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Lincoln And The Emanciption

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Autor:   •  April 3, 2011  •  1,292 Words (6 Pages)  •  949 Views

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What were President Lincoln's attitude emancipation of

slaves before and during the early days of the Civil War?

The Emancipation Proclamation was a declaration by Abraham

Lincoln that seemed like it was a revolutionary idea on the

potential treatment and freeing of blacks, but really, the

Emancipation Proclamation was just a politically inspired

hoax. It did not give freedom to slaves, or create a bigger

hope for equality. Although the Emancipation Proclamation

sounded like a realistic and impressive demand for the stop

of slavery in the South, its function as a political

declaration is clear in the language. Consider the

beginning, which states,

That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord

one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held

as slaves within any State or designated part of a State,

the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the

United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever

free; and the Executive Government of the United States,

including the military and naval authority thereof, will

recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will

do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them,

in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

The obvious legal tone to this declaration makes it clear

that the military and battle are evenly significant in this

proclamation. It is not until later on that Lincoln made it

clear about the issues of human rights and freedoms for

blacks, but instead seemed focused on the function of the

military forces and more notably, he initially addressed the

rebellion as one of the foremost elements. (1)

What Lincoln did was free the slaves in Confederate

territories where he could not free them and to leave them

in slavery in Union-held territory where he could have freed


It was not to end slavery that Lincoln initiated an invasion

of the South. He stated over and over again that his main

purpose was to ’save the Union,’ which is another way of

saying that he wanted to abolish states’ rights once and for

all. He could have ended slavery just as dozens of other

countries in the world did during the first sixty years of

the nineteenth century, through compensated emancipation,

but he never seriously attempted to do so. A war was not

necessary to free the slaves, but it was necessary to

destroy the most significant check on the powers of the

central government: the right of secession.

Lincoln comes across as seeming extremely committed to

spreading liberty and equality in the Emancipation


While his private letters expose the more indecisiveness

about the topic of slavery against more direct political

problems. In his letter to Horace Greeley Lincoln, who

already had a draft of the Emancipation Proclamation formed,

said, My vital point is to save the Union, and is not to

either save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union

without freeing any slave, I would do it, and if I could do

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. The primary goal in this letter shows that

Lincoln is using slavery for political purposes and it is

merely the issue of the day rather than a cause that he

seems genuinely committed to. (3)

The Emancipation Proclamation was an effort to mask

Lincoln’s political obligation since he is halfhearted about

the issue of slavery. While it does seem that the past may

have led many to consider in the general figure of Lincoln

as a liberator of the country, this may not be an entirely

correct assumption. When addressing Charleston in southern

Illinois he stated:

I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in

favor of bringing about in any way the social and political

equality of the white and black races (applause); that I am

not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors

of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to

intermarry with white people

It is clear that the Emancipation Proclamation was not as

simple as it may have seemed at first and in fact, Lincoln



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