Day 94 Second Hundred of the Obama Administration August 1 , 2009 - History

Day 94 Second Hundred of the Obama Administration August 1 , 2009 - History


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The President began his weekly media address:

Remarks of President Barack Obama

Weekly Address

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

Today, I’d like to talk with you about a subject that I know is on everyone’s mind, and that’s the state of our economy. Yesterday, we received a report on our Gross Domestic Product. That’s a measure of our overall economic performance. The report showed that in the first few months of this year, the recession we faced when I took office was even deeper than anyone thought at the time. It told us how close we were to the edge.

But it also revealed that in the last few months, the economy has done measurably better than expected. And many economists suggest that part of this progress is directly attributable to the Recovery Act. This and the other difficult but important steps that we have taken over the last six months have helped put the brakes on this recession.

We took unprecedented action to stem the spread of foreclosures by helping responsible homeowners stay in their homes and pay their mortgages. We helped revive the credit markets and open up loans for families and small businesses. And we enacted a Recovery Act that put tax cuts directly into the pockets of middle-class families and small businesses; extended unemployment insurance and health insurance for folks who have lost jobs; provided relief to struggling states to prevent layoffs of teachers and police officers; and made investments that are putting people back to work rebuilding and renovating roads, bridges, schools, and hospitals.

Now, I realize that none of this is much comfort for Americans who are still out of work or struggling to make ends meet. And when we receive our monthly job report next week, it is likely to show that we are continuing to lose far too many jobs in this country. As far as I’m concerned, we will not have a recovery as long as we keep losing jobs. And I won’t rest until every American who wants a job can find one.

But history shows that you need to have economic growth before you have job growth. And the report yesterday on our economy is an important sign that we’re headed in the right direction. Business investment, which had been plummeting in the past few months, is showing signs of stabilizing. This means that eventually, businesses will start growing and hiring again. And that’s when it will really feel like a recovery to the American people.

This won’t happen overnight. As I’ve said before, it will take many more months to fully dig ourselves out of a recession – a recession that we’ve now learned was even deeper than anyone thought. But I’ll continue to work every day, and take every step necessary, to make sure that happens. I also want to make sure that we don’t return to an economy where our growth is based on inflated profits and maxed-out credit cards – because that doesn’t create a lot of jobs. Even as we rescue this economy, we must work to rebuild it stronger than before. We’ve got to build a new foundation strong enough to withstand future economic storms and support lasting prosperity.

Next week, I’ll be talking about that new foundation when I head to Elkhart County in Indiana – a city hard hit not only by the economic crisis of recent months but by the broader economic changes of recent decades. For communities like Elkhart to thrive, we need to recapture the spirit of innovation that has always moved America forward.

That means once again having the best-educated, highest skilled workforce in the world. That means a health care system that makes it possible for entrepreneurs to innovate and businesses to compete without being saddled with skyrocketing insurance costs. That means leading the world in building a new clean energy economy with the potential to unleash a wave of innovation – and economic growth – while ending our dependence on foreign oil. And that means investing in the research and development that will produce the technologies of the future – which in turn will help create the industries and jobs of the future.

Innovation has been essential to our prosperity in the past, and it will be essential to our prosperity in the future. But it is only by building a new foundation that we will once again harness that incredible generative capacity of the American people. All it takes are the policies to tap that potential – to ignite that spark of creativity and ingenuity – which has always been at the heart of who we are and how we succeed. At a time when folks are experiencing real hardship, after years in which we have seen so many fail to take responsibility for our collective future, it’s important to keep our eyes fixed on that horizon.

Every day, I hear from Americans who are feeling firsthand the pain of this recession; these are folks who share their stories with me in letters and at town hall meetings; folks who remain in my mind and on my agenda each and every day. I know that there are countless families and businesses struggling to just hang on until this storm passes. But I also know that if we do the things we know we must, this storm will pass. And it will yield to a brighter day.


Tag: "WKIS"

KQED Names Blakley Executive Director/Radio Programming. Four-year Minnesota Public Radio program director Jonathan Blakley is appointed executive director of radio programming for Northern California Public Broadcasting news/talk KQED, San Francisco. The Western Michigan University graduate previously was a senior producer and editor at NPR and launched all-news on WKZO, Kalamazoo. He has also worked for all-news WWJ, Detroit and the Associated Press. In other station news, KQED promotes executive director of news Holly Kernan to chief content officer. She will now oversee news, arts, science, and education for radio and TV programming. Kerman joined the station in 2014 from San Francisco Unified School District news/talk KALW, where she was news and public affairs director. Meanwhile, managing editor Ethan Lindsey succeeds Kernan as executive director of news. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s September 2018 report for San Francisco, KQED is #1 for the eighth straight month. Its gain of four-tenths pulls the plug on five downward trends in a row that accounted for a -2.5 (8.9 – 8.4 – 8.1 – 7.1 – 6.7 – 6.4, 6+). In San Jose, KQED progresses from sixth to fourth. It finished first in that Bay Area market between January and June.

Harrison: Neither Side is as Bad as Political Opponents Claim. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, described by TV anchor/moderator/commentator Carol Costello as “the voice of reason” appeared today as a panelist on CNN’s Headline News channel (HLN) to discuss the impact of the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation on the coming mid-term elections. He joined other panelists Republican Scott Jennings and Democrat Nomiki Konst. Jennings supported the President’s assertion that the Democrats and Liberals have become an unruly mob unfit to govern. Konst expressed the opposite view that working people have never faced the level of economic inequality that presently exists and that the Kavanaugh addition to the Supreme Court feeds into the “women are doomed” scenario. When asked by Costello if we as a nation are “going to remain as divided – men versus women, Democrat versus Republican – as we are now permanently forever more?” Harrison replied by saying “Hopefully not permanently. Let’s hope it ebbs and flows as it has through history. Both sides are extremely energized. The coming mid-term election promises to be as exciting, if not more, than a presidential election. But we can’t tell which side will feel that way in a few weeks on Election Day when it will be decided by voter turn-out. From a media standpoint, which is the lens through which I view this, even though both sides in ‘biased media’ express righteous indignation – and there is extreme bias on both sides in the media – both sides are loving this because this is a golden era for media that plays the news for the American public viewing it as a spectator sport. The demonization of the ‘other side’ is just that – excessive hyperbolic demonization. Nothing is going to be so terrible no matter how it plays out. Women are not doomed and the Democrats are not a mob. And if for some reason Trump loses his majority in Congress, he’ll work that to his advantage as well. It’ll be his excuse for not fulfilling all his campaign promises to his base.”

One Putt Lands O’Rorke as VP/GM. Ten-year Lotus Broadcasting Fresno market manager Kevin O’Rorke joins cross-town One Putt Broadcasting as vice president and general manager, succeeding Josh Riley. One Putt partner John Ostlund comments, “We are excited to have Kevin on our team. His passion for radio, [as well as his] experience with many of our clients and involvement in non-profit organizations, makes him a great fit.” Another One Putt partner – Chris Pacheco – notes, “I have known and worked with Kevin many times over the years – he brings tremendous experience to our team.” California State University-Fullerton alum O’Rorke adds, “Radio is an exciting industry, but locally-owned radio with the kind of community focus that Chris and John have demonstrated over the years is very unique. I am looking forward to getting started and making a difference.” One Putt’s Fresno cluster includes sports talk KFIG “940 ESPN Radio” KFRR “New Rock 104.1” classic rock KJFX “95.7 The Fox” triple A KJWL “K-Jewel 105.5” CHR KWDO “99.3 Now FM” and classic hits-oldies KYNO-AM.

Daniel Joins Fresno’s KVPR and Bakersfield’s KPRX As News Director. News/talk KQED, San Francisco reporter Alice Daniel is appointed news director of similarly-formatted KVPR, Fresno and KPRX, Bakersfield. Valley Public Radio interim president Joe Moore comments, “Alice is a talented reporter and educator, who always finds a way to bring out something special or unexpected in her stories. Six years ago, we didn’t have any local reporters at the station now, we have three. Our work is increasingly being recognized with awards at the regional and national level.” Daniel remarks, “I am excited by the prospect of working with other reporters to cover this diverse and story-rich region in a way that makes a difference for the community at large. I love the creative process of figuring out the best way to tell a compelling story. There is nothing I love more in journalism than finding that gem of a story that no one else has unearthed.” In addition to contributing to Success Magazine, Daniel – who has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University – has taught journalism for 17 years at Fresno State University.

TALKERS News Notes. In a presentation to be made this coming Saturday (10/13), Cumulus Media San Francisco news/talk KSFO morning host (5:00 am – 9:00 am) Brian Sussman will receive the Don Sherwood Award from the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame. The listener-voted honor recognizes the Bay Area’s favorite news/talk radio broadcaster for 2018. Sussman replaced Lee Rodgers in morning drive on KSFO in February 2010 ….. Beginning this Thursday (10/11), The New York Times debuts “The Argument,” a weekly opinion podcast hosted by three of the paper’s op-ed columnists – David Leonhardt, Ross Douthat, and Michelle Goldberg ….. As reported by the St. Louis Dispatch, “Real Housewife of Orange County” Meghan King Edmonds will appear with “Meghan’s Must Haves” every week on the Sunday morning edition of Rick & Tracey Ellis’ show on Entercom St. Louis news/talk KFTK “FM Newstalk 97.1.” The segment starts this Sunday (10/14). Edmonds is the wife of former St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Angels outfielder/current Fox Sports Midwest analyst Jim Edmonds ….. The former six-year general manager of Tri-States Public Radio and an adjunct instructor at Western Illinois University, Jonathan Ahl, will be a Rolla, Missouri-based reporter for University of Missouri-St. Louis news/talk KWMU. Ahl previously was news director and reporter at Iowa Public Radio ….. KTTC-TV, Austin (Minnesota) multimedia journalist James Bunner has been fired for wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat while covering President Trump’s appearance last Thursday in Rochester, Minnesota. KTTC news director Noel Sederstrom said Bunner was let go for wearing campaign gear while covering the political event – not because of his personal politics. Sederstrom told BuzzFeed News, “[Bunner] violated our policy so he’s no longer with us. We don’t allow our people to wear campaign clothing while on assignment.” On the day of Trump’s inauguration, Bunner posted a video of himself on Facebook dancing to “Celebration” (Kool & The Gang). KTTC removed Bunner’s online profile from its website last Friday ….. Listeners will be able to use touch and voice to tune into live iHeartRadio radio stations on Portal and Portal+ – Facebook’s home video communications devices. The Portal comes with a variety of features such as AI-powered video cameras, smart sound technology, and crystal-clear audio. Powered by Amazon’s Alexa voice control system, the video chat devices were introduced today (10/8).

Richard Neer Pens Sixth Murder Mystery Book. Longtime TALKERS columnist Richard Neer, a 30-year sports talk veteran at WFAN, New York and former WNEW-FM, New York radio great, has released his sixth Riley King murder mystery, An American Storm (Amazon Digital Services, 2018). This one has a strong radio sub-plot as King’s cohort Rick Stone deals with a career crisis after moving from makin g big dollars at a large market station to a small labor-of-love outlet, attempting to create a free form talk and music format. He is frustrated by a dearth of callers and the aging demo. Neer is well-known for his landmark radio non-fiction FM, the Rise and Fall of Rock Radio (Villard, 2001) and is developing a large following as a writer of the mystery fiction genre. He can be reached for interviews at [email protected] The new book is available at Amazon in both Kindle and paperback editions.

Kavanaugh Confirmation and Ensuing Protests Across the Nation Top the List of Stories Discussed on News/Talk Radio Over the Weekend. The U.S. Senate Confirmation and Swearing-in of controversial Judge Brett Kavanaugh and the protests that took place during and after the vote topped the list of stories discussed on news/talk radio over the weekend. These stories were followed by the US-China trade war November midterm elections and the battle for control of Congress the new USMCA deal the disappearance of the head of Interpol after traveling to China NFL action during week number five and the MLB divisional playoffs which were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Welsh, Porreca Join JAM Media Solutions. East Orange, New Jersey-based JAM Media Solutions names Donovan Welsh executive vice president of sales and Kerry Porreca executive vice president of finance. JAM Media Solutions closed on its media properties last Wednesday (10/3). They take over eight media properties in Outer Banks, North Carolina and Muscatine, Iowa. The Outer Banks properties include WCMS “Water Country” hot AC WCXL “Beach 104” WVOD “99.1 The Sound – The Outer Banks’ Alternative” WZPR “Classic Rock 92.3” and “The Outer Banks Voice.” The Muscatine properties include classic rock KMCS “Vintage Sound 93.1” KWPC “The Voice of Muscatine and “The Voice of Muscatine.” JAM Media Solutions president and CEO Jonathan A. Mason, Sr. remarks, “In the early years of my career in New York, I worked with Mr. Welsh and am honored that he has decided to join JAM Media to oversee our sales efforts. Mrs. Porreca is a veteran finance executive and has extensive knowledge of the Outer Banks. She is uniquely positioned to help us achieve our goal of giving back to the communities we seek to serve. I am humbled to step into the next phase of our collective journey. Our goal is to deliver a first-rate experience for the communities we serve. We love our radio local and our listeners will come to know that for themselves.” Most recently, Welsh was sales manager of Entercom New York sports talk WFAN. Porreca has spent the majority of her professional career in the manufacturing and advertising areas.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Additions at Entercom Los Angeles CHR KAMP “97.1 Amp Radio” find DJ Vice hosting “DJ Vice in the Mix” weekdays from 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm and Krystal Bee joining the station’s weekend lineup. According to Entercom Los Angeles senior vice president and market manager Jeff Federman, “DJ Vice and Krystal Bee have been household names in the Southern California radio and music scene for more than 25 years collectively. We look forward to them delivering a fresh listening experience for fans.” DJ Vice remarks, “As someone who was born and raised in Los Angeles, it is an honor to be a part of the ‘97.1 Amp Radio’ family. This mix is so fulfilling to do for my city, and hopefully, I can ease the pain of our listeners as they sit in L.A. traffic.” Krystal Bee notes that, “[KAMP] has a vision for radio that is so exciting. I have loved working with the team and I am excited about everything the future holds for me, the station, and our amazing listeners.” In 2011, DJ Vice was named one of “America’s Best DJs” by DJ Times. Prior to joining Entercom, Krystal Bee held on-air roles for cross-town rhythmic CHR KPWR “Power 106” since 2011 ….. Following last week’s departure of brand manager/program director Ron Valeri, Entercom Boston-owned WAAF “The Only Station That Really Rocks” names Joe Galgaro, PD of Saga Communications Milwaukee’s WHQG “102.9 The Hog,” as Valeri’s replacement ….. Most recently doing mid-days for Beasley Media Group Tampa’s WQYK “99.5 New Country Hits,” June Knight joins Entercom Miami’s similarly-formatted WKIS “Country 99.5” as morning drive co-host, where she will pair with assistant program director/music director Tim “TC” Conlon as “TC & June. Knight previously worked in Boston at CHR WXKS-FM “Kiss 108” and WODS … As we reported last week, Louie Diaz is promoted to vice president/contemporary for the Cumulus Radio Station Group, continuing his role as operations manager for Cumulus Media Atlanta and as PD for CHR WWWQ “Q100.” Associated with that move, Cumulus Media vice president/contemporary programming (CHR and hot AC) Cat Thomas departs. Thomas joined Cumulus Media nearly three years ago, after a 27-year career with CBS Radio Las Vegas where he was vice president/programming. For approximately 20 years, he programmed that company’s Las Vegas CHR, KLUC ….. Morning co-host Brian Fowler exits WGAR. He joined “Country 99.5.” in 2011 to team with LeeAnn Sommers, who remains with the iHeartMedia Cleveland outlet ….. Next year’s iHeartRadio “ALTer Ego” officially sold out on the first day on sale. The second annual music event, which will broadcast live (1/19/2019) across over 70 iHeartRadio alternative and rock stations, reportedly sold out in less than a minute of being on sale to the general public. The “ALTer Ego” lineup at Los Angeles’ Fabulous Forum includes The Killers, Weezer, Rise Against, Twenty One Pilots, Muse, Bishop Briggs, and The Revivalists. Chief programming officer for iHeartMedia Tom Poleman notes, “It was remarkable to watch how fast tickets sold out. All tickets immediately went the moment we made them available. It speaks to the power of the lineup and how fast the ALTer Ego brand has grown in just two years.” Meanwhile, iHeartMedia president/national sales, marketing & partnerships Tim Castelli comments, “The lineup is incredible and reaches the millennial trend leaders who make up the mega-event’s core audience. Given such an amazing response, we are expecting this to break social chatter records like we have done with our lineup on our other iHeart marquee events” ….. Former WPIA “98.5 Kiss FM,” Peoria (Illinois) program director Jonathan Steele is named to a similar position at Martz Communications Pittsburgh urban contemporary WAMO …..Tennessee Senate candidate Phil Bredesen and congressional hopeful Jim Cooper have picked up a big-name endorsement – Taylor Swift. The singer usually doesn’t express her political beliefs but notes on Instagram, “Due to several events in my life and in the world the past two years, I feel very differently about that now.” Bredesen and Cooper are Democrats ….. At the box office, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s “A Star Is Born” remake took in $41.3 million. According to comScore, with $174.5 million in tickets sold at United States and Canadian theaters, it was easily the best October weekend ever…. Starting today (10/8), iHeartMedia Columbus CHR WNCI-originated “Dave (Kaelin) & Jimmy (Jam)” will air (6:00 am – 10:00 am) on Alpha Media Canton (Ohio) hot AC WHBC-FM “Mix” 94.1.” WHBC-FM operations manager Bo Matthews comments, “Dave & Jimmy are Ohio guys [who] celebrate the region with their content. They experience all the pain that comes with being Cleveland sports fans. I am super excited for the show they will be providing us every weekday morning.” According to Jimmy Jam, “Canton is my hometown so I have about 200 relatives [who] will be listening every day.”



