporters began the Civil War to preserve the Union, but Lincoln’s decision to issue the Emancipation Proclamation reframed the purpose of the war and helped prevent the Confederacy from gaining full diplomatic support from European powers. Many African Americans fled southern plantations and enlisted in the Union Army, helping to undermine the Confederacy.
Lincoln sought to reunify the country and used speeches such as the Gettysburg Address to portray the struggle against slavery as the fulfillment of America’s founding democratic ideals.