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    Throughout his political career, Lincoln’s beliefs concerning the lives of African Americans developed, moving from segregation and emigration to inclusion and enfranchisement. Many historians debate the reasoning behind this shift in political platform. Some believe Lincoln’s outward beliefs remained less favorable towards black Americans as a tactic to appease border states and win the Civil War. Other historians believed Lincoln to be racist. Others support the argument that Lincoln’s ideas underwent change over time, in response to the social movements protesting slavery throughout the northern states.

    This project works to support the notion that Lincoln’s beliefs concerning the rights of African Americans evolved from a philosophy of avoiding the issue to demanding action through small actions and evolving ideologies to make the issue more palatable to the general population. As you investigate this media presentation, you will judge the importance of people, events and social attitudes in the evolution of Lincoln’s motivations and beliefs. Sift through documents, listen to readings, read transcripts, engage in close readings to help you better understand the progression of Lincoln’s ideas.   

    It is important to remember the many issues in our country’s history that emerged in society, cultivating reform movements and social mobilization. Historically, political action lags behind most movements. It is important to understand Lincoln’s tardiness on the issue of slavery in the United States within this context. Therefore, our website offers an example from the modern context: President Obama’s beliefs on same sex marriage. While the issues are very different, they both reflect the theme of political evolution, starting with small, anachronistic words and actions to brave demands for equality.

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