Abraham Lincoln in Chicago, October 4, 1859

I Have Always Hated Slavery

During the 1850s, Abraham Lincoln emerged from political obscurity by addressing the era’s most explosive issue—slavery. Lincoln considered slavery a great moral evil and adamantly opposed its extension into the free western territories, but he was no abolitionist calling for an immediate end to “the peculiar institution.” In this section, explore Lincoln’s complex, and often contradictory, views on slavery.

Explore Lincoln’s views on slavery before he became president.