Lincoln Opens the West...

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5fish

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We know Lincoln and his efforts to save the union and later free the slaves. In the midst of the war, Lincoln signed a few laws that open the West for development. I do not think they were called the Western New Deal" until years later in history.

The four bills and one proclamation signed into law by President Lincoln as part of this "Western New Deal" were:

  1. Department of Agriculture Act, May 15, 1862: This bill created the Department of Agriculture as an agency designed to promote U.S. farming and carry agricultural technology and techniques to the West.
  2. Homestead Act, May 20, 1862: The Homestead Act opened millions of acres of the public domain to settlement and cultivation. This Act was open to anyone who met very basic and progressive requirements, including women, immigrants, and, beginning in 1868, African Americans. Eventually, homesteads were found in 30 states and covered 270 million acres.
  3. Pacific Railway Act, July 1, 1862:This law created the great transcontinental railroad, which was completed in 1869 and linked the east and west coasts. Lincoln ensured that the railroad ran along a northern rather than southern route. The southern route had been the one preferred by Southern politicians prior to the Civil War.
  4. Morrill Act, July 2, 1862:The Morrill Act created the land grant college system, whereby states were given title to various western lands to sell. Funds generated from these sales were to be used to build agricultural and technical colleges in those states. Many modern universities in the West and other parts of the nation are land grant colleges.
  5. Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, September 22, 1862: By issuing the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln established the total abolition of slavery as a Union war aim and put African Americans on the road to citizenship. After the war, many former slaves moved west in search of new opportunities away from the South. Following the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment, which granted them citizenship, many became homesteaders [go here to learn about former slaves who became homesteaders and here for information about Nicodemus National Historic Site].
Lincoln's approval of these laws had important short and long term impacts on both the course of the Civil War and the future of the American West.

Link to the National Park ... https://www.nps.gov/home/learn/historyculture/lincolnandwest.htm







 

5fish

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Here is some more on the Morrill Act...

an act of Congress (1862) granting each state 30,000 acres (12,000 hectares) of land for each member it had in Congress, 90 percent of the gross proceeds of which were to be used for the endowment and maintenance of colleges and universities teaching agricultural and mechanical arts and other subjects. 2.

https://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/Morrill.html

There was a second Morrill Act... for persons of color...

The Second Morrill Act

"A second Morrill Act in 1890 was also aimed at the former Confederate states. This act required each state to show that race was not an admissions criterion, or else to designate a separate land-grant institution for persons of color. Among the seventy colleges and universities which eventually evolved from the Morrill Acts are several of today's historically Black colleges and universities. Though the 1890 Act did not require the provision of federal land, it granted colleges under that act the same legal standing as the 1862 Act colleges; hence the term "land-grant college" properly applies to both groups.

Later on, other colleges such as the University of the District of Columbia and the "1994 land-grant colleges" for Native Americans were also awarded cash by Congress in lieu of land to achieve "land-grant" status.

Link... http://www.1890universities.org/history

 

5fish

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Lincoln opens the Department of Agriculture and Land for Universities and later in March of 1863, he signs the charter for the National Academy of Sciences. The NAS is charged with "providing independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology. … to provide scientific advice to the government 'whenever called upon' by any government department.

It seems Lincoln and the Republicans of the 186o's wanted knowledge and the sciences to be in the forefront of our society and government could be used to promote it.
 
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5fish

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The Whig party Lincolns first home...

The Whig Party believed in a strong federal government, similar to the Federalist Party that preceded it. The federal government must provide its citizenry with a transportation infrastructure to assist economic development. Many Whigs also called for government support of business through tariffs. Tariffs were taxes placed on foreign-made goods sold in the United States. These taxes would increase the price of foreign goods, making American products more attractive to the consumer. Whigs also believed that the government should play a role in creating a moral citizenry. The government should support temperance, public education, observance of the Sabbath, and, according to some Whigs, abolitionism.