Israeli mother makes human shield during incoming rocket attack from Gaza

Our Norwegian correspondent The Observer sends his translation of an op-ed from today’s Dagbladet. He says, “The political elites in Norway and Europe are clearly getting very worried indeed.”

Note: This week’s conference in Budapest is specifically directed against what it calls “Fjordmen” — which means that this blog and others like it are in the crosshairs.

Funded by the Council of Europe, the conference will train and bankroll “watchdogs” to keep an eye on the likes of us. They are nothing less than the secular European version of the OIC’s “Islamophobia Observatory”.

I say: Let them watch!

They can’t watch us more intently than the elites of Norway have been doing for the past sixteen months. The klieg lights have been in my eyes for more than a year. I’m used to them.

Let them watch! Let them read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest!

They will discover nothing more than the truth. It’s there for all to see.

Here’s what Dagbladet says:

The Europe of hatred

by Torgeir Larsen

State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, (AP — Labour Party)

Social crisis, mass unemployment and young people without future prospects breed hatred and intolerance in Europe. And the symbolic face of the European hatred is Norwegian.

If there is something we owe the victims of July 22, then it has to be to stand up against extremism and the ideology of hatred in our very own Europe. This week we are doing just that in Budapest, the capital of Hungary. That’s where we and the Council of Europe greet researchers, online activists, organizations, the Department of Facebook of Europe, the European Broadcasting Union and many others. The theme is the fight against hate speech and intolerance in the public sphere, particularly on social media and on the web where Norwegian and European “Fjordmen” and organizations such as the Prophet’s Ummah spread their message.

Fifty European bloggers will also be there. They will receive training that will enable them to become “watchdogs” on the net, and monitor, report and oppose those that spread hatred, because the backdrop of contemporary Europe gives cause for concern.

Mass unemployment characterizes the continent. One out of every four Spaniards is unemployed, in Greece one in five are unemployed, and these two countries are followed by a large number of other European countries with unemployment rates between 10 and 20 percent. Several central and eastern European countries are also affected, but that crisis receives less attention because they are not part of the eurozone.

At the same time figures from OECD show that the wealth gap is increasing between generations and regions in Europe. The salary ratio in Europe is also falling, meaning that payment of wages relative to capital is on the decrease. This is especially noticeable for those at the lower end of the scale — young people trying to become established. It literally means bigger gaps between rich and poor and that those at the bottom are paying the highest price. The result is an increase in social pressure. The economic forecasts indicate that the crisis is here to stay and that we’re stuck with high unemployment rates. The prospect of real economic growth in the affected countries is nowhere to be seen, which means that we have only seen the beginning of the political consequences of the crisis.

Democracy is dependent on voters who feel represented by those they elect. Many feel resigned, faced with the current crisis. The belief in political solutions is fading virtually all over Europe, voter turnout has decreased, and studies carried out by the European Development Bank (EBRD) show a significant drop in trust and support for democratic institutions. Not surprisingly the effects are more noticeable in the newer European democracies. The combination of short democratic histories, social crisis and increasing wealth gaps give rise to anti-democratic forces. The pressure against minorities is increasing, the search for scapegoats intensifies and the European extreme-right movements have gained more influence.

Hungary is one such example. There the extreme right wing party Jobbik has received 20 percent of the overall vote. It is a nationalist and anti-Semitic party that, set against the Hungarian crisis, has managed to mobilize against the country’s large Roma population. We also remember the dread leading up to this summer’s European Soccer Championships in Poland and Ukraine where we feared that racists and neo-Nazis would win the battle for the soccer stands.

Another strong trait of today’s extreme-right movements in Europe is a strong anti-Muslim rhetoric. The French “Bloc Identitaire” has become known for serving “identity soup” containing pork to homeless people in France. This wing of the European extreme right has a long history in Europe — a history which Norway also is a part of. Faced with the necessary evaluation of the nation’s state of preparedness on July 22, 2011, we should not forget this — the political background to the tragedy.

It may be an uncomfortable realization, but we are certainly part of the history of the European extreme right. The term Quisling has for more than 70 years been a European and international expression. The symbolic face of the rise of the new extreme right in Europe of today is also Norwegian. Perform a quick Google search on the extreme right in Europe today and you’ll see why. Several of the texts that appear are illustrated with the face of the mass murderer of July 22. This requires that we commit ourselves, and we take that commitment very seriously.

Norway has made the fight against increasing intolerance and hatred in Europe to one of our main priorities on several different arenas. The Council of Europe is one of them. The Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) is another. The Foreign Ministry has also created a project for the protection of minorities which also includes continental Europe.

Furthermore, there are the EEA grants, Norway’s contribution to social and economic cohesion in the EU, a unique instrument at our disposal for the defense of tolerance, democracy and coexistence in Europe. In line with the democratic warning signs in some countries we have redirected our support towards civil society, to strengthen the legal protection of vulnerable groups and the integration of minorities. Separate funds have been established for NGOs in the Baltic countries and Central and Southern Europe. The main purpose of the funds is to report and document hatred and intolerance.

History never repeats itself. Yet we know how extremism rose in the vacuum that appeared when democracy faltered and the economy failed between the two world wars in the last century. In my opinion no one has described this more lucidly than the economic anthropologist Karl Polanyi in his book The Great Transformation from 1944. Here he shows how economic upheaval, extreme distribution problems and social fear produce opposing forces in the form of political extremism on the right and left, looking for scapegoats, populist “us-them” ideology, persecution of minorities and hatred.

July 22 showed us that democracy cannot be taken for granted — not today — and not even in Norway. The perpetrator has received his sentence, but the hatred lives on in a continent which is hit by mass unemployment, growing inequalities and social crisis. The fight against intolerance and extremism in Europe must be intensified. And that is a battle where Norway will lead the way, just as we are alongside the Council of Europe in Budapest this week.


Gates of Vienna News Feed 12/8/2012

Under pressure from continuing violent protests in front of his presidential palace, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi backed off at the last moment from imposing martial law, and agreed to make some concessions to his opponents, prominent among them the rescinding of the November 22 decree giving himself near dictatorial powers. However, he refused to give way on the constitutional referendum, which will be held on schedule next Saturday.

In other news, a woman in Saudi Arabia was sentenced to ten lashes and five days in jail for marrying a Syrian man. Under the kingdom’s laws governing mixed marriages, their marriage was illegal without official permission. The ex-husband received the same penalty, and will have to pay alimony. The woman has four children.

To see the headlines and the articles, open the full news post.

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Insubria, JD, Jerry Gordon, JP, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

Notice to tipsters: Please don’t submit extensive excerpts from articles that have been posted behind a subscription firewall, or are otherwise under copyright protection.

Commenters are advised to leave their comments at this post (rather than with the news articles) so that they are more easily accessible.

Caveat: Articles in the news feed are posted “as is”. Gates of Vienna cannot vouch for the authenticity or accuracy of the contents of any individual item posted here. We check each entry to make sure it is relatively interesting, not patently offensive, and at least superficially plausible. The link to the original is included with each item’s title. Further research and verification are left to the reader.


Contents

Early life

Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, the second child of Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks Lincoln, in a log cabin on Sinking Spring Farm near Hodgenville, Kentucky. [2] He was a descendant of Samuel Lincoln, an Englishman who migrated from Hingham, Norfolk, to its namesake, Hingham, Massachusetts, in 1638. The family then migrated west, passing through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. [3] Lincoln's paternal grandparents, his namesake Captain Abraham Lincoln and wife Bathsheba (née Herring), moved the family from Virginia to Jefferson County, Kentucky. The captain was killed in an Indian raid in 1786. [4] His children, including eight-year-old Thomas, Abraham's father, witnessed the attack. [5] [b] Thomas then worked at odd jobs in Kentucky and Tennessee before the family settled in Hardin County, Kentucky, in the early 1800s. [5]

The heritage of Lincoln's mother Nancy remains unclear, but it is widely assumed that she was the daughter of Lucy Hanks. [7] Thomas and Nancy married on June 12, 1806, in Washington County, and moved to Elizabethtown, Kentucky. [8] They had three children: Sarah, Abraham, and Thomas, who died an infant. [9]

Thomas Lincoln bought or leased farms in Kentucky before losing all but 200 acres (81 ha) of his land in court disputes over property titles. [10] In 1816, the family moved to Indiana where the land surveys and titles were more reliable. [11] Indiana was a "free" (non-slaveholding) territory, and they settled in an "unbroken forest" [12] in Hurricane Township, Perry County, Indiana. [13] [c] In 1860, Lincoln noted that the family's move to Indiana was "partly on account of slavery", but mainly due to land title difficulties. [15]

In Kentucky and Indiana, Thomas worked as a farmer, cabinetmaker, and carpenter. [16] At various times, he owned farms, livestock and town lots, paid taxes, sat on juries, appraised estates, and served on county patrols. Thomas and Nancy were members of a Separate Baptists church, which forbade alcohol, dancing, and slavery. [17]

Overcoming financial challenges, Thomas in 1827 obtained clear title to 80 acres (32 ha) in Indiana, an area which became the Little Pigeon Creek Community. [18]

Mother's death

On October 5, 1818, Nancy Lincoln succumbed to milk sickness, leaving 11-year-old Sarah in charge of a household including her father, 9-year-old Abraham, and Nancy's 19-year-old orphan cousin, Dennis Hanks. [19] Ten years later, on January 20, 1828, Sarah died while giving birth to a stillborn son, devastating Lincoln. [20]

On December 2, 1819, Thomas married Sarah Bush Johnston, a widow from Elizabethtown, Kentucky, with three children of her own. [21] Abraham became close to his stepmother, and called her "Mother". [22] Lincoln disliked the hard labor associated with farm life. His family even said he was lazy, for all his "reading, scribbling, writing, ciphering, writing Poetry, etc". [23] His stepmother acknowledged he did not enjoy "physical labor", but loved to read. [24]

Education and move to Illinois

Lincoln was largely self-educated. [25] His formal schooling was from itinerant teachers. It included two short stints in Kentucky, where he learned to read but probably not to write, at age seven, [26] and in Indiana, where he went to school sporadically due to farm chores, for a total of less than 12 months in aggregate by the age of 15. [27] He persisted as an avid reader and retained a lifelong interest in learning. [28] Family, neighbors, and schoolmates recalled that his reading included the King James Bible, Aesop's Fables, John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress, Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, and The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. [29]

As a teen, Lincoln took responsibility for chores, and customarily gave his father all earnings from work outside the home until he was 21. [30] Lincoln was tall, strong, and athletic, and became adept at using an ax. [31] He was an active wrestler during his youth and trained in the rough catch-as-catch-can style (also known as catch wrestling). He became county wrestling champion at the age of 21. [32] He gained a reputation for strength and audacity after winning a wrestling match with the renowned leader of ruffians known as "the Clary's Grove Boys". [33]

In March 1830, fearing another milk sickness outbreak, several members of the extended Lincoln family, including Abraham, moved west to Illinois, a free state, and settled in Macon County. [34] [d] Abraham then became increasingly distant from Thomas, in part due to his father's lack of education. [36] In 1831, as Thomas and other family prepared to move to a new homestead in Coles County, Illinois, Abraham struck out on his own. [37] He made his home in New Salem, Illinois, for six years. [38] Lincoln and some friends took goods by flatboat to New Orleans, Louisiana, where he was first exposed to slavery. [39]

In 1865, Lincoln was asked how he came to acquire his rhetorical skills. He answered that in the practice of law he frequently came across the word "demonstrate" but had insufficient understanding of the term. So, he left Springfield for his father's home to study until he "could give any proposition in the six books of Euclid [here, referencing Euclid's Elements] at sight." [40]

Marriage and children

Lincoln's first romantic interest was Ann Rutledge, whom he met when he moved to New Salem. By 1835, they were in a relationship but not formally engaged. [41] She died on August 25, 1835, most likely of typhoid fever. [42] In the early 1830s, he met Mary Owens from Kentucky. [43]

Late in 1836, Lincoln agreed to a match with Owens if she returned to New Salem. Owens arrived that November and he courted her for a time however, they both had second thoughts. On August 16, 1837, he wrote Owens a letter saying he would not blame her if she ended the relationship, and she never replied. [44]

In 1839, Lincoln met Mary Todd in Springfield, Illinois, and the following year they became engaged. [45] She was the daughter of Robert Smith Todd, a wealthy lawyer and businessman in Lexington, Kentucky. [46] A wedding set for January 1, 1841 was canceled at Lincoln's request, but they reconciled and married on November 4, 1842, in the Springfield mansion of Mary's sister. [47] While anxiously preparing for the nuptials, he was asked where he was going and replied, "To hell, I suppose." [48] In 1844, the couple bought a house in Springfield near his law office. Mary kept house with the help of a hired servant and a relative. [49]

Lincoln was an affectionate husband and father of four sons, though his work regularly kept him away from home. The oldest, Robert Todd Lincoln, was born in 1843 and was the only child to live to maturity. Edward Baker Lincoln (Eddie), born in 1846, died February 1, 1850, probably of tuberculosis. Lincoln's third son, "Willie" Lincoln was born on December 21, 1850, and died of a fever at the White House on February 20, 1862. The youngest, Thomas "Tad" Lincoln, was born on April 4, 1853, and survived his father but died of heart failure at age 18 on July 16, 1871. [50] [e] Lincoln "was remarkably fond of children" [52] and the Lincolns were not considered to be strict with their own. [53] In fact, Lincoln's law partner William H. Herndon would grow irritated when Lincoln would bring his children to the law office. Their father, it seemed, was often too absorbed in his work to notice his children's behavior. Herndon recounted, "I have felt many and many a time that I wanted to wring their little necks, and yet out of respect for Lincoln I kept my mouth shut. Lincoln did not note what his children were doing or had done." [54]

The deaths of their sons, Eddie and Willie, had profound effects on both parents. Lincoln suffered from "melancholy", a condition now thought to be clinical depression. [55] Later in life, Mary struggled with the stresses of losing her husband and sons, and Robert committed her for a time to an asylum in 1875. [56]

In 1832, Lincoln joined with a partner, Denton Offutt, in the purchase of a general store on credit in New Salem. [57] Although the economy was booming, the business struggled and Lincoln eventually sold his share. That March he entered politics, running for the Illinois General Assembly, advocating navigational improvements on the Sangamon River. He could draw crowds as a raconteur, but he lacked the requisite formal education, powerful friends, and money, and lost the election. [58]

Lincoln briefly interrupted his campaign to serve as a captain in the Illinois Militia during the Black Hawk War. [59] In his first campaign speech after returning, he observed a supporter in the crowd under attack, grabbed the assailant by his "neck and the seat of his trousers", and tossed him. [34] Lincoln finished eighth out of 13 candidates (the top four were elected), though he received 277 of the 300 votes cast in the New Salem precinct. [60]

Lincoln served as New Salem's postmaster and later as county surveyor, but continued his voracious reading, and decided to become a lawyer. [61] Rather than studying in the office of an established attorney, as was the custom, Lincoln borrowed legal texts from attorneys John Todd Stuart and Thomas Drummond, purchased books including Blackstone's Commentaries and Chitty's Pleadings, and read law on his own. [61] He later said of his legal education that "I studied with nobody." [62]

Lincoln's second state house campaign in 1834, this time as a Whig, was a success over a powerful Whig opponent. [63] Then followed his four terms in the Illinois House of Representatives for Sangamon County. [64] He championed construction of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, and later was a Canal Commissioner. [65] He voted to expand suffrage beyond white landowners to all white males, but adopted a "free soil" stance opposing both slavery and abolition. [66] In 1837 he declared, "[The] Institution of slavery is founded on both injustice and bad policy, but the promulgation of abolition doctrines tends rather to increase than abate its evils." [67] He echoed Henry Clay's support for the American Colonization Society which advocated a program of abolition in conjunction with settling freed slaves in Liberia. [68]

Admitted to the Illinois bar in 1836, [69] he moved to Springfield and began to practice law under John T. Stuart, Mary Todd's cousin. [70] Lincoln emerged as a formidable trial combatant during cross-examinations and closing arguments. He partnered several years with Stephen T. Logan, and in 1844 began his practice with William Herndon, "a studious young man". [71]

True to his record, Lincoln professed to friends in 1861 to be "an old line Whig, a disciple of Henry Clay". [72] Their party favored economic modernization in banking, tariffs to fund internal improvements including railroads, and urbanization. [73]

In 1843, Lincoln sought the Whig nomination for Illinois' 7th district seat in the U.S. House of Representatives he was defeated by John J. Hardin though he prevailed with the party in limiting Hardin to one term. Lincoln not only pulled off his strategy of gaining the nomination in 1846, but also won election. He was the only Whig in the Illinois delegation, but as dutiful as any, participated in almost all votes and made speeches that toed the party line. [74] He was assigned to the Committee on Post Office and Post Roads and the Committee on Expenditures in the War Department. [75] Lincoln teamed with Joshua R. Giddings on a bill to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia with compensation for the owners, enforcement to capture fugitive slaves, and a popular vote on the matter. He dropped the bill when it eluded Whig support. [76]

Political views

On foreign and military policy, Lincoln spoke against the Mexican–American War, which he imputed to President James K. Polk's desire for "military glory—that attractive rainbow, that rises in showers of blood". [77] He supported the Wilmot Proviso, a failed proposal to ban slavery in any U.S. territory won from Mexico. [78]

Lincoln emphasized his opposition to Polk by drafting and introducing his Spot Resolutions. The war had begun with a Mexican slaughter of American soldiers in territory disputed by Mexico, and Polk insisted that Mexican soldiers had "invaded our territory and shed the blood of our fellow-citizens on our own soil". [79] Lincoln demanded that Polk show Congress the exact spot on which blood had been shed and prove that the spot was on American soil. [80] The resolution was ignored in both Congress and the national papers, and it cost Lincoln political support in his district. One Illinois newspaper derisively nicknamed him "spotty Lincoln". [81] Lincoln later regretted some of his statements, especially his attack on presidential war-making powers. [82]

