Lincoln’s political ideology: Shaping the events at fort sumter
Author : Alice Liu
Westminster School, Simsbury, CT, USA
The Confederate firing at the Union Fort Sumter has become known as the “first shot of the Civil War,” an event initiating ensuing hostilities between the North and the South of the United States. Over the past decade, academic research into the event has focused on its significance as an initiation into a new phase of United States history, one characterized by attempts to reconcile competing visions of identity through open conflict. However, most research has omitted attention to the event’s ideological context. This paper aims to bridge this gap by tracing the ideological context that culminated into the Battle of Fort Sumter. It probes the connections between Lincoln’s political ideology, his decision to authorize a resupply mission to Sumter when the fort’s military capacity diminished, the Confederate deliberations in response to the decision, initial Confederate firing at the Fort, and the ensuing Battle of Fort Sumter. It focuses on the correlation between the president’s political beliefs and his decision to dispatch a resupply expedition to Sumter and pinpoints Lincoln’s political ideology as an underlying catalyst for ensuing events. The paper argues that Lincoln’s beliefs stemmed primarily from his interpretation of the Constitution and granted uppermost priority to political necessity; such beliefs, in turn, culminated into his decision to resupply Sumter.