-- Dilemmas of Compromise --

Problem 1

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The Dilemmas of Compromise

In the period prior to his inauguration, Lincoln confronted the increasingly grave situation posed by events in the South. Although he officially held no public office, he possessed considerable influence as President-elect and leader of the Republican party. He had to decide the best course to follow. Even a decision to say or do nothing would help determine the fate of the Union and its possessions, such as Fort Sumter.

As the secession crisis unfolded, Lincoln was presented with a number of suggestions for handling it. Some ideas were urged upon him personally. Others were offered in newspapers, letters, in Congress, or public meetings. Inevitably, this advice differed. In order to understand the choices Lincoln confronted, click on the figures on the screen. Each figure represents a different policy recommendation.

Consider these various options, and the nature of the crisis faced by the Union, and ask yourself: If you were Lincoln, what would you do? And why would you choose this particular course of action?

John J. Crittenden Thurlow Weed Salmon P. Chase Horace Greeley

  1. Use the Notebook to write a brief answer explaining your decision, or use a word processing program to write a full response. To see Lincoln's decision, click "What Lincoln Did."
  2. What Lincoln Did.


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