Lincoln had pledged in 1846 to serve only one term in the House. Realizing Clay was unlikely to win the presidency, he supported General Zachary Taylor for the Whig nomination in the 1848 presidential election. [83] Taylor won and Lincoln hoped in vain to be appointed Commissioner of the General Land Office. [84] The administration offered to appoint him secretary or governor of the Oregon Territory as consolation. [85] This distant territory was a Democratic stronghold, and acceptance of the post would have disrupted his legal and political career in Illinois, so he declined and resumed his law practice. [86]

In his Springfield practice Lincoln handled "every kind of business that could come before a prairie lawyer". [87] Twice a year he appeared for 10 consecutive weeks in county seats in the midstate county courts this continued for 16 years. [88] Lincoln handled transportation cases in the midst of the nation's western expansion, particularly river barge conflicts under the many new railroad bridges. As a riverboat man, Lincoln initially favored those interests, but ultimately represented whoever hired him. [89] He later represented a bridge company against a riverboat company in a landmark case involving a canal boat that sank after hitting a bridge. [90] In 1849, he received a patent for a flotation device for the movement of boats in shallow water. The idea was never commercialized, but it made Lincoln the only president to hold a patent. [91]

Lincoln appeared before the Illinois Supreme Court in 175 cases he was sole counsel in 51 cases, of which 31 were decided in his favor. [92] From 1853 to 1860, one of his largest clients was the Illinois Central Railroad. [93] His legal reputation gave rise to the nickname "Honest Abe". [94]

Lincoln argued in an 1858 criminal trial, defending William "Duff" Armstrong, who was on trial for the murder of James Preston Metzker. [95] The case is famous for Lincoln's use of a fact established by judicial notice to challenge the credibility of an eyewitness. After an opposing witness testified to seeing the crime in the moonlight, Lincoln produced a Farmers' Almanac showing the moon was at a low angle, drastically reducing visibility. Armstrong was acquitted. [95]

Leading up to his presidential campaign, Lincoln elevated his profile in an 1859 murder case, with his defense of Simeon Quinn "Peachy" Harrison who was a third cousin Harrison was also the grandson of Lincoln's political opponent, Rev. Peter Cartwright. [96] Harrison was charged with the murder of Greek Crafton who, as he lay dying of his wounds, confessed to Cartwright that he had provoked Harrison. [97] Lincoln angrily protested the judge's initial decision to exclude Cartwright's testimony about the confession as inadmissible hearsay. Lincoln argued that the testimony involved a dying declaration and was not subject to the hearsay rule. Instead of holding Lincoln in contempt of court as expected, the judge, a Democrat, reversed his ruling and admitted the testimony into evidence, resulting in Harrison's acquittal. [95]

Emergence as Republican leader

The debate over the status of slavery in the territories failed to alleviate tensions between the slave-holding South and the free North, with the failure of the Compromise of 1850, a legislative package designed to address the issue. [98] In his 1852 eulogy for Clay, Lincoln highlighted the latter's support for gradual emancipation and opposition to "both extremes" on the slavery issue. [99] As the slavery debate in the Nebraska and Kansas territories became particularly acrimonious, Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas proposed popular sovereignty as a compromise the measure would allow the electorate of each territory to decide the status of slavery. The legislation alarmed many Northerners, who sought to prevent the resulting spread of slavery, but Douglas's Kansas–Nebraska Act narrowly passed Congress in May 1854. [100]

Lincoln did not comment on the act until months later in his "Peoria Speech" in October 1854. Lincoln then declared his opposition to slavery which he repeated en route to the presidency. [101] He said the Kansas Act had a "declared indifference, but as I must think, a covert real zeal for the spread of slavery. I cannot but hate it. I hate it because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself. I hate it because it deprives our republican example of its just influence in the world . " [102] Lincoln's attacks on the Kansas–Nebraska Act marked his return to political life. [103]

Nationally, the Whigs were irreparably split by the Kansas–Nebraska Act and other efforts to compromise on the slavery issue. Reflecting on the demise of his party, Lincoln wrote in 1855, "I think I am a Whig, but others say there are no Whigs, and that I am an abolitionist. I do no more than oppose the extension of slavery." [104] The new Republican Party was formed as a northern party dedicated to antislavery, drawing from the antislavery wing of the Whig Party, and combining Free Soil, Liberty, and antislavery Democratic Party members, [105] Lincoln resisted early Republican entreaties, fearing that the new party would become a platform for extreme abolitionists. [106] Lincoln held out hope for rejuvenating the Whigs, though he lamented his party's growing closeness with the nativist Know Nothing movement. [107]

In 1854 Lincoln was elected to the Illinois legislature but declined to take his seat. The year's elections showed the strong opposition to the Kansas–Nebraska Act, and in the aftermath, Lincoln sought election to the United States Senate. [103] At that time, senators were elected by the state legislature. [108] After leading in the first six rounds of voting, he was unable to obtain a majority. Lincoln instructed his backers to vote for Lyman Trumbull. Trumbull was an antislavery Democrat, and had received few votes in the earlier ballots his supporters, also antislavery Democrats, had vowed not to support any Whig. Lincoln's decision to withdraw enabled his Whig supporters and Trumbull's antislavery Democrats to combine and defeat the mainstream Democratic candidate, Joel Aldrich Matteson. [109]

1856 campaign

Violent political confrontations in Kansas continued, and opposition to the Kansas–Nebraska Act remained strong throughout the North. As the 1856 elections approached, Lincoln joined the Republicans and attended the Bloomington Convention, which formally established the Illinois Republican Party. The convention platform endorsed Congress's right to regulate slavery in the territories and backed the admission of Kansas as a free state. Lincoln gave the final speech of the convention supporting the party platform and called for the preservation of the Union. [110] At the June 1856 Republican National Convention, though Lincoln received support to run as vice president, John C. Frémont and William Dayton comprised the ticket, which Lincoln supported throughout Illinois. The Democrats nominated former Secretary of State James Buchanan and the Know-Nothings nominated former Whig President Millard Fillmore. [111] Buchanan prevailed, while Republican William Henry Bissell won election as Governor of Illinois, and Lincoln became a leading Republican in Illinois. [112] [f]

Dred Scott v. Sandford

Dred Scott was a slave whose master took him from a slave state to a free territory under the Missouri Compromise. After Scott was returned to the slave state he petitioned a federal court for his freedom. His petition was denied in Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857). [g] Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney in the decision wrote that blacks were not citizens and derived no rights from the Constitution. While many Democrats hoped that Dred Scott would end the dispute over slavery in the territories, the decision sparked further outrage in the North. [115] Lincoln denounced it as the product of a conspiracy of Democrats to support the Slave Power. [116] He argued the decision was at variance with the Declaration of Independence he said that while the founding fathers did not believe all men equal in every respect, they believed all men were equal "in certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". [117]

Lincoln–Douglas debates and Cooper Union speech

In 1858 Douglas was up for re-election in the U.S. Senate, and Lincoln hoped to defeat him. Many in the party felt that a former Whig should be nominated in 1858, and Lincoln's 1856 campaigning and support of Trumbull had earned him a favor. [118] Some eastern Republicans supported Douglas from his opposition to the Lecompton Constitution and admission of Kansas as a slave state. [119] Many Illinois Republicans resented this eastern interference. For the first time, Illinois Republicans held a convention to agree upon a Senate candidate, and Lincoln won the nomination with little opposition. [120]

Lincoln accepted the nomination with great enthusiasm and zeal. After his nomination he delivered his House Divided Speech, with the biblical reference Mark 3:25, "A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved—I do not expect the house to fall—but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other." [121] The speech created a stark image of the danger of disunion. [122] The stage was then set for the election of the Illinois legislature which would, in turn, select Lincoln or Douglas. [123] When informed of Lincoln's nomination, Douglas stated, "[Lincoln] is the strong man of the party . and if I beat him, my victory will be hardly won." [124]

The Senate campaign featured seven debates between Lincoln and Douglas. These were the most famous political debates in American history they had an atmosphere akin to a prizefight and drew crowds in the thousands. [125] The principals stood in stark contrast both physically and politically. Lincoln warned that Douglas’ "Slave Power" was threatening the values of republicanism, and accused Douglas of distorting the Founding Fathers' premise that all men are created equal. Douglas emphasized his Freeport Doctrine, that local settlers were free to choose whether to allow slavery, and accused Lincoln of having joined the abolitionists. [126] Lincoln's argument assumed a moral tone, as he claimed Douglas represented a conspiracy to promote slavery. Douglas's argument was more legal, claiming that Lincoln was defying the authority of the U.S. Supreme Court in the Dred Scott decision. [127]

Though the Republican legislative candidates won more popular votes, the Democrats won more seats, and the legislature re-elected Douglas. Lincoln's articulation of the issues gave him a national political presence. [128] In May 1859, Lincoln purchased the Illinois Staats-Anzeiger, a German-language newspaper that was consistently supportive most of the state's 130,000 German Americans voted Democratic but the German-language paper mobilized Republican support. [129] In the aftermath of the 1858 election, newspapers frequently mentioned Lincoln as a potential Republican presidential candidate, rivaled by William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates, and Simon Cameron. While Lincoln was popular in the Midwest, he lacked support in the Northeast, and was unsure whether to seek the office. [130] In January 1860, Lincoln told a group of political allies that he would accept the nomination if offered, and in the following months several local papers endorsed his candidacy. [131]

Traveling untiringly Lincoln made about fifty speeches. By their quality and simplicity he quickly became the champion of the Republican party. However, unlike his overwhelming support in the Midwestern United States his support in the east was not as great, where he sometimes encountered a lack of appreciation and in some quarters was met with much indifference. Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, at that time wrote up an unflattering account of Lincoln's compromising position on slavery and his reluctance to challenge the court's Dred-Scott ruling, which was promptly used against him by his political rivals. [132] [133]

On February 27, 1860, powerful New York Republicans invited Lincoln to give a speech at Cooper Union, in which he argued that the Founding Fathers of the United States had little use for popular sovereignty and had repeatedly sought to restrict slavery. He insisted that morality required opposition to slavery, and rejected any "groping for some middle ground between the right and the wrong". [134] Many in the audience thought he appeared awkward and even ugly. [135] But Lincoln demonstrated intellectual leadership that brought him into contention. Journalist Noah Brooks reported, "No man ever before made such an impression on his first appeal to a New York audience." [136]

Historian David Herbert Donald described the speech as a "superb political move for an unannounced candidate, to appear in one rival's (Seward) own state at an event sponsored by the second rival's (Chase) loyalists, while not mentioning either by name during its delivery". [137] In response to an inquiry about his ambitions, Lincoln said, "The taste is in my mouth a little." [138]

1860 presidential election

On May 9–10, 1860, the Illinois Republican State Convention was held in Decatur. [139] Lincoln's followers organized a campaign team led by David Davis, Norman Judd, Leonard Swett, and Jesse DuBois, and Lincoln received his first endorsement. [140] Exploiting his embellished frontier legend (clearing land and splitting fence rails), Lincoln's supporters adopted the label of "The Rail Candidate". [141] In 1860, Lincoln described himself: "I am in height, six feet, four inches, nearly lean in flesh, weighing, on an average, one hundred and eighty pounds dark complexion, with coarse black hair, and gray eyes." [142] Michael Martinez wrote about the effective imaging of Lincoln by his campaign. At times he was presented as the plain-talking "Rail Splitter" and at other times he was "Honest Abe", unpolished but trustworthy. [143]

On May 18, at the Republican National Convention in Chicago, Lincoln won the nomination on the third ballot, beating candidates such as Seward and Chase. A former Democrat, Hannibal Hamlin of Maine, was nominated for vice president to balance the ticket. Lincoln's success depended on his campaign team, his reputation as a moderate on the slavery issue, and his strong support for internal improvements and the tariff. [144] Pennsylvania put him over the top, led by the state's iron interests who were reassured by his tariff support. [145] Lincoln's managers had focused on this delegation while honoring Lincoln's dictate to "Make no contracts that will bind me". [146]

As the Slave Power tightened its grip on the national government, most Republicans agreed with Lincoln that the North was the aggrieved party. Throughout the 1850s, Lincoln had doubted the prospects of civil war, and his supporters rejected claims that his election would incite secession. [147] When Douglas was selected as the candidate of the Northern Democrats, delegates from eleven slave states walked out of the Democratic convention they opposed Douglas's position on popular sovereignty, and selected incumbent Vice President John C. Breckinridge as their candidate. [148] A group of former Whigs and Know Nothings formed the Constitutional Union Party and nominated John Bell of Tennessee. Lincoln and Douglas competed for votes in the North, while Bell and Breckinridge primarily found support in the South. [118]

Prior to the Republican convention, the Lincoln campaign began cultivating a nationwide youth organization, the Wide Awakes, which it used to generate popular support throughout the country to spearhead voter registration drives, thinking that new voters and young voters tended to embrace new parties. [149] People of the Northern states knew the Southern states would vote against Lincoln and rallied supporters for Lincoln. [150]

As Douglas and the other candidates campaigned, Lincoln gave no speeches, relying on the enthusiasm of the Republican Party. The party did the leg work that produced majorities across the North, and produced an abundance of campaign posters, leaflets, and newspaper editorials. Republican speakers focused first on the party platform, and second on Lincoln's life story, emphasizing his childhood poverty. The goal was to demonstrate the power of "free labor", which allowed a common farm boy to work his way to the top by his own efforts. [151] The Republican Party's production of campaign literature dwarfed the combined opposition a Chicago Tribune writer produced a pamphlet that detailed Lincoln's life, and sold 100,000–200,000 copies. [152] Though he did not give public appearances, many sought to visit him and write him. In the runup to the election he took an office in the Illinois state capitol to deal with the influx of attention. He also hired John George Nicolay as his personal secretary, who would remain in that role during the presidency. [153]

On November 6, 1860, Lincoln was elected the 16th president. He was the first Republican president and his victory was entirely due to his support in the North and West. No ballots were cast for him in 10 of the 15 Southern slave states, and he won only two of 996 counties in all the Southern states, an omen of the impending Civil War. [154] [155] Lincoln received 1,866,452 votes, or 39.8% of the total in a four-way race, carrying the free Northern states, as well as California and Oregon. [156] His victory in the electoral college was decisive: Lincoln had 180 votes to 123 for his opponents. [157]

Secession and inauguration

The South was outraged by Lincoln's election, and in response secessionists implemented plans to leave the Union before he took office in March 1861. [159] On December 20, 1860, South Carolina took the lead by adopting an ordinance of secession by February 1, 1861, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas followed. [160] Six of these states declared themselves to be a sovereign nation, the Confederate States of America, and adopted a constitution. [161] The upper South and border states (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, and Arkansas) initially rejected the secessionist appeal. [162] President Buchanan and President-elect Lincoln refused to recognize the Confederacy, declaring secession illegal. [163] The Confederacy selected Jefferson Davis as its provisional president on February 9, 1861. [164]

Attempts at compromise followed but Lincoln and the Republicans rejected the proposed Crittenden Compromise as contrary to the Party's platform of free-soil in the territories. [165] Lincoln said, "I will suffer death before I consent . to any concession or compromise which looks like buying the privilege to take possession of this government to which we have a constitutional right." [166]

Lincoln tacitly supported the Corwin Amendment to the Constitution, which passed Congress and was awaiting ratification by the states when Lincoln took office. That doomed amendment would have protected slavery in states where it already existed. [167] A few weeks before the war, Lincoln sent a letter to every governor informing them Congress had passed a joint resolution to amend the Constitution. [168]

En route to his inauguration, Lincoln addressed crowds and legislatures across the North. [169] He gave a particularly emotional farewell address upon leaving Springfield he would never again return to Springfield alive. [170] [171] The president-elect evaded suspected assassins in Baltimore. On February 23, 1861, he arrived in disguise in Washington, D.C., which was placed under substantial military guard. [172] Lincoln directed his inaugural address to the South, proclaiming once again that he had no inclination to abolish slavery in the Southern states:

Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States that by the accession of a Republican Administration their property and their peace and personal security are to be endangered. There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. Indeed, the most ample evidence to the contrary has all the while existed and been open to their inspection. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of him who now addresses you. I do but quote from one of those speeches when I declare that "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so."

Lincoln cited his plans for banning the expansion of slavery as the key source of conflict between North and South, stating "One section of our country believes slavery is right and ought to be extended, while the other believes it is wrong and ought not to be extended. This is the only substantial dispute." The president ended his address with an appeal to the people of the South: "We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies . The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature." [174] The failure of the Peace Conference of 1861 signaled that legislative compromise was impossible. By March 1861, no leaders of the insurrection had proposed rejoining the Union on any terms. Meanwhile, Lincoln and the Republican leadership agreed that the dismantling of the Union could not be tolerated. [175] In his second inaugural address, Lincoln looked back on the situation at the time and said: "Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the Nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came."

Civil War

Major Robert Anderson, commander of the Union's Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, sent a request for provisions to Washington, and Lincoln's order to meet that request was seen by the secessionists as an act of war. On April 12, 1861, Confederate forces fired on Union troops at Fort Sumter and began the fight. Historian Allan Nevins argued that the newly inaugurated Lincoln made three miscalculations: underestimating the gravity of the crisis, exaggerating the strength of Unionist sentiment in the South, and overlooking Southern Unionist opposition to an invasion. [176]

William Tecumseh Sherman talked to Lincoln during inauguration week and was "sadly disappointed" at his failure to realize that "the country was sleeping on a volcano" and that the South was preparing for war. [177] Donald concludes that, "His repeated efforts to avoid collision in the months between inauguration and the firing on Ft. Sumter showed he adhered to his vow not to be the first to shed fraternal blood. But he also vowed not to surrender the forts. The only resolution of these contradictory positions was for the confederates to fire the first shot they did just that." [178]

On April 15, Lincoln called on the states to send a total of 75,000 volunteer troops to recapture forts, protect Washington, and "preserve the Union", which, in his view, remained intact despite the seceding states. This call forced states to choose sides. Virginia seceded and was rewarded with the designation of Richmond as the Confederate capital, despite its exposure to Union lines. North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas followed over the following two months. Secession sentiment was strong in Missouri and Maryland, but did not prevail Kentucky remained neutral. [179] The Fort Sumter attack rallied Americans north of the Mason-Dixon line to defend the nation.

