(WTVM) - A recent News Leader 9 Facebook poll asked which presidents were most revered and not surprisingly, Abraham Lincoln won 70 percent of the vote.
His enduring legacy was the Emancipation Proclamation declaring the end of slavery.
Unlike so many modern executive orders of the Bush and Obama presidencies that are narrow and politically self-serving, Lincoln used his executive order to achieve his goal of preserving the Union.
The Southern states used slaves in the Civil War to support their armies and to manage the plantations so more men could be available to fight.
In a display of his political genius, President Lincoln shrewdly justified the Emancipation Proclamation as a way to cripple the Confederacy's war effort, keep America intact and end slavery.
His proclamation led to 200,000 black soldiers serving bravely in the Union army and contributing to its victory.
It would take thousands more battlefield casualties and two more years until the 13th Amendment ended slavery forever.
So, unlike some of the more recent executive orders making news these days, Lincoln's strategic use of an executive order was not a quick political fix - it was the key to lasting and powerful political change for the good of everyone.
WTVM Editorial Committee
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