If one were to draw up a short list of presidents who have exercised a profound influence on American foreign policy, Abraham Lincoln would not likely spring directly to mind. Lincoln was essentially a war president for the entirety of his presidency, but it was a domestic war, a war for the preservation of the Union, and not a war that sent American troops onto foreign soil. In an 1860 speech at Hartford, Connecticut, Lincoln described the American political landscape plainly-"Slavery is the great political question of the nation"2- and, except for a condemnation of the African slave trade, the Republican Party platform on which he was elected said nothing about foreign affairs. So the epigraph above regarding his Secretary of State, William H. Seward-though quite possibly apocryphal-has just a ring of truth to it3.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Religious studies
- Sociology and Political Science