As States sent Union regiments south, on April 19, Baltimore mobs in control of the rail links attacked Union troops who were changing trains. Local leaders' groups later burned critical rail bridges to the capital and the Army responded by arresting local Maryland officials. Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus where needed for the security of troops trying to reach Washington. [180] John Merryman, one Maryland official hindering the U.S. troop movements, petitioned Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney to issue a writ of habeas corpus. In June Taney, ruling only for the lower circuit court in ex parte Merryman, issued the writ which he felt could only be suspended by Congress. Lincoln persisted with the policy of suspension in select areas. [181] [182]

Union military strategy

Lincoln took executive control of the war and shaped the Union military strategy. He responded to the unprecedented political and military crisis as commander-in-chief by exercising unprecedented authority. He expanded his war powers, imposed a blockade on Confederate ports, disbursed funds before appropriation by Congress, suspended habeas corpus, and arrested and imprisoned thousands of suspected Confederate sympathizers. Lincoln gained the support of Congress and the northern public for these actions. Lincoln also had to reinforce Union sympathies in the border slave states and keep the war from becoming an international conflict. [183]

It was clear from the outset that bipartisan support was essential to success, and that any compromise alienated factions on both sides of the aisle, such as the appointment of Republicans and Democrats to command positions. Copperheads criticized Lincoln for refusing to compromise on slavery. The Radical Republicans criticized him for moving too slowly in abolishing slavery. [184] On August 6, 1861, Lincoln signed the Confiscation Act that authorized judicial proceedings to confiscate and free slaves who were used to support the Confederates. The law had little practical effect, but it signaled political support for abolishing slavery. [185]

In August 1861, General John C. Frémont, the 1856 Republican presidential nominee, without consulting Washington, issued a martial edict freeing slaves of the rebels. Lincoln canceled the illegal proclamation as politically motivated and lacking military necessity. [186] As a result, Union enlistments from Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri increased by over 40,000. [187]

Internationally, Lincoln wanted to forestall foreign military aid to the Confederacy. [188] He relied on his combative Secretary of State William Seward while working closely with Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Charles Sumner. [189] In the 1861 Trent Affair which threatened war with Great Britain, the U.S. Navy illegally intercepted a British mail ship, the Trent, on the high seas and seized two Confederate envoys Britain protested vehemently while the U.S. cheered. Lincoln ended the crisis by releasing the two diplomats. Biographer James G. Randall dissected Lincoln's successful techniques: [190]

his restraint, his avoidance of any outward expression of truculence, his early softening of State Department's attitude toward Britain, his deference toward Seward and Sumner, his withholding of his paper prepared for the occasion, his readiness to arbitrate, his golden silence in addressing Congress, his shrewdness in recognizing that war must be averted, and his clear perception that a point could be clinched for America's true position at the same time that satisfaction was given to a friendly country.

Lincoln painstakingly monitored the telegraph reports coming into the War Department. He tracked all phases of the effort, consulting with governors, and selecting generals based on their success, their state, and their party. In January 1862, after complaints of inefficiency and profiteering in the War Department, Lincoln replaced War Secretary Simon Cameron with Edwin Stanton. Stanton centralized the War Department's activities, auditing and canceling contracts, saving the federal government $17,000,000. [191] Stanton was a staunch Unionist, pro-business, conservative Democrat who gravitated toward the Radical Republican faction. He worked more often and more closely with Lincoln than any other senior official. "Stanton and Lincoln virtually conducted the war together", say Thomas and Hyman. [192]

Lincoln's war strategy embraced two priorities: ensuring that Washington was well-defended and conducting an aggressive war effort for a prompt, decisive victory. [h] Twice a week, Lincoln met with his cabinet in the afternoon. Occasionally Mary prevailed on him to take a carriage ride, concerned that he was working too hard. [194] For his edification Lincoln relied upon a book by his chief of staff General Henry Halleck entitled Elements of Military Art and Science Halleck was a disciple of the European strategist Antoine-Henri Jomini. Lincoln began to appreciate the critical need to control strategic points, such as the Mississippi River. [195] Lincoln saw the importance of Vicksburg and understood the necessity of defeating the enemy's army, rather than simply capturing territory. [196]

General McClellan

After the Union rout at Bull Run and Winfield Scott's retirement, Lincoln appointed Major General George B. McClellan general-in-chief. [197] McClellan then took months to plan his Virginia Peninsula Campaign. McClellan's slow progress frustrated Lincoln, as did his position that no troops were needed to defend Washington. McClellan, in turn, blamed the failure of the campaign on Lincoln's reservation of troops for the capitol. [198]

In 1862 Lincoln removed McClellan for the general's continued inaction. He elevated Henry Halleck in July and appointed John Pope as head of the new Army of Virginia. [199] Pope satisfied Lincoln's desire to advance on Richmond from the north, thus protecting Washington from counterattack. [200] But Pope was then soundly defeated at the Second Battle of Bull Run in the summer of 1862, forcing the Army of the Potomac back to defend Washington. [201]

Despite his dissatisfaction with McClellan's failure to reinforce Pope, Lincoln restored him to command of all forces around Washington. [202] Two days after McClellan's return to command, General Robert E. Lee's forces crossed the Potomac River into Maryland, leading to the Battle of Antietam. [203] That battle, a Union victory, was among the bloodiest in American history it facilitated Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation in January. [204]

McClellan then resisted the president's demand that he pursue Lee's withdrawing army, while General Don Carlos Buell likewise refused orders to move the Army of the Ohio against rebel forces in eastern Tennessee. Lincoln replaced Buell with William Rosecrans and after the 1862 midterm elections he replaced McClellan with Ambrose Burnside. The appointments were both politically neutral and adroit on Lincoln's part. [205]

Burnside, against presidential advice, launched an offensive across the Rappahannock River and was defeated by Lee at Fredericksburg in December. Desertions during 1863 came in the thousands and only increased after Fredericksburg, so Lincoln replaced Burnside with Joseph Hooker. [206]

In the 1862 midterm elections the Republicans suffered severe losses due to rising inflation, high taxes, rumors of corruption, suspension of habeas corpus, military draft law, and fears that freed slaves would come North and undermine the labor market. The Emancipation Proclamation gained votes for Republicans in rural New England and the upper Midwest, but cost votes in the Irish and German strongholds and in the lower Midwest, where many Southerners had lived for generations. [207]

In the spring of 1863 Lincoln was sufficiently optimistic about upcoming military campaigns to think the end of the war could be near the plans included attacks by Hooker on Lee north of Richmond, Rosecrans on Chattanooga, Grant on Vicksburg, and a naval assault on Charleston. [208]

Hooker was routed by Lee at the Battle of Chancellorsville in May, then resigned and was replaced by George Meade. [209] Meade followed Lee north into Pennsylvania and beat him in the Gettysburg Campaign, but then failed to follow up despite Lincoln's demands. At the same time, Grant captured Vicksburg and gained control of the Mississippi River, splitting the far western rebel states. [210]

Emancipation Proclamation

The Federal government's power to end slavery was limited by the Constitution, which before 1865 delegated the issue to the individual states. Lincoln argued that slavery would be rendered obsolete if its expansion into new territories were prevented. He sought to persuade the states to agree to compensation for emancipating their slaves in return for their acceptance of abolition. [211] Lincoln rejected Fremont's two emancipation attempts in August 1861, as well as one by Major General David Hunter in May 1862, on the grounds that it was not within their power, and would upset loyal border states. [212]

In June 1862, Congress passed an act banning slavery on all federal territory, which Lincoln signed. In July, the Confiscation Act of 1862 was enacted, providing court procedures to free the slaves of those convicted of aiding the rebellion Lincoln approved the bill despite his belief that it was unconstitutional. He felt such action could be taken only within the war powers of the commander-in-chief, which he planned to exercise. Lincoln at this time reviewed a draft of the Emancipation Proclamation with his cabinet. [213]

Privately, Lincoln concluded that the Confederacy's slave base had to be eliminated. Copperheads argued that emancipation was a stumbling block to peace and reunification Republican editor Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune agreed. [214] In a letter of August 22, 1862, Lincoln said that while he personally wished all men could be free, regardless of that, his first obligation as president was to preserve the Union: [215]

My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union . [¶] I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free. [216]

The Emancipation Proclamation, issued on September 22, 1862, and effective January 1, 1863, affirmed the freedom of slaves in 10 states not then under Union control, with exemptions specified for areas under such control. [217] Lincoln's comment on signing the Proclamation was: "I never, in my life, felt more certain that I was doing right, than I do in signing this paper." [218] He spent the next 100 days preparing the army and the nation for emancipation, while Democrats rallied their voters by warning of the threat that freed slaves posed to northern whites. [219]

With the abolition of slavery in the rebel states now a military objective, Union armies advancing south liberated three million slaves.

Enlisting former slaves became official policy. By the spring of 1863, Lincoln was ready to recruit black troops in more than token numbers. In a letter to Tennessee military governor Andrew Johnson encouraging him to lead the way in raising black troops, Lincoln wrote, "The bare sight of 50,000 armed and drilled black soldiers on the banks of the Mississippi would end the rebellion at once". [220] By the end of 1863, at Lincoln's direction, General Lorenzo Thomas had recruited 20 regiments of blacks from the Mississippi Valley. [221]

The Proclamation included Lincoln's earlier plans for colonies for newly freed slaves, though that undertaking ultimately failed. [222]

Gettysburg Address (1863)

Lincoln spoke at the dedication of the Gettysburg battlefield cemetery on November 19, 1863. [223] In 272 words, and three minutes, Lincoln asserted that the nation was born not in 1789, but in 1776, "conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal". He defined the war as dedicated to the principles of liberty and equality for all. He declared that the deaths of so many brave soldiers would not be in vain, that slavery would end, and the future of democracy would be assured, that "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth". [224]

Defying his prediction that "the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here", the Address became the most quoted speech in American history. [225]

General Grant

Grant's victories at the Battle of Shiloh and in the Vicksburg campaign impressed Lincoln. Responding to criticism of Grant after Shiloh, Lincoln had said, "I can't spare this man. He fights." [226] With Grant in command, Lincoln felt the Union Army could advance in multiple theaters, while also including black troops. Meade's failure to capture Lee's army after Gettysburg and the continued passivity of the Army of the Potomac persuaded Lincoln to promote Grant to supreme commander. Grant then assumed command of Meade's army. [227]

Lincoln was concerned that Grant might be considering a presidential candidacy in 1864. He arranged for an intermediary to inquire into Grant's political intentions, and once assured that he had none, Lincoln promoted Grant to the newly revived rank of Lieutenant General, a rank which had been unoccupied since George Washington. [228] Authorization for such a promotion "with the advice and consent of the Senate" was provided by a new bill which Lincoln signed the same day he submitted Grant's name to the Senate. His nomination was confirmed by the Senate on March 2, 1864. [229]

Grant in 1864 waged the bloody Overland Campaign, which exacted heavy losses on both sides. [230] When Lincoln asked what Grant's plans were, the persistent general replied, "I propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer." [231] Grant's army moved steadily south. Lincoln traveled to Grant's headquarters at City Point, Virginia, to confer with Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman. [232] Lincoln reacted to Union losses by mobilizing support throughout the North. [233] Lincoln authorized Grant to target infrastructure—plantations, railroads, and bridges—hoping to weaken the South's morale and fighting ability. He emphasized defeat of the Confederate armies over destruction (which was considerable) for its own sake. [234] Lincoln's engagement became distinctly personal on one occasion in 1864 when Confederate general Jubal Early raided Washington, D.C.. Legend has it that while Lincoln watched from an exposed position, Union Captain (and future Supreme Court Justice) Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. shouted at him, "Get down, you damn fool, before you get shot!" [235]

As Grant continued to weaken Lee's forces, efforts to discuss peace began. Confederate Vice President Stephens led a group meeting with Lincoln, Seward, and others at Hampton Roads. Lincoln refused to negotiate with the Confederacy as a coequal his objective to end the fighting was not realized. [236] On April 1, 1865, Grant nearly encircled Petersburg in a siege. The Confederate government evacuated Richmond and Lincoln visited the conquered capital. On April 9, Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox, officially ending the war. [237]

Re-election

Lincoln ran for reelection in 1864, while uniting the main Republican factions, along with War Democrats Edwin M. Stanton and Andrew Johnson. Lincoln used conversation and his patronage powers—greatly expanded from peacetime—to build support and fend off the Radicals' efforts to replace him. [238] At its convention, the Republicans selected Johnson as his running mate. To broaden his coalition to include War Democrats as well as Republicans, Lincoln ran under the label of the new Union Party. [239]

Grant's bloody stalemates damaged Lincoln's re-election prospects, and many Republicans feared defeat. Lincoln confidentially pledged in writing that if he should lose the election, he would still defeat the Confederacy before turning over the White House [240] Lincoln did not show the pledge to his cabinet, but asked them to sign the sealed envelope. The pledge read as follows:

"This morning, as for some days past, it seems exceedingly probable that this Administration will not be re-elected. Then it will be my duty to so co-operate with the President elect, as to save the Union between the election and the inauguration as he will have secured his election on such ground that he cannot possibly save it afterward." [241]

The Democratic platform followed the "Peace wing" of the party and called the war a "failure" but their candidate, McClellan, supported the war and repudiated the platform. Meanwhile, Lincoln emboldened Grant with more troops and Republican party support. Sherman's capture of Atlanta in September and David Farragut's capture of Mobile ended defeatism. [242] The Democratic Party was deeply split, with some leaders and most soldiers openly for Lincoln. The National Union Party was united by Lincoln's support for emancipation. State Republican parties stressed the perfidy of the Copperheads. [243] On November 8, Lincoln carried all but three states, including 78 percent of Union soldiers. [244]

On March 4, 1865, Lincoln delivered his second inaugural address. In it, he deemed the war casualties to be God's will. Historian Mark Noll places the speech "among the small handful of semi-sacred texts by which Americans conceive their place in the world" it is inscribed in the Lincoln Memorial. [245] Lincoln said:

Fondly do we hope—fervently do we pray—that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man's 250 years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said 3,000 years ago, so still it must be said, "the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether". With malice toward none with charity for all with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in to bind up the nation's wounds to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations. [246]

Reconstruction

Reconstruction preceded the war's end, as Lincoln and his associates considered the reintegration of the nation, and the fates of Confederate leaders and freed slaves. When a general asked Lincoln how the defeated Confederates were to be treated, Lincoln replied, "Let 'em up easy." [247] Lincoln was determined to find meaning in the war in its aftermath, and did not want to continue to outcast the southern states. His main goal was to keep the union together, so he proceeded by focusing not on whom to blame, but on how to rebuild the nation as one. [248] Lincoln led the moderates in Reconstruction policy and was opposed by the Radicals, under Rep. Thaddeus Stevens, Sen. Charles Sumner and Sen. Benjamin Wade, who otherwise remained Lincoln's allies. Determined to reunite the nation and not alienate the South, Lincoln urged that speedy elections under generous terms be held. His Amnesty Proclamation of December 8, 1863, offered pardons to those who had not held a Confederate civil office and had not mistreated Union prisoners, if they were willing to sign an oath of allegiance. [249]

As Southern states fell, they needed leaders while their administrations were restored. In Tennessee and Arkansas, Lincoln respectively appointed Johnson and Frederick Steele as military governors. In Louisiana, Lincoln ordered General Nathaniel P. Banks to promote a plan that would reestablish statehood when 10 percent of the voters agreed, and only if the reconstructed states abolished slavery. Democratic opponents accused Lincoln of using the military to ensure his and the Republicans' political aspirations. The Radicals denounced his policy as too lenient, and passed their own plan, the 1864 Wade–Davis Bill, which Lincoln vetoed. The Radicals retaliated by refusing to seat elected representatives from Louisiana, Arkansas, and Tennessee. [250]

Lincoln's appointments were designed to harness both moderates and Radicals. To fill Chief Justice Taney's seat on the Supreme Court, he named the Radicals' choice, Salmon P. Chase, who Lincoln believed would uphold his emancipation and paper money policies. [251]

After implementing the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln increased pressure on Congress to outlaw slavery throughout the nation with a constitutional amendment. He declared that such an amendment would "clinch the whole matter" and by December 1863 an amendment was brought to Congress. [252] This first attempt fell short of the required two-thirds majority in the House of Representatives. Passage became part of the Republican/Unionist platform, and after a House debate the second attempt passed on January 31, 1865. [253] With ratification, it became the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution on December 6, 1865. [254]

Lincoln believed the federal government had limited responsibility to the millions of freedmen. He signed Senator Charles Sumner's Freedmen's Bureau bill that set up a temporary federal agency designed to meet the immediate needs of former slaves. The law opened land for a lease of three years with the ability to purchase title for the freedmen. Lincoln announced a Reconstruction plan that involved short-term military control, pending readmission under the control of southern Unionists. [255]

Historians agree that it is impossible to predict exactly how Reconstruction would have proceeded had Lincoln lived. Biographers James G. Randall and Richard Current, according to David Lincove, argue that: [256]

It is likely that had he lived, Lincoln would have followed a policy similar to Johnson's, that he would have clashed with congressional Radicals, that he would have produced a better result for the freedmen than occurred, and that his political skills would have helped him avoid Johnson's mistakes.

