Date of Award

Summer 8-25-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Mary Corey


This paper explores the inconsistencies in Abraham Lincoln’s views on slavery and race derived from speeches using his own words and from those of contemporary writers commenting on his ideas. Most of the volumes written about the sixteenth president have extolled his virtues and overlooked or excused his failings. Even when his own words showed racist tones, it was said that his prejudice mellowed as he aged during the war years. The research shows a man willing to do anything to preserve the union even to the point of allowing the institution of slavery to continue.

The second section of this thesis discusses some of the local people who, by their actions and words, had a lasting effect on Lincoln’s ideas on slavery and race. William Seward, an advisor to the president had significant input on presidential decisions and Union activities. Frederick Douglass, a former slave whose abolitionist activities and eloquent writings made a tremendous case for equality. Also examined in this paper are the local effects of President Lincoln’s policies such as the New York City Draft riots and the Elmira Prison Camp. These people and events have been largely ignored by the educational system.

Included is a link to a website that provides an avenue for teachers and students to explore the many events and individuals that are generally disregarded in the curriculum but played a significant role in social movements and the Civil War.

Civil War Circle Website:

Included in

Education Commons