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Emancipation Vs. The Proclamation

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Emancipation vs. The Proclamation

History 109

President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1863. He signed it on January 1, 1863, as the nation quickly approached its third year of the civil war. Lincoln wrote the document with the power vested in him as the President of the United States and the Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy.

The Proclamation was written right after the Battle of Antietam, in Washington County, Maryland. Which was fitting being that it was the first victory for the Union. This was the best time for the Proclamation to be published and transmitted by telegraph without consequences. Politically, Lincoln felt the writing of the Proclamation was necessary because the election year was the following year. Lincoln didn't want to offend any of the slave states that were still in the Union and jeopardize loosing their support, especially Kentucky.

The Emancipation Proclamation was limited in many ways. It applied only to states that had seceded from the Union and were still in rebellion. This left slavery still allowable to the border states. The Proclamation declared, "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and henceforward shall be free." It also clearly excused parts of the Confederacy that had already come under Northern control. More importantly, the freedom that was promised, depended on Union military victory.

Even though the Emancipation Proclamation did not free slaves immediately, it played a critical role in changing the spirit of the war. Also, the Proclamation announced the acceptance of black men into the Union Army and Navy. "Over the next two years six regiments of US Colored Cavalry, eleven regiments and four companies of US Colored Heavy Artillery, ten batteries of the US Colored Light Artillery, and 100 regiments and sixteen companies of US Colored Infantry were raised during the war. By the end of the conflict nearly 190,000 black soldiers and sailors had served in the Union forces" (

Constitutionally, slaves had no rights and there was a feeling that the Proclamation would be freeing property without due compensation to owners. Though the Emancipation Proclamation did not end slavery in America, it would be an amendment to the Constitution on Dec. 18, 1865 (the passage of the 13th). This made that accomplishment a basic war goal.




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