Unlike Sumner and other Radicals, Lincoln did not see Reconstruction as an opportunity for a sweeping political and social revolution beyond emancipation. He had long made clear his opposition to the confiscation and redistribution of land. He believed, as most Republicans did in April 1865, that the voting requirements should be determined by the states. He assumed that political control in the South would pass to white Unionists, reluctant secessionists, and forward-looking former Confederates. But time and again during the war, Lincoln, after initial opposition, had come to embrace positions first advanced by abolitionists and Radical Republicans. . Lincoln undoubtedly would have listened carefully to the outcry for further protection for the former slaves . It is entirely plausible to imagine Lincoln and Congress agreeing on a Reconstruction policy that encompassed federal protection for basic civil rights plus limited black suffrage, along the lines Lincoln proposed just before his death.

Native American policy

Lincoln's experience with Indians followed the death of his grandfather Abraham at their hands, in the presence of his father and uncles. Lincoln claimed Indians were antagonistic toward his father, Thomas Lincoln, and his young family. Although Lincoln was a veteran of the Black Hawk War, which was fought in Wisconsin and Illinois in 1832, he saw no significant action. [258] During his presidency, Lincoln's policy toward Indians was driven by politics. [258] He used the Indian Bureau as a source of patronage, making appointments to his loyal followers in Minnesota and Wisconsin. [259] He faced difficulties guarding Western settlers, railroads, and telegraphs, from Indian attacks. [259]

On August 17, 1862, the Dakota uprising in Minnesota, supported by the Yankton Indians, killed hundreds of white settlers, forced 30,000 from their homes, and deeply alarmed the Lincoln administration. [260] Some believed it was a conspiracy by the Confederacy to launch a war on the Northwestern front. [261] Lincoln sent General John Pope, the former head of the Army of Virginia, to Minnesota as commander of the new Department of the Northwest. [262] Lincoln ordered thousands of Confederate prisoners of war sent by railroad to put down the Dakota Uprising. [263] When the Confederates protested forcing Confederate prisoners to fight Indians, Lincoln revoked the policy. [264] Pope fought against the Indians mercilessly, even advocating their extinction. He ordered Indian farms and food supplies be destroyed, and Indian warriors be killed. [262] Aiding Pope, Minnesota Congressman Col. Henry H. Sibley led militiamen and regular troops to defeat the Dakota at Wood Lake. [264] By October 9, Pope considered the uprising to be ended hostilities ceased on December 26. [265] An unusual military court was set up to prosecute captured natives, with Lincoln effectively acting as the route of appeal. [266]

Lincoln personally reviewed each of 303 execution warrants for Santee Dakota convicted of killing innocent farmers he commuted the sentences of all but 39 (one was later reprieved). [267] [266] Lincoln sought to be lenient, but still send a message. He also faced significant public pressure, including threats of mob justice should any of the Dakota be spared. [266] Former Governor of Minnesota Alexander Ramsey told Lincoln, in 1864, that he would have gotten more presidential election support had he executed all 303 of the Indians. Lincoln responded, "I could not afford to hang men for votes." [268]

Other enactments

In the selection and use of his cabinet, Lincoln employed the strengths of his opponents in a manner that emboldened his presidency. Lincoln commented on his thought process, "We need the strongest men of the party in the Cabinet. We needed to hold our own people together. I had looked the party over and concluded that these were the very strongest men. Then I had no right to deprive the country of their services." [269] Goodwin described the group in her biography as a Team of Rivals. [270]

Lincoln adhered to the Whig theory of a presidency focused on executing laws while deferring to Congress' responsibility for legislating. Lincoln vetoed only four bills, particularly the Wade-Davis Bill with its harsh Reconstruction program. [271] The 1862 Homestead Act made millions of acres of Western government-held land available for purchase at low cost. The 1862 Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act provided government grants for agricultural colleges in each state. The Pacific Railway Acts of 1862 and 1864 granted federal support for the construction of the United States' First Transcontinental Railroad, which was completed in 1869. [272] The passage of the Homestead Act and the Pacific Railway Acts was enabled by the absence of Southern congressmen and senators who had opposed the measures in the 1850s. [273]

The Lincoln Cabinet [274]
OfficeNameTerm
PresidentAbraham Lincoln1861–1865
Vice PresidentHannibal Hamlin1861–1865
Andrew Johnson1865
Secretary of StateWilliam H. Seward1861–1865
Secretary of the TreasurySalmon P. Chase1861–1864
William P. Fessenden1864–1865
Hugh McCulloch1865
Secretary of WarSimon Cameron1861–1862
Edwin M. Stanton1862–1865
Attorney GeneralEdward Bates1861–1864
James Speed1864–1865
Postmaster GeneralMontgomery Blair1861–1864
William Dennison Jr.1864–1865
Secretary of the NavyGideon Welles1861–1865
Secretary of the InteriorCaleb Blood Smith1861–1862
John Palmer Usher1863–1865

There were two measures passed to raise revenues for the Federal government: tariffs (a policy with long precedent), and a Federal income tax. In 1861, Lincoln signed the second and third Morrill Tariffs, following the first enacted by Buchanan. He also signed the Revenue Act of 1861, creating the first U.S. income tax—a flat tax of 3 percent on incomes above $800 ($23,000 in current dollar terms). [275] The Revenue Act of 1862 adopted rates that increased with income. [276]

Lincoln presided over the expansion of the federal government's economic influence in other areas. The National Banking Act created the system of national banks. The US issued paper currency for the first time, known as greenbacks—printed in green on the reverse side. [277] In 1862, Congress created the Department of Agriculture. [275]

In response to rumors of a renewed draft, the editors of the New York World and the Journal of Commerce published a false draft proclamation that created an opportunity for the editors and others to corner the gold market. Lincoln attacked the media for such behavior, and ordered a military seizure of the two papers which lasted for two days. [278]

Lincoln is largely responsible for the Thanksgiving holiday. [279] Thanksgiving had become a regional holiday in New England in the 17th century. It had been sporadically proclaimed by the federal government on irregular dates. The prior proclamation had been during James Madison's presidency 50 years earlier. In 1863, Lincoln declared the final Thursday in November of that year to be a day of Thanksgiving. [279]

In June 1864, Lincoln approved the Yosemite Grant enacted by Congress, which provided unprecedented federal protection for the area now known as Yosemite National Park. [280]

Judicial appointments

Supreme Court appointments

Supreme Court Justices
Justice Nominated Appointed
Noah Haynes Swayne January 21, 1862 January 24, 1862
Samuel Freeman Miller July 16, 1862 July 16, 1862
David Davis December 1, 1862 December 8, 1862
Stephen Johnson Field March 6, 1863 March 10, 1863
Salmon Portland Chase (Chief Justice) December 6, 1864 December 6, 1864

Lincoln's philosophy on court nominations was that "we cannot ask a man what he will do, and if we should, and he should answer us, we should despise him for it. Therefore we must take a man whose opinions are known." [279] Lincoln made five appointments to the Supreme Court. Noah Haynes Swayne was an anti-slavery lawyer who was committed to the Union. Samuel Freeman Miller supported Lincoln in the 1860 election and was an avowed abolitionist. David Davis was Lincoln's campaign manager in 1860 and had served as a judge in the Illinois court circuit where Lincoln practiced. Democrat Stephen Johnson Field, a previous California Supreme Court justice, provided geographic and political balance. Finally, Lincoln's Treasury Secretary, Salmon P. Chase, became Chief Justice. Lincoln believed Chase was an able jurist, would support Reconstruction legislation, and that his appointment united the Republican Party. [281]

Other judicial appointments

Lincoln appointed 27 judges to the United States district courts but no judges to the United States circuit courts during his time in office. [282] [283]

States admitted to the Union

West Virginia was admitted to the Union on June 20, 1863. Nevada, which became the third state in the far-west of the continent, was admitted as a free state on October 31, 1864. [284]

Assassination

John Wilkes Booth was a well-known actor and a Confederate spy from Maryland though he never joined the Confederate army, he had contacts with the Confederate secret service. [285] After attending an April 11, 1865 speech in which Lincoln promoted voting rights for blacks, Booth hatched a plot to assassinate the President. [286] When Booth learned of the Lincolns' intent to attend a play with General Grant, he planned to assassinate Lincoln and Grant at Ford's Theatre. Lincoln and his wife attended the play Our American Cousin on the evening of April 14, just five days after the Union victory at the Battle of Appomattox Courthouse. At the last minute, Grant decided to go to New Jersey to visit his children instead of attending the play. [287]

At 10:15 pm, Booth entered the back of Lincoln's theater box, crept up from behind, and fired at the back of Lincoln's head, mortally wounding him. Lincoln's guest Major Henry Rathbone momentarily grappled with Booth, but Booth stabbed him and escaped. [288] After being attended by Doctor Charles Leale and two other doctors, Lincoln was taken across the street to Petersen House. After remaining in a coma for eight hours, Lincoln died at 7:22 am on April 15. [289] [i] Stanton saluted and said, "Now he belongs to the ages." [294] [j] Lincoln's body was placed in a flag-wrapped coffin, which was loaded into a hearse and escorted to the White House by Union soldiers. [295] President Johnson was sworn in the next morning. [296]

Two weeks later, Booth was tracked to a farm in Virginia, and refusing to surrender, he was mortally shot by Sergeant Boston Corbett and died on April 26. Secretary of War Stanton had issued orders that Booth be taken alive, so Corbett was initially arrested for court martial. After a brief interview, Stanton declared him a patriot and dismissed the charge. [297]

Funeral and burial

The late President lay in state, first in the East Room of the White House, and then in the Capitol Rotunda from April 19 through April 21. The caskets containing Lincoln's body and the body of his son Willie traveled for three weeks on the Lincoln Special funeral train. [298] The train followed a circuitous route from Washington D.C. to Springfield, Illinois, stopping at many cities for memorials attended by hundreds of thousands. Many others gathered along the tracks as the train passed with bands, bonfires, and hymn singing [299] or in silent grief. Poet Walt Whitman composed "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd" to eulogize him, one of four poems he wrote about Lincoln. [300] African Americans were especially moved they had lost 'their Moses'. [301] In a larger sense, the reaction was in response to the deaths of so many men in the war. [302] Historians emphasized the widespread shock and sorrow, but noted that some Lincoln haters celebrated his death. [303]

As a young man, Lincoln was a religious skeptic. [304] He was deeply familiar with the Bible, quoting and praising it. [305] He was private about his position on organized religion and respected the beliefs of others. [306] He never made a clear profession of Christian beliefs. [307] Through his entire public career, Lincoln had a proneness for quoting Scripture. [308] His three most famous speeches—the House Divided Speech, the Gettysburg Address, and his second inaugural—each contain direct allusions to Providence and quotes from Scripture.

In the 1840s, Lincoln subscribed to the Doctrine of Necessity, a belief that the human mind was controlled by a higher power. [309] With the death of his son Edward in 1850 he more frequently expressed a dependence on God. [310] He never joined a church, although he frequently attended First Presbyterian Church with his wife beginning in 1852. [311] [k]

In the 1850s, Lincoln asserted his belief in "providence" in a general way, and rarely used the language or imagery of the evangelicals he regarded the republicanism of the Founding Fathers with an almost religious reverence. [312] The death of son Willie in February 1862 may have caused him to look toward religion for solace. [313] After Willie's death, he questioned the divine necessity of the war's severity. He wrote at this time that God "could have either saved or destroyed the Union without a human contest. Yet the contest began. And having begun, He could give the final victory to either side any day. Yet the contest proceeds." [314]

Lincoln did believe in an all-powerful God that shaped events and by 1865 was expressing those beliefs in major speeches. [307] By the end of the war, he increasingly appealed to the Almighty for solace and to explain events, writing on April 4, 1864, to a newspaper editor in Kentucky:

I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me. Now, at the end of three years struggle the nation's condition is not what either party, or any man devised, or expected. God alone can claim it. Whither it is tending seems plain. If God now wills the removal of a great wrong, and wills also that we of the North as well as you of the South, shall pay fairly for our complicity in that wrong, impartial history will find therein new cause to attest and revere the justice and goodness of God. [315]

This spirituality can best be seen in his second inaugural address, considered by some scholars [316] as the greatest such address in American history, and by Lincoln himself as his own greatest speech, or one of them at the very least. [l] [317] Lincoln explains therein the cause, purpose, and result of the war was God's will. [318] Later in life, Lincoln's frequent use of religious imagery and language might have reflected his own personal beliefs and might have been a device to reach his audiences, who were mostly evangelical Protestants. [319] On the day Lincoln was assassinated, he reportedly told his wife he desired to visit the Holy Land. [320]

Lincoln is believed to have had depression, smallpox, and malaria. [321] He took blue mass pills, which contained mercury, to treat constipation. [322] It is unknown to what extent he may have suffered from mercury poisoning. [323]

Several claims have been made that Lincoln's health was declining before the assassination. These are often based on photographs of Lincoln appearing to show weight loss and muscle wasting. [324] It is also suspected that he might have had a rare genetic disease such as Marfan syndrome or multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2B. [324]

Republican values

Lincoln's redefinition of republican values has been stressed by historians such as John Patrick Diggins, Harry V. Jaffa, Vernon Burton, Eric Foner, and Herman J. Belz. [325] Lincoln called the Declaration of Independence—which emphasized freedom and equality for all—the "sheet anchor" of republicanism beginning in the 1850s. He did this at a time when the Constitution, which "tolerated slavery", was the focus of most political discourse. [326] Diggins notes, "Lincoln presented Americans a theory of history that offers a profound contribution to the theory and destiny of republicanism itself" in the 1860 Cooper Union speech. [327] Instead of focusing on the legality of an argument, he focused on the moral basis of republicanism. [328]

His position on war was founded on a legal argument regarding the Constitution as essentially a contract among the states, and all parties must agree to pull out of the contract. Furthermore, it was a national duty to ensure the republic stands in every state. [329] Many soldiers and religious leaders from the north, though, felt the fight for liberty and freedom of slaves was ordained by their moral and religious beliefs. [330]

As a Whig activist, Lincoln was a spokesman for business interests, favoring high tariffs, banks, infrastructure improvements, and railroads, in opposition to Jacksonian democrats. [331] William C. Harris found that Lincoln's "reverence for the Founding Fathers, the Constitution, the laws under it, and the preservation of the Republic and its institutions strengthened his conservatism." [332] James G. Randall emphasizes his tolerance and moderation "in his preference for orderly progress, his distrust of dangerous agitation, and his reluctance toward ill digested schemes of reform." Randall concludes that "he was conservative in his complete avoidance of that type of so-called 'radicalism' which involved abuse of the South, hatred for the slaveholder, thirst for vengeance, partisan plotting, and ungenerous demands that Southern institutions be transformed overnight by outsiders." [333]

Reunification of the states

In Lincoln's first inaugural address, he explored the nature of democracy. He denounced secession as anarchy, and explained that majority rule had to be balanced by constitutional restraints. He said "A majority held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations, and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people." [334]

The successful reunification of the states had consequences for how people viewed the country. The term "the United States" has historically been used, sometimes in the plural ("these United States"), and other times in the singular. The Civil War was a significant force in the eventual dominance of the singular usage by the end of the 19th century. [335]

Historical reputation

In his company, I was never reminded of my humble origin, or of my unpopular color. [336]

In surveys of U.S. scholars ranking presidents conducted since 1948, the top three presidents are Lincoln, Washington, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, although the order varies. [337] [m] Between 1999 and 2011, Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan have been the top-ranked presidents in eight surveys, according to Gallup. [339] A 2004 study found that scholars in the fields of history and politics ranked Lincoln number one, while legal scholars placed him second after George Washington. [340]

Lincoln's assassination left him a national martyr. He was viewed by abolitionists as a champion of human liberty. Republicans linked Lincoln's name to their party. Many, though not all, in the South considered Lincoln as a man of outstanding ability. [341] Historians have said he was "a classical liberal" in the 19th-century sense. Allen C. Guelzo states that Lincoln was a "classical liberal democrat—an enemy of artificial hierarchy, a friend to trade and business as ennobling and enabling, and an American counterpart to Mill, Cobden, and Bright", whose portrait Lincoln hung in his White House office. [342] [343]

Schwartz argues that Lincoln's American reputation grew slowly from the late 19th century until the Progressive Era (1900–1920s), when he emerged as one of America's most venerated heroes, even among white Southerners. The high point came in 1922 with the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. [344]

Union nationalism, as envisioned by Lincoln, "helped lead America to the nationalism of Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt." [345] In the New Deal era, liberals honored Lincoln not so much as the self-made man or the great war president, but as the advocate of the common man who they claimed would have supported the welfare state. [346]

Sociologist Barry Schwartz argues that in the 1930s and 1940s the memory of Abraham Lincoln was practically sacred and provided the nation with "a moral symbol inspiring and guiding American life." During the Great Depression, he argues, Lincoln served "as a means for seeing the world's disappointments, for making its sufferings not so much explicable as meaningful". Franklin D. Roosevelt, preparing America for war, used the words of the Civil War president to clarify the threat posed by Germany and Japan. Americans asked, "What would Lincoln do?" [347] However, Schwartz also finds that since World War II Lincoln's symbolic power has lost relevance, and this "fading hero is symptomatic of fading confidence in national greatness." He suggested that postmodernism and multiculturalism have diluted greatness as a concept. [348]

In the Cold War years, Lincoln's image shifted to a symbol of freedom who brought hope to those oppressed by Communist regimes. [346] By the late 1960s, some African-American intellectuals, led by Lerone Bennett Jr., rejected Lincoln's role as the Great Emancipator. [349] [350] Bennett won wide attention when he called Lincoln a white supremacist in 1968. [351] He noted that Lincoln used ethnic slurs and told jokes that ridiculed blacks. Bennett argued that Lincoln opposed social equality, and proposed sending freed slaves to another country. Defenders, such as authors Dirck and Cashin, retorted that he was not as bad as most politicians of his day [352] and that he was a "moral visionary" who deftly advanced the abolitionist cause, as fast as politically possible. [353] The emphasis shifted away from Lincoln the emancipator to an argument that blacks had freed themselves from slavery, or at least were responsible for pressuring the government on emancipation. [354]

By the 1970s, Lincoln had become a hero to political conservatives, [355] apart from neo-Confederates such as Mel Bradford who denounced his treatment of the white South, for his intense nationalism, support for business, his insistence on stopping the spread of human bondage, his acting in terms of Lockean and Burkean principles on behalf of both liberty and tradition, and his devotion to the principles of the Founding Fathers. [356] Lincoln became a favorite exemplar for liberal intellectuals across the world. [357]

Historian Barry Schwartz wrote in 2009 that Lincoln's image suffered "erosion, fading prestige, benign ridicule" in the late 20th century. [358] On the other hand, Donald opined in his 1996 biography that Lincoln was distinctly endowed with the personality trait of negative capability, defined by the poet John Keats and attributed to extraordinary leaders who were "content in the midst of uncertainties and doubts, and not compelled toward fact or reason". [359]

In the 21st century, President Barack Obama named Lincoln his favorite president and insisted on using the Lincoln Bible for his inaugural ceremonies. [360] [361] [362] Lincoln has often been portrayed by Hollywood, almost always in a flattering light. [363] [364]

Memory and memorials

Lincoln's portrait appears on two denominations of United States currency, the penny and the $5 bill. His likeness also appears on many postage stamps. [365] While he is usually portrayed bearded, he didn't grow a beard until 1860 at the suggestion of 11-year-old Grace Bedell. He was the first of 16 presidents to do so. [366]

He has been memorialized in many town, city, and county names, [367] including the capital of Nebraska. [368] The United States Navy Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) is named after Lincoln, the second Navy ship to bear his name. [369]

Lincoln Memorial is one of the most visited monuments in the nation's capital, [370] and is one of the top five visited National Park Service sites in the country. [371] Ford's Theatre, among the top sites in Washington, D.C., [371] is across the street from Petersen House (where he died). [372] Memorials in Springfield, Illinois include Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Lincoln's home, as well as his tomb. [373] A portrait carving of Lincoln appears with those of three other presidents on Mount Rushmore, which receives about 3 million visitors a year. [374]

Lincoln's image carved into the stone of Mount Rushmore

Abraham Lincoln, a 1909 bronze statue by Adolph Weinman, sits before a historic church in Hodgenville, Kentucky.


