Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation

Jake Heiser

“Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?” —Abraham Lincoln In 1863 when President Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address, times were difficult. Several states of the south that disagreed with the North Union’s slaveholding policies seceded, to form their own confederacy. The young U.S. was halved in power and weak against any outside threat that happened upon it. As the country was falling apart from the inside out, the great Abraham Lincoln was put into office. As all great men do, he rose to the challenge. Throughout the entire war, he understood that the U.S. needed to be a fully intact country and that while defeating the confederacy, he must also find peace with them. In order to do this, however, he would have to reclaim key points like the Mississippi river to both retain strategic military power and support from the North. When McClellan met Lee’s troops in Maryland, at the battle of Antietam, many lives were lost- but it gained much for the support to pass the Emancipation Proclamation. With the victory and memorable speech at Gettysburg, the war efforts were renewed and invigorated. The goal of this war was not only to form the nation, but to give it an entirely new meaning of freedom. After a lengthy chase, General Lee of the South surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse, officially ending the war. Soon after, Lincoln was re-elected by a landslide vote over McClellan. Abraham Lincoln, along with his cabinet of advisors and generals, saved the United States from destruction– or at the very least allowed it to reach its full potential as a superior country. Jake Heiser Fisher High School Fisher IL