As President, Lincoln followed the Whig party line and can be said he was the first big government President. He may have been a Republican but it seems he governed as a Whig...

http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Whig_Party
 

5fish

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I learned that Lincoln was our first Environmentalist President... Everyone thinks Teddy Roosevelt with Yosemite Grant... but change that silly notion because Lincoln was the first to protect land for recreation...

http://fighting-the-earth.leadr.msu.edu/gettysburg-protected-historical-sites/

On June 30, 1864 president Abraham Lincoln gave the Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Big Tree Grove to the state of California “upon the express conditions that the premises shall be held for public use, resort and recreation” (47). This piece of legislation marked the first time the federal government set aside a natural area to protect it from development and preserve it for public use. The beginning of legislation to protect natural landscapes represents a shift in American ideology about the environment. Prior to the war, many Americans discuss the need to harness nature or dominate it, but towards the end of the war more people begin expressing the desire to preserve nature as it was before European settlement.

Galen Clark, guardian of the Yosemite Grant, describes the way Yosemite Valley effects its visitors, “I have seen persons of emotional temperament stand with tearful eyes, spellbound and dumb with awe, as they got their first view of the Valley from Inspiration Point, overwhelmed in the sudden presence of the unspeakable, stupendous grandeur”

https://worldhistoryproject.org/1864/6/30/abraham-lincoln-signs-the-yosemite-valley-grant-act

Another take:::

President Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Valley Grant Act, Senate Bill 203, on June 30, 1864.
The legislation gave California the Yosemite Valley and the nearby Mariposa Big Tree Grove "upon the express conditions that the premises shall be held for public use, resort, and recreation."


Influential figures such as Galen Clark, clergyman Thomas Starr King and leading landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted were among those who urged Senator John Conness of California to try to preserve Yosemite. President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill on June 30, 1864 granting Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias to the State of California "for public use, resort and recreation," the two tracts "shall be inalienable for all time". This was the first time in history that a federal government had set aside scenic lands simply to protect them and to allow for their enjoyment by all people.


Another link with a few more details on the act...

http://www.americaslibrary.gov/jb/civil/jb_civil_yosemite_1.html
 

5fish

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OMG... found a book about Lincoln and the environment... You know he was one of the great destroyers of the Nature Environment due to the war and his industrial policies... Its always fun to bash Lincoln...

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https://www.amazon.com/dp/0809336987/?tag=civilwartalkc-20

Book summary:

In this groundbreaking environmental biography of Abraham Lincoln, James Tackach maps Lincoln’s lifelong relationship with the natural world from his birth and boyhood on Midwestern farms through his political career and presidency dealing with the effects of the Industrial Revolution and the Civil War.

Lincoln was born in a generation that grew up on farms but began to move to cities as industrialization transformed the American economy. Turning away from the outdoor, manual labor of his youth, he chose careers in law and politics but always found solace outside first on the prairies of Illinois and, later, at the woodsy presidential retreat. As Tackach shows, Lincoln relied on examples and metaphors from the natural world in his speeches and writings.

As a member of the Whig Party Lincoln endorsed the Industrial Revolution, which transformed the nation’s economy and its physical, social, and cultural landscapes, and advocated for the creation of railroads, canals, roads, and bridges to facilitate growth and the distribution of products. But he and his party failed to take steps to protect the natural environment. Surveying the destruction of the environment in the mid-nineteenth century, Tackach outlines how some American writers, the first voices for protection and conservation, began to call attention to the results of deforestation and the overhunting of animals during Lincoln’s lifetime.

As commander in chief during the Civil War, Lincoln approved a strategy that included significant infrastructure and environmental damage. In the South, where most of the battles occurred, Union troops burned cities and towns and destroyed plantations, farms, and natural landscapes. Tackach argues that, midway through his presidency, Lincoln seemed to sense that postwar Reconstruction would have to be spiritual, political, economic, and environmental in order to heal the nation’s wounds. He signed the Morrill Act, creating the land-grant colleges, and the environmentally progressive Yosemite Grant Act, which preserved thousands of acres of forest in California.

The first scholar to thoroughly investigate Lincoln’s lifelong relationship with the natural environment, Tackach paints Lincoln’s personal and professional life against the backdrop of nineteenth-century American environmental history, issues, and writers, providing insights into contemporary environmental issues.
 
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