Contents

Xi Jinping was born in Beijing on 15 June 1953, the second son of Xi Zhongxun and his wife Qi Xin. After the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949 by Mao Zedong, Xi's father held a series of posts, including Party propaganda chief, vice-premier, and Vice Chairperson of the National People's Congress. [25] Xi had two older sisters, Qiaoqiao, born in 1949 and An'an ( 安安 Ān'ān ), born in 1952. [26] [27] Xi's father was from Fuping County, Shaanxi, and Xi could further trace his patrilineal descent from Xiying in Dengzhou, Henan. [28]

Xi went to the Beijing No. 25 School, [29] and then Beijing Bayi School, [30] [31] in the 1960s. He became friends with Liu He, who attended Beijing No. 101 School in the same district, who later became China's vice-premier and a close advisor to Xi after he became China's paramount leader. [32] [33] In 1963, when he was age 10, his father was purged from the Party and sent to work in a factory in Luoyang, Henan. [34] In May 1966, the Cultural Revolution cut short Xi's secondary education when all secondary classes were halted for students to criticise and fight their teachers. Student militants ransacked the Xi family home and one of Xi's sisters, Xi Heping, committed suicide from the pressure. [35] Later, his mother was forced to publicly denounce his father, as he was paraded before a crowd as an enemy of the revolution. His father was later thrown into prison in 1968 when Xi was aged 15. Without the protection of his father, Xi was sent to work in Liangjiahe Village, Wen'anyi Town, Yanchuan County, Yan'an, Shaanxi, in 1969 in Mao Zedong's Down to the Countryside Movement. [36] He worked as the party secretary of Liangjiahe, where he lived in a cave house. [37] After a few months, unable to stand rural life, he ran away to Beijing. He was arrested during a crackdown on deserters from the countryside and sent to a work camp to dig ditches, but later returned to the village, spending a total of seven years there. [38] [39]

The misfortunes and suffering of his family in his early years hardened Xi's view of politics. During an interview in 2000, he said, "People who have little contact with power, who are far from it, always see these things as mysterious and novel. But what I see is not just the superficial things: the power, the flowers, the glory, the applause. I see the bullpens and how people can blow hot and cold. I understand politics on a deeper level." The bullpens was a reference to Red Guards' detention houses during the Cultural Revolution. [40]

After being rejected seven times, Xi joined the Communist Youth League of China in 1971 by befriending a local official. [41] He reunited with his father in 1972, because of a family reunion ordered by Premier Zhou Enlai. [35] From 1973, he applied to join the Chinese Communist Party ten times and was finally accepted on his tenth attempt in 1974. [42] [43]

From 1975 to 1979, Xi studied chemical engineering at Beijing's Tsinghua University as a "Worker-Peasant-Soldier student". The engineering majors there spent about 15 percent of their time studying Marxism–Leninism–Mao Zedong thought and 5 percent of their time doing farm work and "learning from the People's Liberation Army". [44]

From 1979 to 1982, Xi served as secretary for his father's former subordinate Geng Biao, the then vice premier and secretary-general of the Central Military Commission. This gained Xi some military background. [41] In 1985, as part of a Chinese delegation to study U.S. agriculture, he stayed in the home of an American family in the town of Muscatine, Iowa. This trip, and his two-week stay with a U.S. family, is said to have had a lasting impression upon him and his views on the United States. [45]

In 1982, he was sent to Zhengding County in Hebei as deputy party secretary of Zhengding County. He was promoted in 1983 to secretary, becoming the top official of the county. [46] Xi subsequently served in four provinces during his regional political career: Hebei (1982–1985), Fujian (1985–2002), Zhejiang (2002–2007), and Shanghai (2007). [47] Xi held posts in the Fuzhou Municipal Party Committee and became the president of the Party School in Fuzhou in 1990. In 1997, he was named an alternate member of the 15th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. However, of the 151 alternate members of the Central Committee elected at the 15th Party Congress, Xi received the lowest number of votes in favour, placing him last in the rankings of members, ostensibly due to his status as a princeling. [note 2] [48]

From 1998 to 2002, Xi studied Marxist theory and ideological education in Tsinghua University, [49] graduating from there with a doctorate in law and ideology in 2002. [50] In 1999, he was promoted to the office of Vice Governor of Fujian, then he became governor a year later. In Fujian, Xi made efforts to attract investment from Taiwan and to strengthen the private sector of the provincial economy. [51] In February 2000, he and then-provincial Party Secretary Chen Mingyi were called before the top members of the Party Central Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China – General Secretary Jiang Zemin, Premier Zhu Rongji, Vice-President Hu Jintao and Discipline Inspection Secretary Wei Jianxing – to explain aspects of the Yuanhua scandal. [52]

In 2002, Xi left Fujian and took up leading political positions in neighbouring Zhejiang. He eventually took over as provincial Party Committee Secretary after several months as acting governor, occupying a top provincial office for the first time in his career. In 2002, he was elected a full member of the 16th Central Committee, marking his ascension to the national stage. While in Zhejiang, Xi presided over reported growth rates averaging 14% per year. [53] His career in Zhejiang was marked by a tough and straightforward stance against corrupt officials. This earned him a name in the national media and drew the attention of China's top leaders. [54]

Following the dismissal of Shanghai Party secretary Chen Liangyu in September 2006 due to a social security fund scandal, Xi was transferred to Shanghai in March 2007 where he was the party secretary there for seven months. [55] [56] In Shanghai, Xi avoided controversy and was known for strictly observing party discipline. For example, Shanghai administrators attempted to earn favour with him by arranging a special train to shuttle him between Shanghai and Hangzhou for him to complete handing off his work to his successor as Zhejiang party secretary Zhao Hongzhu. However, Xi reportedly refused to take the train, citing a loosely enforced party regulation which stipulated that special trains can only be reserved for "national leaders". [57] While in Shanghai, he worked on preserving unity of the local party organisation. He pledged there would be no 'purges' during his administration, despite the fact many local officials were thought to have been implicated in the Chen Liangyu corruption scandal. [58] On most issues Xi largely echoed the line of the central leadership. [59]

Xi was appointed to the nine-man Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China at the 17th Party Congress in October 2007. He was ranked above Li Keqiang, an indication that he was going to succeed Hu Jintao as China's next leader. In addition, Xi also held the first secretary of the Communist Party's Central Secretariat. This assessment was further supported at the 11th National People's Congress in March 2008, when Xi was elected as vice-president of the People's Republic of China. [60] Following his elevation, Xi has held a broad range of portfolios. He was put in charge of the comprehensive preparations for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, as well as being the central government's leading figure in Hong Kong and Macau affairs. In addition, he also became the new president of the Central Party School of the Communist Party of China, the cadre-training and ideological education wing of the Communist Party. In the wake of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, Xi visited disaster areas in Shaanxi and Gansu. He made his first foreign trip as vice president to North Korea, Mongolia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Yemen from 17 to 25 June 2008. [61] After the Olympics, Xi was assigned the post of committee chair for the preparations of the 60th Anniversary Celebrations of the founding of the People's Republic of China. He was also reportedly at the helm of a top-level Communist Party committee dubbed the 6521 Project, which was charged with ensuring social stability during a series of politically sensitive anniversaries in 2009. [62]

Xi's position as the apparent successor to become the paramount leader was threatened with the rapid rise of Bo Xilai, the party secretary of Chongqing at the time. Bo was expected to join the Politburo Standing Committee at the 18th Party Congress, with the possibility of creating a counterweight to Xi, or even replacing him. [63] Bo's policies in Chongqing inspired imitations throughout China and received praise from Xi himself during Xi's visit to Chongqing in 2010. Records of praises from Xi were later erased after he became paramount leader. Xi's position as successor was secured with Bo's downfall after the Wang Lijun incident. [64]

Xi is considered one of the most successful members of the Crown Prince Party, a quasi-clique of politicians who are descendants of early Chinese Communist revolutionaries. Former prime minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, when asked about Xi, said he felt he was "a thoughtful man who has gone through many trials and tribulations". [65] Lee also commented: "I would put him in the Nelson Mandela class of persons. A person with enormous emotional stability who does not allow his personal misfortunes or sufferings affect his judgment. In other words, he is impressive". [66] Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson described Xi as "the kind of guy who knows how to get things over the goal line". [67] Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said that Xi "has sufficient reformist, party and military background to be very much his own man". [68]

Trips as Vice President

In February 2009, in his capacity as vice-president, Xi Jinping embarked on a tour of Latin America, visiting Mexico, [69] Jamaica, [70] Colombia, [71] Venezuela, [72] and Brazil [73] to promote Chinese ties in the region and boost the country's reputation in the wake of the global financial crisis. He also visited Valletta, Malta, before returning to China. [74]

Mexico commentary incident

On 11 February 2009, while visiting Mexico, Xi spoke in front of a group of overseas Chinese and explained China's contributions during the international financial crisis, saying that it was "the greatest contribution towards the whole of human race, made by China, to prevent its 1.3 billion people from hunger". [note 3] He went on to remark: "There are some bored foreigners, with full stomachs, who have nothing better to do than point fingers at us. First, China doesn't export revolution second, China doesn't export hunger and poverty third, China doesn't come and cause you headaches. What more is there to be said?" [note 4] [75] The story was reported on some local television stations. The news led to a flood of discussions on Chinese Internet forums and it was reported that the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs was caught off-guard by Xi's remarks, as the actual video was shot by some accompanying Hong Kong reporters and broadcast on Hong Kong TV, which then turned up on various Internet video websites. [76]

In the European Union, Xi visited Belgium, Germany, Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania from 7 to 21 October 2009. [77] He visited Japan, South Korea, Cambodia, and Myanmar on his Asian trip from 14 to 22 December 2009. [78] He later visited the United States, Ireland and Turkey in February 2012. This visit included meeting with then U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House [79] and then Vice President Joe Biden and stops in California and Iowa, where he met with the family which previously hosted him during his 1985 tour as a Hebei provincial official. [80]

Disappearance

A few months before his ascendancy to the party leadership, Xi disappeared from official media coverage for several weeks beginning on 1 September 2012. On 4 September, he cancelled a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and later also cancelled meetings with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and a top Russian official. It was said that Xi effectively "went on strike" in preparation for the power transition in order to install political allies in key roles. [41] The Washington Post reported from a single source that Xi may have been injured in an altercation during a meeting of the "red second generation" which turned violent. [81]

Accession to top posts

On 15 November 2012, Xi was elected to the posts of general secretary of the Communist Party and chairman of the CCP Central Military Commission by the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. This made him, informally, the paramount leader and the first to be born after the founding of the People's Republic of China. The following day Xi led the new line-up of the Politburo Standing Committee onto the stage in their first public appearance. [82] The new Standing Committee reduced its number of seats from nine to seven, with only Xi himself and Li Keqiang retaining their seats from the previous Standing Committee the remaining members were new. [83] [84] [85] In a marked departure from the common practice of Chinese leaders, Xi's first speech as general secretary was plainly worded and did not include any political slogans or mention of his predecessors. [86] Xi mentioned the aspirations of the average person, remarking, "Our people . expect better education, more stable jobs, better income, more reliable social security, medical care of a higher standard, more comfortable living conditions, and a more beautiful environment." Xi also vowed to tackle corruption at the highest levels, alluding that it would threaten the Party's survival he was reticent about far-reaching economic reforms. [87]

In December 2012, Xi visited Guangdong in his first trip outside Beijing since taking the Party leadership. The overarching theme of the trip was to call for further economic reform and a strengthened military. Xi visited the statue of Deng Xiaoping and his trip was described as following in the footsteps of Deng's own southern trip in 1992, which provided the impetus for further economic reforms in China after conservative party leaders stalled many of Deng's reforms in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. On his trip, Xi consistently alluded to his signature slogan the "Chinese Dream". "This dream can be said to be the dream of a strong nation. And for the military, it is a dream of a strong military", Xi told sailors. [88] Xi's trip was significant in that he departed from the established convention of Chinese leaders' travel routines in multiple ways. Rather than dining out, Xi and his entourage ate regular hotel buffet. He travelled in a large van with his colleagues rather than a fleet of limousines, and did not restrict traffic on the parts of the highway he travelled. [89]

Xi was elected President of the People's Republic of China on 14 March 2013, in a confirmation vote by the 12th National People's Congress in Beijing. He received 2,952 for, one vote against, and three abstentions. [82] He replaced Hu Jintao, who retired after serving two terms. [90] In his new capacity as president, on 16 March 2013 Xi expressed support for non-interference in China–Sri Lanka relations amid a United Nations Security Council vote to condemn that country over government abuses during the Sri Lankan Civil War. [91] On 17 March, Xi and his new ministers arranged a meeting with the chief executive of Hong Kong, CY Leung, confirming his support for Leung. [92] Within hours of his election, Xi discussed cyber security and North Korea with U.S. President Barack Obama over the phone. Obama announced the visits of treasury and state secretaries Jacob Lew and John F. Kerry to China the following week. [93]

Anti-corruption campaign

Xi vowed to crack down on corruption almost immediately after he ascended to power at the 18th Party Congress. In his inaugural speech as general secretary, Xi mentioned that fighting corruption was one of the toughest challenges for the party. [94] A few months into his term, Xi outlined the "eight-point guide", listing rules intended to curb corruption and waste during official party business it aimed at stricter discipline on the conduct of party officials. Xi also vowed to root out "tigers and flies", that is, high-ranking officials and ordinary party functionaries. [95]

During the first three years of Xi's term, he initiated cases against former Central Military Commission vice-chairmen Xu Caihou and Guo Boxiong, former Politburo Standing Committee member and security chief Zhou Yongkang and former Hu Jintao chief aide Ling Jihua. [96] Along with new disciplinary chief Wang Qishan, Xi's administration spearheaded the formation of "centrally-dispatched inspection teams" ( 中央巡视组 ). These were essentially cross-jurisdictional squads of officials whose main task was to gain more in-depth understanding of the operations of provincial and local party organizations, and in the process, also enforce party discipline mandated by Beijing. Many of the work teams also had the effect of identifying and initiating investigations of high-ranking officials. Over one hundred provincial-ministerial level officials were implicated during a massive nationwide anti-corruption campaign. These included former and current regional officials (Su Rong, Bai Enpei, Wan Qingliang), leading figures of state-owned enterprises and central government organs (Song Lin, Liu Tienan), and highly ranked generals in the military (Gu Junshan). In June 2014, the Shanxi provincial political establishment was decimated, with four officials dismissed within a week from the provincial party organization's top ranks. Within the first two years of the campaign alone, over 200,000 low-ranking officials received warnings, fines, and demotions. [97]

The campaign has led to the downfall of prominent incumbent and retired Communist Party officials, including members of the Politburo Standing Committee. [98] Xi's anti-corruption campaign is seen by critics as a political purge on a scale not seen since Chairman Mao, with the aim of removing potential opponents and consolidating power. Xi's establishment of a new anti-corruption agency, the National Supervision Commission, that is ranked higher than the supreme court, has been described by Amnesty International's East Asia director as a "systemic threat to human rights" which "places tens of millions of people at the mercy of a secretive and virtually unaccountable system that is above the law." [99] [100]

Censorship

"Document No. 9" is a confidential internal document widely circulated within the Chinese Communist Party in 2013 by the party's General Office. [101] [102] It was first published in July 2012. [103] The document warns of seven dangerous Western values:

