What Zachariah Chandler thought about President Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln and Zachariah Chandler had much in common-as noted in my previous posts. Yet they had real differences as well. The biggest difference, perhaps, was their view on when and how to end slavery. Of course, they both hated slavery. Chandler was a “Radical Republican.”  He was an Abolitionist. He wanted slavery ended no matter what the cost. Many agreed with that position. I think that I probably would have been an Abolitionist if I had lived at that time. Unfortunately, with the aid of hindsight, I would have been wrong in that view. Lincoln, on the other hand, was neither a Radical Republican or Abolitionist. He was President of the United States and had certain duties to fulfill that prevented him from abolitionist action. He knew that if he had tried to end slavery before it’s time-the War would have been lost for the North. The neutral slave States would have joined the Confederacy and the game would have been over. Wisely, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. He had the power to do that. That presidential action killed slavery-and culminated in the 13th Amendment.

As different as Chandler and Lincoln were, they still had great respect for each other and were fighting for the same cause. In the book: Life of Zachariah Chandler, the following is noted:

“Mr. Chandler appreciated to the full extent the innate strength of Abraham Lincoln’s remarkable character and its rare loftiness, and, different as were their dispositions and widely divergent as often were their opinions, he never lost confidence in the President’s aims and never ceased to be one of his trusted counselors. Many features of the executive policy he condemned plainly and boldly to the President himself, but frankness and sincerity prevented his criticisms from becoming unpalatable, and Mr. Lincoln often acknowledged his indebtedness to the practical wisdom and the tireless zeal of the Michigan Senator.”

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