Unit 6 Abraham Lincoln and John Smith Preston Civil War Speeches Essay

This essay will explore the coming of the Civil War by examining two speeches given just prior to the start of the Civil War: John Smith Preston’s speech to the Virginia state legislature, and Abraham Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address. Both represent two very different perspectives about the nature of the Union and who is responsible for dividing the nation.  Your goal will be to read through both speeches and discuss the major themes and arguments made in each document. 

John Smith Preston on Secession

Abraham Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address, 1861 

You will read the above two speeches (John Smith Preston, Abraham Lincoln), and answer all of the following questions in your essay: 

a) JOHN PRESTON SMITH: Is it legal for southern states to secede from the Union? What has the North done to cause southern states to leave the Union? 

and

b) ABRAHAM LINCOLN: Can states break away (secede) from the Union? Why or Why not? What are Lincoln’s views toward the South? What are his duties as President of the United Sates? 

Your essay should be a minimum of 2 pages, and you should spend AT LEAST one page discussing EACH position (one page discussing the Preston perspective and one page discussing the Lincoln perspective).