by R Vance
A essay that I wrote as a high school senior in 2013.
|The Emancipation Proclamation|
A. South's view
B. North's view
A. Civil War
B. Southern Victories
C. Issue of the Emancipation Proclamation
A. Military measure
B. Moral reasoning
C. African-Americans in the military
A. From Emancipation to the 13th Amendment
B. Freedom of slaves
C. Equal rights
During the first year of the Civil War there was great pressure on President
Abraham Lincoln to declare slaves in the United States free. To do so would have
also improved the relations of the Union with foreign countries. So, for political,
Military, and diplomatic reasons the President was determined to act. The Emancipation Proclamation was his solution and because of this, after the Civil War, it leads to the passage of the 13 Amendment.
The difference in the beliefs on slavery of the North and the South were one of the
main causes of the Civil War. The South strongly supported slavery. The southern
states relied on slave labor to harvest their crops and other duties (War). The
North's views on slavery were the exact opposite. The northern states were mostly
industrial and did not rely on slavery (McPherson).
The Civil War was originally fought to bring the rebelling states back into the
Union (Emancipation). However, over time, after a string of Confederate victories
it was time to try a different approach (McPherson). From the beginning of his presidency, Lincoln was pressed by radical Republicans and Abolitionist to issue an emancipation of the slaves of some kind. Lincoln agreed, but he wanted to wait until he had the support of the American people. After the battle of Antietam (also known as Sharpsburg), President Lincoln felt he had enough support for his proclamation (Primary). On September 22, 1862, he issued a preliminary proclamation stating emancipation of the slaves would become effective on January 1, 1863, although it only applied to states still in rebellion (Lincoln). As the Emancipation Proclamation was mainly a military measure it actually freed few people. Instead, President Abraham Lincoln intended the Emancipation
Proclamation as a war measure to cripple the Confederacy. It was intended to free slaves used as laborers to support the South's army in the field and to stay at the home front, so more men could go fight the war. The proclamation also ensured that there was no European involvement in the Civil War, as many Europeans were against slavery. Furthermore, after the Union "victory" at Antictam, no European nation wanted to intervene on the side of a Southern lost cause (Civil).
The passage of the Emancipation Proclamation had several results. It added moral force to the war and strengthened the Union both militarily and politically. Although it did not end slavery in the United States it transformed the character of the war (National).
The Emancipation Proclamation also paved the way for former slaves to fight for
their own freedom. President Lincoln announced that all African-Americans of "suitable condition, would be received into the armed service of the United States." Five months later, after the proclamation took effect the War Department of the United States issued General Orders Number: 143; creating the United States Colored Troops (USCT). By the end of the Civil War, over 200,000 African- Americans would serve honorably in the Union army and navy (Civil).
From the beginning of the Civil War, former slaves had served to secure their own
liberty. The Emancipation Proclamation confirmed that the war for the Union must become a war for freedom. As a milestone along the path to end slavery in the United States, the Emancipation Proclamation has a place among the great documents of human freedom. President Lincoln soon realized that the Emancipation Proclamation, as a war measure, had no Constitutional power once the war was over; he and his cabinet committed themselves to a Constitutional amendment to abolish slavery in the United States.
The Senate passed the 13h Amendment by more than a two-thirds majority on April 8, 1864. Not until January 31, 1865, did enough members of the House of Representatives abstain or vote for the amendment to pass it by two-thirds. By December 18, 1865, the required three-quarters of the states had ratified the 13" Amendment, which forever after stated, "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude ... shall exist within the United States (Emancipation)."
President Lincoln considered the Emancipation Proclamation the crowning achievement of presidency and his legacy, "I never, in my life, felt more certain that I was doing right, then I do in signing this paper," he declared. "If my name ever goes into history it will be for this act (Civil)."
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Proclamation: Introduction. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2013.
McPherson, James M. "Emancipation Proclamation." World Book Encylopedia. 2001 cd. 2001.
"National Archives and Records Administration." National Archives and Records
Administration. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2013.
"Primary Documents in American History." Emancipation Proclamation: Primary Documents of
American History (Virtual Programs & Services, Library of Congress). N.p., n.d. Web.
30 Jan. 2013.