    , which includes such tenets as multi-party systems, the separation of powers, general elections, and judicial independence [104] , a notion contrary to Maoist doctrine, whereby the Western value system transcends nation in class, and applies to China. [105][106] , the notion that individual rights are paramount, rather than the collective rights established by the Party neoliberalism, referring to libertarian economic values and globalization [107] , as Xi was especially hostile to Western ideas of journalism and the notion of a press that could criticize government and Party policies [108] [better source needed]
  • Historical nihilism, meaning the criticism of past errors and
  • Questioning the nature of Chinese style socialism. [109]

Coverage of these topics in educational materials is forbidden. [110] Although it predates Xi Jinping's formal rise to the top party and state posts, the release of this internal document, which has introduced new topics that were previously not "off-limits," was seen as Xi's recognition of the "sacrosanct" nature of Communist Party rule over China. [109]

Internet censorship

Since Xi became the CCP General Secretary, internet censorship in China has been significantly stepped up. [111] [112] Chairing the 2018 China Cyberspace Governance Conference on 20 and 21 April 2018, Xi committed to "fiercely crack down on criminal offenses including hacking, telecom fraud, and violation of citizens' privacy." [113] His administration has also overseen more Internet restrictions imposed in China, and is described as being "stricter across the board" on speech than previous administrations. [114] Xi has taken a very strong stand to control internet usage inside China, including Google and Facebook, [115] advocating Internet censorship in the country as the concept of "internet sovereignty." [116] [117] The censorship of Wikipedia has also been stringent as of April 2019, all versions of Wikipedia have been blocked in China. [118] Likewise, the situation for users of Weibo has been described as a change from fearing that individual posts would be deleted, or at worst one's account, to fear of arrest. [119] A law enacted in September 2013 authorized a three-year prison term for bloggers who shared more than 500 times any content considered "defamatory." [120] The State Internet Information Department summoned a group of influential bloggers to a seminar instructing them to avoid writing about politics, the Communist Party, or making statements contradicting official narratives. Many bloggers stopped writing about controversial topics, and Weibo went into decline, with much of its readership shifting to WeChat users speaking to very limited social circles. [120] In 2017, telecommunications carriers in China were instructed by the government to block individuals' use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) by February 2018. [121]

Winnie the Pooh caricature and censorship

Comparisons between Xi and the Disney character Winnie the Pooh are censored on Chinese internet following the spread of an internet meme in which photographs of Xi were compared to the bear. [122] The first heavily censored viral meme can be traced back to the official visit to the United States in 2013 during which Xi was photographed by a Reuters photographer walking with then-US President Barack Obama in Sunnylands, California. A blog post where the photograph was juxtaposed with the cartoon depiction went viral, [123] [124] [125] but Chinese censors rapidly deleted it. [126] When Shinzo Abe met Xi the following year, a photograph of the meeting, again juxtaposed to a cartoon, went viral. [123] [124] When Xi Jinping inspected troops through his limousine's sunroof, a popular meme was created with Winnie the Pooh in a toy car. The widely circulated image became the most censored picture of the year. [123]

In 2018, the Winnie the Pooh film Christopher Robin was denied a Chinese release, [125] [127] following an incident where Chinese authorities censored a nine-year-old for comments about Xi's weight. [128] After the 2020–2021 China–India skirmishes, Indians used depiction of Winnie the Pooh to mock Xi Jinping. The Twitter hashtag #WinniethePooh was used for tweets critical of China's actions. [129]

Consolidation of power

Political observers have called Xi the most powerful Chinese leader since Chairman Mao Zedong, especially since the ending of presidential two-term limits in 2018. [130] [131] [132] [133] Xi has notably departed from the collective leadership practices of his post-Mao predecessors. He has centralised his power and created working groups with himself at the head to subvert government bureaucracy, making himself become the unmistakable central figure of the new administration. [134] Beginning in 2013, the party under Xi has created a series of new "Central Leading Groups" supra-ministerial steering committees, designed to bypass existing institutions when making decisions, and ostensibly make policy-making a more efficient process. The most notable new body is the Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reforms. It has broad jurisdiction over economic restructuring and social reforms, and is said to have displaced some of the power previously held by the State Council and its premier. [135] Xi also became the leader of the Central Leading Group for Internet Security and Informatization, in charge of cyber-security and Internet policy. The Third Plenum held in 2013 also saw the creation of the National Security Commission of the Communist Party of China, another body chaired by Xi which commentators have said would help Xi consolidate over national security affairs. [136] [137] In the opinion of at least one political scientist, Xi "has surrounded himself with cadres he met while stationed on the coast, Fujian and Shanghai and in Zhejiang." [138] Control of Beijing is seen as crucial to Chinese leaders Xi has selected Cai Qi, one of the cadres mentioned above, to manage the capital. [139]

Cult of personality

Xi has had a cult of personality constructed around himself since entering office [23] [24] with books, cartoons, pop songs and dance routines honouring his rule. [140] Following Xi's ascension to the leadership core of the CCP, he has been referred to as Xi Dada (Uncle or Papa Xi). [140] [141] The village of Liangjiahe, where Xi was sent to work, has become a "modern-day shrine" decorated with Communist propaganda and murals extolling the formative years of his life. [142]

The party's Politburo named Xi Jinping lingxiu ( 领袖 ), a reverent term for "leader" and a title previously only given to Chiang Kai-shek, Mao Zedong and his immediate successor Hua Guofeng. [143] [144] [145] He is also sometimes called the "Great Helmsman" ( 大舵手 ), and in July 2018 Li Zhanshu, the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, referred to Xi as the "eternal core" of the party. [146] On 25 December 2019, the politburo officially named Xi as "People's Leader" ( 人民领袖 rénmín lǐngxiù ), a title only Mao held previously. [147]

Removal of term limits

In March 2018, the party-controlled National People's Congress passed a set of constitutional amendments including removal of term limits for the president and vice president, the creation of a National Supervisory Commission, as well as enhancing the central role of the Communist Party. [148] [149] On 17 March 2018, the Chinese legislature reappointed Xi as president, now without term limits Wang Qishan was appointed vice president. [150] [151] The following day, Li Keqiang was reappointed premier and longtime allies of Xi, Xu Qiliang and Zhang Youxia, were voted in as vice-chairmen of the state military commission. [152] Foreign minister Wang Yi was promoted to state councillor and General Wei Fenghe was named defence minister. [153]

According to the Financial Times, Xi expressed his views of constitutional amendment at meetings with Chinese officials and foreign dignitaries. Xi explained the decision in terms of needing to align two more powerful posts—General Secretary of the Communist Party and Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC)—which have no term limits. However, Xi did not say whether he intended to serve as party general secretary, CMC chairman and state president, for three or more terms. [154]

Economic policy

Xi has increased state control over China's economy, voicing support for China's state-owned enterprises (SOEs), [155] while also supporting the country's private sector. [156] He has increased the role of the Central Financial and Economic Affairs Commission at the expense of the State Council. [157] His administration made it easier for banks to issue mortgages, increased foreign participation in the bond market, and increased country's currency renminbi's global role, helping it to join IMF's basket of special drawing right. [158] In the 40th anniversary of the launching of Chinese economic reforms in 2018, he has promised to continue reforms but has warned that nobody "can dictate to the Chinese people". [159] Since the outbreak of the China-United States trade war in 2018, Xi has also revived calls for "self-reliance", especially on the matters of technology. [160]

Following a speech by Jack Ma in 2020 where he said that Chinese banks had a "pawnshop mentality" and called out government regulation. Xi was said to have been furious over it and made the decision to halt Ant Group's IPO leading to a crackdown on Chinese big tech. [161] [162] In December 2020 Xi called efforts to increase anti-monopoly rules against online platforms one of the most important goals of 2021. [163] In March 2021 Xi called for the acceleration of the big tech crackdown. [164] [165]

Reforms

Agenda announcement

In November 2013, at the conclusion of the Third Plenum of the 18th Central Committee, the Communist Party delivered a far-reaching reform agenda that alluded to changes in both economic and social policy. Xi signaled at the plenum that he was consolidating control of the massive internal security organization that was formerly the domain of Zhou Yongkang. [166] A new National Security Commission was formed with Xi at its helm. The Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reforms—another ad hoc policy coordination body led by Xi—was also formed to oversee the implementation of the reform agenda. [167] Termed "comprehensive deepening reforms" ( 全面深化改革 quánmiàn shēnhuà gǎigé ), they were said to be the most significant since Deng Xiaoping's 1992 "Southern Tour". In the economic realm, the plenum announced that "market forces" would begin to play a "decisive" role in allocating resources. [166] This meant that the state would gradually reduce its involvement in the distribution of capital, and restructure state-owned enterprises to allow further competition, potentially by attracting foreign and private sector players in industries that were previously highly regulated. This policy aimed to address the bloated state sector that had unduly profited from an earlier round of re-structuring by purchasing assets at below-market prices, assets which were no longer being used productively. The plenum also resolved to abolish the laogai system of "re-education through labour" which was largely seen as a blot on China's human rights record. The system has faced significant criticism for years from domestic critics and foreign observers. [166] The one-child policy was also abolished, resulting in a shift to a two-child policy from 1 January 2016. [168]

Legal reforms

The party under Xi announced a raft of legal reforms at the Fourth Plenum held in the fall 2014, and he called for "Chinese socialistic rule of law" immediately afterwards. The party aimed to reform the legal system which had been perceived as ineffective at delivering justice and affected by corruption, local government interference and lack of constitutional oversight. The plenum, while emphasizing the absolute leadership of the party, also called for a greater role of the constitution in the affairs of state and a strengthening of the role of the National People's Congress Standing Committee in interpreting the constitution. [169] It also called for more transparency in legal proceedings, more involvement of ordinary citizens in the legislative process, and an overall "professionalization" of the legal workforce. The party also planned to institute cross-jurisdictional circuit legal tribunals as well as giving provinces consolidated administrative oversight over lower level legal resources, which is intended to reduce local government involvement in legal proceedings. [170]

Xi has overseen significant reforms of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), CCP's highest internal control institution. [171] He and CCDI Secretary Wang Qishan further institutionalised CCDI's independence from the day-to-day operations of the CCP, improving its ability to function as a bona fide control body. [171]

Military reforms

Since taking power in 2012, Xi has started a massive overhaul of the People's Liberation Army. [172] Xi has been active in his participation in military affairs, taking a direct hands-on approach to military reform. In addition to being the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, and the leader of the Central Leading Group for Military Reform founded in 2014 to oversee comprehensive military reforms, Xi has delivered numerous high-profile pronouncements vowing to clean up malfeasance and complacency in the military, aiming to build a more effective fighting force. In addition, Xi held the "New Gutian Conference" in 2014, gathering China's top military officers, re-emphasizing the principle of "the party has absolute control over the army" first established by Mao at the 1929 Gutian Conference. [173]

Xi has warned against the depoliticization of the PLA from the Communist Party, warning that it would lead to a collapse similar to that of the Soviet Union. [174] [175] He said that "in the USSR, where the military was depoliticized, separated from the party and nationalized, the party was disarmed. When the Soviet Union came to crisis point, a big party was gone just like that. Proportionally, the Soviet Communist Party had more members than we do, but nobody was man enough to stand up and resist." [175]

Xi announced a reduction of 300,000 troops from the PLA in 2015, bringing its size to 2 million troops. Xi described this as a gesture of peace, while analysts have said that the cut was done to reduce costs as well as part of PLA's modernization. [176] On 2016, he reduced the number of theater commands of the PLA from seven to five. [177] He has also abolished the four autonomous general departments of the PLA, replacing them with 15 agencies directly reporting to the Central Military Commission. [172] Two new branches of the PLA were created under his reforms, the Strategic Support Force [178] and the Joint Logistics Support Force. [179]

On 21 April 2016, Xi was named commander-in-chief of the country's new Joint Operations Command Center of the People's Liberation Army by Xinhua News Agency and the broadcaster China Central Television. [180] [181] Some analysts interpreted this move as an attempt to display strength and strong leadership and as being more "political than military". [182] According to Ni Lexiong, a military affairs expert, Xi "not only controls the military but also does it in an absolute manner, and that in wartime, he is ready to command personally". [183] According to a University of California, San Diego expert on Chinese military, Xi "has been able to take political control of the military to an extent that exceeds what Mao and Deng have done". [184]

Foreign policy

A Chinese nationalist, [185] Xi has reportedly taken a hard-line on security issues as well as foreign affairs, projecting a more nationalistic and assertive China on the world stage. [185] His political program calls for a China more united and confident of its own value system and political structure. [186]

Under Xi, China has also taken a more critical stance on North Korea, while improving relationships with South Korea. [187] China–Japan relations have soured under Xi's administration the most thorny issue between the two countries remains the dispute over the Senkaku islands, which China calls Diaoyu. In response to Japan's continued robust stance on the issue, China declared an Air Defense Identification Zone in November 2013. [188]

Xi has called China–United States relations in the contemporary world a "new type of great-power relations", a phrase the Obama administration had been reluctant to embrace. [189] Under his administration the Strategic and Economic Dialogue that began under Hu Jintao has continued. On China–U.S. relations, Xi said, "If [China and the United States] are in confrontation, it would surely spell disaster for both countries". [190] The U.S. has been critical of Chinese actions in the South China Sea. [189] In 2014, Chinese hackers compromised the computer system of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, [191] resulting in the theft of approximately 22 million personnel records handled by the office. [192]

Xi has cultivated stronger relations with Russia, particularly in the wake of the Ukraine crisis of 2014. He seems to have developed a strong personal relationship with President Vladimir Putin. Both are viewed as strong leaders with a nationalist orientation who are not afraid to assert themselves against Western interests. [193] Xi attended the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Under Xi, China signed a $400 billion gas deal with Russia China has also become Russia's largest trading partner. [193]

Xi has also indirectly spoken out critically on the U.S. "strategic pivot" to Asia. [194] Addressing a regional conference in Shanghai on 21 May 2014, he called on Asian countries to unite and forge a way together, rather than get involved with third party powers, seen as a reference to the United States. "Matters in Asia ultimately must be taken care of by Asians. Asia's problems ultimately must be resolved by Asians and Asia's security ultimately must be protected by Asians", he told the conference. [195] In November 2014, in a major policy address, Xi called for a decrease in the use of force, preferring dialogue and consultation to solve the current issues plaguing the relationship between China and its South East Asian neighbors. [196]

In April 2015, new satellite imagery revealed that China was rapidly constructing an airfield on Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly Islands of the South China Sea. [197] In May 2015, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter warned the government of Xi Jinping to halt its rapid island-building in disputed territory in the South China Sea. [198] In spite of what seemed to be a tumultuous start to Xi Jinping's leadership vis-à-vis the United-States, on 13 May 2017 Xi said at the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing: "We should foster a new type of international relations featuring 'win-win cooperation', and we should forge a partnership of dialogue with no confrontation, and a partnership of friendship rather than alliance. All countries should respect each other's sovereignty, dignity and territorial integrity respect each other's development path and its social systems, and respect each other's core interests and major concerns. What we hope to create is a big family of harmonious coexistence.” [199]

Starting in 2017, China's relationship with South Korea soured over the THAAD purchase of the latter [200] while China's relations with North Korea increased because of meetings between Xi and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. [201] At the G20 meeting in Japan, Xi called for a "timely easing" of sanctions imposed on North Korea. [202]

Relations with the U.S. soured after Donald Trump became president in 2016. [203] Since 2018, U.S. and China have been engaged in an escalating trade war. [204]

On 4 June 2019, Xi told the Russian news agency TASS that he was "worried" about the current tensions between the U.S. and Iran. [205] He later told his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani during an SCO meeting that China would promote ties with Iran regardless of developments from the Gulf of Oman incident. [206]

In the 2019, the Pew Research Center made a survey on attitude to Xi Jinping among six-country medians based on Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines and South Korea. The survey indicated that a median 29% have confidence in Xi Jinping to do the right thing regarding world affairs, meanwhile a median of 45% have no confidence. These number are almost same with those of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (23% confidence, 53% no confidence). [207]

Foreign trips as paramount leader

Xi made his first foreign trip as China's paramount leader to Russia on 22 March 2013, about a week after he assumed the presidency. He met with President Vladimir Putin and the two leaders discussed trade and energy issues. He then went on to Tanzania, South Africa (where he attended the BRICS summit in Durban), and the Republic of the Congo. [208] Xi visited the United States at Sunnylands Estate in California in a 'shirtsleeves summit' with U.S. President Barack Obama in June 2013, although this was not considered a formal state visit. [209] In October 2013 Xi attended the APEC Summit in Bali, Indonesia.

