Lincoln Upholds Execution of a Condemned Slave Trader

This document stands out in the history of a man renowned for his mercy and willingness to forgive. His refusal to grant the condemned Nathaniel Gordon clemency for his capital crime made Lincoln the only American president to execute a slave trader. Predictably, Lincoln’s decision caused a huge public stir. The execution made an example of Gordon to all slave traders, to the Confederacy, and to the world.