ABRAHAM LINCOLN is often associated with saving the Union and freeing the slaves, actions that seem to easily describe a liberal statesman. Though Lincoln took liberties in exercising his executive power in the midst of the Civil War, it is important to remember that he served his presidential terms during the most extraordinary of circumstances. Examining his actions during the war (the suspension of habeas corpus, the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation, the suppression of the northern press) fails to reveal Lincoln's core conservatism, an ideology to which he held fast throughout his career.

Lincoln based his political ideology on a strict adherence to the Constitution's provisions and restrictions. He did not look to the Constitution as a suggestive guide, but as a rulebook of what ...

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