In March 2014 Xi made a trip to Western Europe visiting the Netherlands, where he attended the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, followed by visits to France, Germany and Belgium. [210] He made a state visit to South Korea on 4 July 2014 and met with South Korean President Park Geun-hye. [211] Between 14 and 23 July, Xi attended the BRICS leaders' summit in Brazil and visited Argentina, Venezuela, and Cuba. [212]

Xi went on an official state visit to India and met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September 2014 he visited New Delhi and also went to Modi's hometown in the state of Gujarat. [213] He went on a state visit to Australia and met with Prime Minister Tony Abbott in November 2014, [214] followed by a visit to the island nation of Fiji. [215] Xi visited Pakistan in April 2015, signing a series of infrastructure deals worth $45 billion related to the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor. During his visit, Pakistan's highest civilian award, the Nishan-e-Pakistan, was conferred upon him. [216] He then headed to Jakarta and Bandung, Indonesia, to attend the Afro-Asian Leaders Summit and the 60th Anniversary events of the Bandung Conference. [217] Xi visited Russia and was the guest-of-honour of Russian President Vladimir Putin at the 2015 Moscow Victory Day Parade to mark the 70th Anniversary of the victory of the allies in Europe. At the parade, Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan sat next to Putin. On the same trip Xi also visited Kazakhstan and met with that country's president Nursultan Nazarbayev, and also met Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus. [218]

In September 2015, Xi made his first state visit to the United States. [219] [220] [221] In October 2015, he made a state visit to the United Kingdom, the first by a Chinese leader in a decade. [222] This followed a visit to China in March 2015 by the Duke of Cambridge. During the state visit, Xi met Queen Elizabeth II, British Prime Minister David Cameron and other dignitaries. Increased customs, trade and research collaborations between China and the UK were discussed, but more informal events also took place including a visit to Manchester City's football academy. [223]

In March 2016, Xi visited the Czech Republic on his way to United States. In Prague, he met with the Czech president, prime minister and other representatives to promote relations and economic cooperation between the Czech Republic and the People's Republic of China. [224] His visit was met by a considerable number of protests by Czechs. [225]

In January 2017, Xi became the first Chinese paramount leader to plan to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos. [226] On 17 January, Xi addressed the forum in a high-profile keynote, addressing globalization, the global trade agenda, and China's rising place in the world's economy and international governance he made a series of pledges about China's defense of "economic globalization" and climate change accords. [226] [227] [228] Premier Li Keqiang attended the forum in 2015 and Vice-President Li Yuanchao did so in 2016. During the three-day state visit to the country in 2017 Xi also visited the World Health Organization, the United Nations and the International Olympic Committee. [228]

On 20 June 2019, Xi Jinping visited Pyongyang, becoming the first Chinese leader to visit North Korea since his predecessor Hu Jintao's visit in 2004. [229] In 27 June, he attended the G20 summit in Osaka, becoming the first Chinese leader to visit Japan since 2010. [230]

Belt and Road Initiative

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was unveiled by Xi in September and October 2013 during visits to Kazakhstan and Indonesia, [231] and was thereafter promoted by Premier Li Keqiang during state visits to Asia and Europe. Xi made the announcement for the initiative while in Astana, Kazakhstan, and called it a "golden opportunity". [232] BRI has been called Xi's "signature project", involving numerous infrastructure development and investment projects throughout Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas. [233] BRI was added to the CCP Constitution at the closing session of the 19th Party Congress on 24 October 2017, [234] further elevating its importance. [235]

Human rights

According to the Human Rights Watch, Xi has "started a broad and sustained offensive on human rights" since he became leader in 2012. [236] The HRW also said that repression in China is "at its worst level since the Tiananmen Square massacre." [237] Since taking power, Xi has cracked down on grassroots activism, with hundreds being detained. [238] He presided over the 709 crackdown on 9 July 2015, which saw more than 200 lawyers, legal assistants and human rights activists being detained. [239] His term has seen the arrest and imprisonment of activists such as Xu Zhiyong, as well as numerous others who identified with the New Citizens' Movement. Prominent legal activist Pu Zhiqiang of the Weiquan movement was also arrested and detained. [240]

In 2017, the local government of the Jiangxi province told Christians to replace their pictures of Jesus with Xi Jinping as part of a general campaign on unofficial churches in the country. [241] [242] [243] According to local social media, officials "transformed them from believing in religion to believing in the party". [241] According to activists, "Xi is waging the most severe systematic suppression of Christianity in the country since religious freedom was written into the Chinese constitution in 1982", and according to pastors and a group that monitors religion in China, has involved "destroying crosses, burning bibles, shutting churches and ordering followers to sign papers renouncing their faith". [244]

Following several terrorist attacks in Xinjiang in 2013 and 2014, Xi launched the "people's war on terror" in 2014, which involved mass detention, and surveillance of ethnic Uyghurs there. [245] [246] Xi made an inspection tour in Xinjiang between 27 and 30 April in 2014. [247] [248] As of 2019, China is holding one million ethnic Uyghurs in internment camps in Xinjiang. [249] Various human rights groups and former inmates have described the camps as “concentration camps”, where Uyghurs and other minorities have been forcibly assimilated into China's majority ethnic Han society. [250] Internal Chinese government documents leaked to the press in November 2019 showed that Xi personally ordered a security crackdown in Xinjiang, saying that the party must show “absolutely no mercy” and that officials use all the “weapons of the people's democratic dictatorship” to suppress those “infected with the virus of extremism”. [246] [251] The documents also showed that Xi repeatedly discussed about Islamic extremism in his speeches, likening it to a "virus" or a "drug" which could be only addressed by "a period of painful, interventionary treatment.” [246] However, he also warned against the discrimination against Uyghurs and rejected proposals to eradicate Islam in China completely, calling that kind of viewpoint "biased, even wrong". [246]

On 8 July 2019, 22 countries signed a statement to the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights in which they called for an end to mass detentions in China and expressed concerns over widespread surveillance and repression in Xinjiang. [252] [253] [254]

In response, 50 countries signed a joint letter to the UNHRC commending China's "remarkable achievements in the field of human rights" under Xi Jinping, claiming "Now safety and security has returned to Xinjiang and the fundamental human rights of people of all ethnic groups there are safeguarded." They also criticized the practice of "politicizing human rights issues". [255] [256] [252]

In October 2019, 23 countries issued a joint statement to the UN urging China to "uphold its national and international obligations and commitments to respect human rights". [257] [258]

In response, 54 countries issued a joint statement supporting China's Xinjiang policies. The statement "spoke positively of the results of counter-terrorism and de-radicalization measures in Xinjiang and noted that these measures have effectively safeguarded the basic human rights of people of all ethnic groups." [258] [259]

In October 2020, Axios reported that more countries at the UN joined the condemnation of China over Xinjiang abuses. The total number of countries that denounced China increased to 39, while the total number of countries that defended China decreased to 45. Notably, 16 countries that defended China in 2019 did not do so in 2020. [260]

COVID-19 pandemic

German newspaper Der Spiegel reported that in January 2020 Xi Jinping pressured Tedros Adhanom, director-general of the World Health Organization, to hold off on issuing a global warning about the outbreak of COVID-19. The report published over the weekend said Xi urged the WHO chief to “delay a global warning” about the pandemic and hold back information on human-to-human transmission of the virus. The WHO denied the allegations. [261]

On 22 September 2020, a Chinese billionaire, Ren Zhiqiang, was sentenced to 18 years in jail on corruption charges. The former real-estate tycoon had disappeared in March, after writing an article online criticizing Xi Jinping's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. [262] In addition, he was expelled from the Communist Party on 23 July, which paved the way for the prosecution. [263]

Environmental policy

In September 2020 Xi Jinping announced that China will "strengthen its 2030 climate target (NDC), peak emissions before 2030 and aim to achieve carbon neutrality before 2060". [264] According to Climate Action Tracker if it will be accomplished it will lower the expected rise in global temperature by 0.2 - 0.3 degrees - "the biggest single reduction ever estimated by the Climate Action Tracker". [265] The announcement was made in the United Nations General Assembly. Xi Jinping mentioned the link between the COVID-19 pandemic and nature destruction as one of the reasons to the decision, saying that "Humankind can no longer afford to ignore the repeated warnings of nature," [266] In the 27 September, China's climate scientists presented a detailed plan how to achieve the target. [267] Despite this rhetoric China has taken very little action to achieve this, and China remains one of the worlds major pollutants with extremely poor environmental standards. [268] [269] [270] [271] [272]

What makes Xi's revolution distinctive is the strategy he has pursued: the dramatic centralization of authority under his personal leadership the intensified penetration of society by the state the creation of a virtual wall of regulations and restrictions that more tightly control the flow of ideas, culture and capital into and out of the country and the significant projection of Chinese power. It represents a reassertion of the state in Chinese political and economic life at home, and a more ambitious and expansive role for China abroad. [273]

Chinese Dream

Xi and Communist Party ideologues coined the phrase "Chinese Dream" to describe his overarching plans for China as its leader. Xi first used the phrase during a high-profile visit to the National Museum of China on 29 November 2012, where he and his Standing Committee colleagues were attending a "national revival" exhibition. Since then, the phrase has become the signature political slogan of the Xi era. [274] [275] Since 2013, the phrase has emerged as the distinctive quasi-official ideology of the party leadership under Xi, much as the "Scientific Outlook on Development" was for Hu Jintao and the "Three Represents" was for Jiang Zemin. The origin of the term "Chinese Dream" is unclear. While the phrase has been used before by journalists and scholars, [276] some publications have posited the term likely drew its inspiration from the concept of the American Dream. [277] The Economist noted the abstract and seemingly accessible nature of the concept with no specific overarching policy stipulations may be a deliberate departure from the jargon-heavy ideologies of his predecessors. [278] While the Chinese Dream was originally interpreted as an extension of the American Dream, which emphasises individual self-improvement and opportunity, [278] the slogan's use in official settings since 2013 has taken on a noticeably more nationalistic character, with official pronouncements of the "Dream" being consistently linked with the phrase "great revival of the Chinese nation". [note 5]

Cultural revival

As communist ideology plays a less central role in the lives of the masses in the People's Republic of China, top political leaders of the Chinese Communist Party such as Xi continue the rehabilitation of ancient Chinese philosophical figures like Han Fei into the mainstream of Chinese thought alongside Confucianism, both of which Xi sees as relevant. At a meeting with other officials in 2013, he quoted Confucius, saying "he who rules by virtue is like the Pole Star, it maintains its place, and the multitude of stars pay homage." While visiting Shandong, the birthplace of Confucius, in November, he told scholars that the Western world was "suffering a crisis of confidence" and that the CCP has been "the loyal inheritor and promoter of China's outstanding traditional culture." [279]

Xi's leadership has been characterised by a resurgence of the ancient political philosophy Legalism. [280] [281] [282] The trend under Xi represents a fundamental shift from foreign imports such as Communism and limited Westernisation to a greater reliance on political thoughts and practices rooted in China's own traditions. [280] Han Fei gained new prominence with favourable citations one sentence of Han Fei's that Xi quoted appeared thousands of times in official Chinese media at the local, provincial, and national levels. [282]

Xi has also overseen a revival of traditional Chinese culture, breaking apart from CCP's path which had often attacked it. [283] He has called traditional culture the "soul" of the nation and the "foundation" of the CCP's culture. [284] Hanfu, the traditional dress of Han Chinese, has seen a revival under him. [285]

Xi Jinping Thought

In September 2017, the Communist Party Central Committee decided that Xi's political philosophies, generally referred to as "Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era", would become part of the Party Constitution. [286] [287] Xi first made mention of the "Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era" in his opening day speech delivered to the 19th Party Congress in October 2017. His Politburo Standing Committee colleagues, in their own reviews of Xi's keynote address at the Congress, prepended the name "Xi Jinping" in front of "Thought". [288] On 24 October 2017, at its closing session, the 19th Party Congress approved the incorporation of Xi Jinping Thought into the Constitution of the Chinese Communist Party. [130] [289]

Xi himself has described the Thought as part of the broad framework created around Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, a term coined by Deng Xiaoping that places China in the "primary stage of socialism". In official party documentation and pronouncements by Xi's colleagues, the Thought is said to be a continuation of Marxism–Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the "Three Represents", and the Scientific Development Perspective, as part of a series of guiding ideologies that embody "Marxism adopted to Chinese conditions" and contemporary considerations. [288]

The concepts and context behind Xi Jinping Thought are elaborated in Xi's The Governance of China book series, published by the Foreign Languages Press for an international audience. Volume one was published in September 2014, followed by volume two in November 2017. [290]

An app for teaching “Xi Jinping Thought” has become the most popular smartphone app in China, as the country's ruling Communist Party launched a new campaign that calls on its cadres to immerse themselves in the political doctrine every day. Xuexi Qiangguo, which translates to “Study powerful country”, is now the most downloaded item on Apple's domestic App Store, surpassing in demand social media apps such as WeChat and TikTok – known as Weixin and Douyin, respectively, in mainland China. [291]

Role of the Communist Party

In Xi's view, the Communist Party is the legitimate, constitutionally-sanctioned ruling party of China, and that the party derives this legitimacy through advancing the Mao-style "mass line Campaign" that is the party represents the interests of the overwhelming majority of ordinary people. In this vein, Xi called for officials to practise self-criticism in order to appear less corrupt and more popular among the people. [292] [293] [294]

Xi's position has been described as preferring highly centralized political power as a means to direct large-scale economic restructuring. [240] Xi believes that China should be "following its own path" and that a strong authoritarian government is an integral part of the "China model", operating on a "core socialist value system", which has been interpreted as China's alternative to Western values. However, Xi and his colleagues acknowledge the challenges to the legitimacy of Communist rule, particularly corruption by party officials. The answer, according to Xi's programme, is two-fold: strengthen the party from within, by streamlining strict party discipline and initiating a large anti-corruption campaign to remove unsavoury elements from within the party, and re-instituting the Mass Line Campaign externally to make party officials better understand and serve the needs of ordinary people. Xi believes that, just as the party must be at the apex of political control of the state, the party's central authorities (i.e., the Politburo, PSC, or himself as general secretary) must exercise full and direct political control of all party activities. [295]

Hong Kong and Taiwan

Hong Kong

Xi has supported and pursued a greater economic integration of Hong Kong to mainland China through projects such as the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge. [296] He has pushed for the Greater Bay Area project, which aims to integrate Hong Kong, Macau, and nine other cities in Guangdong. [296] Xi's push for greater integration has created fears of decreasing freedoms in Hong Kong. [297]

Xi has supported the Hong Kong Government and incumbent Chief Executive Carrie Lam against the protesters in the 2019–20 Hong Kong protests. [298] He has defended the Hong Kong police's use of force, saying that "We sternly support the Hong Kong police to take forceful actions in enforcing the law, and the Hong Kong judiciary to punish in accordance with the law those who have committed violent crimes." [299] While visiting Macau on 20 December 2019 as part of the 20th anniversary of its return to China, Xi warned of "foreign forces" interfering in Hong Kong and Macau, [300] while also hinting that Macau could be a model for Hong Kong to follow. [301]

Taiwan

The 2015 meeting between Xi and Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou marked the first time the political leaders of both sides of the Taiwan Strait have met since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1950. [302] Xi said that China and Taiwan are "one family" that can't be pulled apart. [303]

In the 19th Party Congress held in 2017, Xi reaffirmed six of the nine principles that had been affirmed continuously since the 16th Party Congress in 2002, with the notable exception of "Placing hopes on the Taiwan people as a force to help bring about unification". [304] According to the Brookings Institution, Xi used stronger language on potential Taiwan independence than his predecessors towards previous DPP governments in Taiwan. [304] In March 2018, Xi said that Taiwan would face the "punishment of history" for any attempts at separatism. [305]

In January 2019, Xi Jinping called on Taiwan to reject its formal independence from China, saying: "We make no promise to renounce the use of force and reserve the option of taking all necessary means." Those options, he said, could be used against “external interference”. Xi also said that they "are willing to create broad space for peaceful reunification, but will leave no room for any form of separatist activities," [306] [307] Tsai Ing-Wen responded to the speech by saying Taiwan would not accept a one country, two systems arrangement with the mainland, while stressing for the need of all cross-strait negotiations to be on a government-to-government basis. [308]

Family

Xi was initially married to Ke Lingling, the daughter of Ke Hua, China's ambassador to the United Kingdom in the early 1980s. They divorced within a few years. [309] The two were said to fight "almost every day", and after the divorce Ke moved to England. [41]

In 1987, Xi married the prominent Chinese folk singer Peng Liyuan. [310] Xi and Peng were introduced by friends as many Chinese couples were in the 1980s. Xi was reputedly academic during their courtship, inquiring about singing techniques. [311] Peng Liyuan, a household name in China, was better known to the public than Xi until his political elevation. The couple frequently lived apart due largely to their separate professional lives. Peng has played a much more visible role as China's "first lady" compared to her predecessors for example, Peng hosted U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama on her high-profile visit to China in March 2014. [312]

Xi and Peng have a daughter named Xi Mingze, who graduated from Harvard University in the spring of 2015. While at Harvard, she used a pseudonym and studied Psychology and English. [313] Xi's family has a home in Jade Spring Hill, a garden and residential area in north-western Beijing run by the Central Military Commission. [314]

In June 2012, Bloomberg News reported that members of Xi's extended family have substantial business interests, although there was no evidence he had intervened to assist them. [315] The Bloomberg website was blocked in mainland China in response to the article. [316] Since Xi embarked on an anti-corruption campaign, The New York Times reported members of his family were selling their corporate and real estate investments beginning in 2012. [317]

Relatives of highly placed Chinese officials, including seven current and former senior leaders of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party, have been named in the Panama Papers, including Deng Jiagui, [318] Xi's brother-in-law. Deng had two shell companies in the British Virgin Islands while Xi was a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, but they were dormant by the time Xi became general secretary of the Communist Party in November 2012. [319]

Personality

Peng described Xi as hardworking and down-to-earth: "When he comes home, I've never felt as if there's some leader in the house. In my eyes, he's just my husband." [320] Xi was described in a 2011 The Washington Post article by those who know him as "pragmatic, serious, cautious, hard-working, down to earth and low-key". He was described as a good hand at problem solving and "seemingly uninterested in the trappings of high office". [321] He is known to love U.S. films such as Saving Private Ryan, The Departed and The Godfather. [322] [323] He is also a fan of HBO television series Game of Thrones, watching a condensed version due to tight schedules. [324] He also praised the independent film-maker Jia Zhangke. [325] He also likes playing football, mountain climbing, walking, volleyball and swimming. He once said that he would swim one kilometre and walk every day as long as there was time. [326] [327]

Public image

Xi Jinping is widely popular in China. [328] [329] According to a 2014 poll co-sponsored by the Harvard Kennedy School's Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Xi ranked 9 out of 10 in domestic approval ratings. [330] A YouGov poll released in July 2019 found that 22% of Chinese people list Xi as the person they admire the most. [331]

In 2017, The Economist named him the most powerful person in the world. [332] In 2018, Forbes ranked him as the most powerful and influential person in the world, replacing Russian President Vladimir Putin who had been ranked so for five consecutive years. [333]