Abe Lincoln... While Lincoln is memorialized for freeing the slaves, and for being the first Republican President, the legends of Abe Lincoln certainly leave out all the bad parts of his Presidency. Let's talk about freeing the slaves. They probably taught you in middle/high school that the Civil War was fought to free the slaves. Not true at all. To be sure, slavery was the issue that had polarized America since its inception, and was used by savvy Southern politicians to convince their states to secede from the Union. However, not all slave states seceded. Delaware remained in the Union, despite being a slave state. Maryland also stayed in, although this was in part because Lincoln declared martial law there, keeping a convention from meeting that would have absolved Maryland's ties to the Union. Kentucky declared its neutrality in the war - in effect, telling both North and South to stay out of its affairs. So there were slaveholding states on both sides of the conflict. Furthermore, Lincoln himself did not use the issue of slavery until he found it to be politically expedient. Many of us have heard the quote that 'if I can maintain the Union by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could maintain the Union by freeing none of the slaves, I would do it' (I paraphrased, by the way - can't remember the exact quote). Not until Lincoln saw that he could persuade Europe to stay out of the war by claiming the moral high ground on slavery did he decide to take the abolitionist stance he is now famous for. And even then, his famous Emancipation Proclamation only applied to slaves in the Confederacy; slaves in Union states were not freed until the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment. Lincoln's motives for starting the war were circumspect as well. As we discussed, he didn't care about slavery at all in 1860/61. So what started the war? At the time, most foreign trade came through Southern ports. And the US collected tariffs from those imports. If the Southern ports were lost, so was a very large income for the US Treasury. This is why Fort Sumter was the first battle of the Civll War. The fort was garrisoned by Northern troops, enforcing the US tarrifs on incoming ships. South Carolina saw this fort as an invasion of its land - an attack on its sovreignity. Thus, the bombardment of Fort Sumter - and the outrage that it caused Lincoln. Did he deserve assassination? I think not. But he was not the great guy everyone thinks him to be today.