Ron Hatzenbuehler

Controlled by Events: The Presidency of Abraham Lincoln

“Controlled by Events”: The Presidency of Abraham Lincoln Writing to a Kentuckian near the end of the Civil War, Lincoln offered his opinion of his presidency: “I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me.” This presentation investigates the legitimacy of Lincoln’s claim by focusing on several key aspects of his administration, including whether he provoked the South to fire on Fort Sumter, the Emancipation Proclamation, the decision to adopt a “total war” strategy after the battle of Gettysburg, and the Second Inaugural Address.