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Emancipation Proclamation

Free «Emancipation Proclamation» Essay Sample

The Emancipation Proclamation was created with the aim of setting free slaves and signed on the 1st of January, 1862. Lincoln signed the final draft of the Emancipation Proclamation that freed all slaves in the south stating: “All persons held as slaves within any state or designated part of the state the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the US shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free” (Lincoln, 1863). Once the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, the possession of slaves in the South became outlawed and contraband. The Emancipation Proclamation was a war strategy.

Lincoln knew that without the Emancipation Proclamation he had no chance of winning the war. At the beginning of the war, the South had hoped that Great Britain and France would help fight on their side but the both refused. Evidently, if Lincoln did not sign the Emancipation Proclamation Great Britain and France would have helped fight on the Confederate side (2009). However, due to the fact that Emancipation Proclamation was signed making the war about slavery, France and Britain decided to stay out of the war because they had already abolished slavery in their countries.


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The Emancipation Proclamation changed the priorities of the Civil War. At the beginning of the Civil War, Lincoln was focused on reuniting the South and North. However, as the war progressed Lincoln realized the importance of slaves to the South’s economy. When the Emancipation Proclamation was signed slavery actually became a serious issue, the war was no longer a war to preserve the country but a war to end slavery (Frank, 2009). Nevertheless, even with the Emancipation Proclamation slaves in the South were still not free. Lincoln could not legally free the slaves in the South because they had already seceded. However, he was allowed to take away the slaves in the South during the war. For slaves to be permanently free, Lincoln would have to win the war.

In case Lincoln did not sign the Emancipation Proclamation, Great Britain and France would have helped fight on the Confederate side. Great Britain and France could not take part in a war that supported slavery, so they decided not to participate in the Civil War (Frank, 2009).

Once the slaves were freed through the emancipation proclamation, most of the freed African Americans enlisted in the Union Army; with an approximate enlistment of 180, 000 African Americans. It was Lincoln’s objective to free slaves hoping they would join the army after they were freed. Having slaves help in the war gave the North better chances of winning the war. By the end of the war, African Americans made up 12% of the Union Army (Black History, 2007).

African Americans were helping to free more slaves that were not granted their freedom yet. With the help of African Americans, Lincoln accomplished winning the war. African Americans were of great help in the war as they made up a significant percentage of soldiers in the Union Army. African Americans were denied at the beginning of the war because many felt that they should not have an access to guns, and there were laws against it, but those laws were lifted and African Americans were allowed to participate in the war.

The Emancipation Proclamation was extremely effective. The Emancipation Proclamation declared that the aim of the Civil War was freeing the slaves. African American soldiers were now accepted in the war, as well as having the British and the French refrain from aiding the Confederacy in the Civil War. It was a momentous document. Since Lincoln, was concerned about its lasting legal base, the Congress passed the 13th Amendment. The proclamation confirmed “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free” (Lincoln, 1863). The 13th Amendment went to greater measures at protecting the African Americans at the end of the war, basically this Amendment guaranteed that once the war was over the slaves would not go back to their owners unless on free will or as punishment for a crime. This Amendment did more than the Emancipation Proclamation because that was just a temporary document used during the war to free slaves (Black History, 2007).

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The 14th Amendment made provisions that prohibit state governments from curtailing the rights, immunities or privileges of their citizens. The Amendment prohibited the states from denying any individual equal protections of the laws of the land. It sought to restrict laws that had ethnic leanings or discrimination, such as laws that made defined acts felonies, if and when committed by African Americans, but absolved the whites from liabilities (Black History, 2007).

If the Emancipation Proclamation was not signed then the war would have been in favor of the South. The Emancipation Proclamation also helped keep away the French and Great Britain from helping the South in the War, because once the Emancipation Proclamation was signed the war became more about ending slavery then about keeping the country together. France and Great Britain did not want to be involved in a war over slavery because they had already abolished slavery in their countries and could not participate in the war to help preserve slavery.

Many Lincoln’s supporters were African Americans because they believed in him because he gave them a chance of freedom. The Emancipation Proclamation had to be signed; otherwise slaves would not have been freed. Hence, in the event that slaves were not freed before the war then Lincoln may not have won the war because Great Britain and France would have fought alongside the South during the Civil War.

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