To this very day, many still believe that Abraham Lincoln, with his Emancipation Proclamation, serves as a revolutionary train that guided America in a forward direction to the abolishment of slavery. As dainty and “happily ever after” as such sounds, sadly this is not the case at all. Though Lincoln and many other Northerners opposed slavery, emancipation of the millions of enslaved blacks wasn’t always well accepted in the racist society of the North or the South.
Northern blacks were typically more outspoken about the issues of slavery; however, this led to many being seen as merely stoking the fire that would lead to a civil war and secession of the South. Eventually secession did occur with the election of 1860 and Abraham Lincoln’s anti-slavery platform, but Lincoln didn’t immediately grant manumission of all the slaves. Instead, as years past and war weariness settled in, along with an already occurring self-liberating force by enslaved blacks, Lincoln passed the Emancipation Proclamation.
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This historical document has been morphed into being accepted as Lincoln’s greatest achievement and the freeing of slaves. When actually analyzing the contents of this document and already occurring self-liberation movements of this time, it is evident that Abraham Lincoln didn’t free the slaves. 1. Self-Liberation Movements a. Motivation i. Declaration from God ii. Civil War 1. Allowed the already self-liberation black movement to grow. 2. Believed that if North Won = End of Slavery 3. Believed that if South Won = Slavery everywhere b. Ran towards Union Lines i. Pilgrim Armies ii.
Camped in areas where Union Soldiers occupied 1. “Freedom Fort” 2. Union-held Fortress Monroe 3. Hundreds left slavery and went here. iii. Left from Virginia and the Carolinas to Richmond iv. Left Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Missouri to the North c. Self-made Emancipation proclamations i. Many slaves made their own. ii. Inspiration from slave songs. d. Became an unavoidable Military and Political Issue i. Many enlisted ii. Worked on Union encampments iii. Served as spies iv. Treated as Contraband v. Abraham Lincoln and other Generals didn’t recognize their freedom in most cases. . Emancipation Proclamation a. Purpose i. Proclamation was created to weaken Confederacy. ii. Lincoln’s goal was to repair the union. iii. Purpose was not to free slaves. b. Contents i. Proclamation freed only slaves in “Rebellious” States. ii. Lincoln preserved slavery in “loyal states” and parts of the confederacy in Union control. c. Effectiveness i. No authority over the “Rebellious” States ii. Slaves in the South were already liberating themselves iii. There wasn’t a way to enforce this Proclamation. d. Lincoln’s Views i. Didn’t believe in a black and white society. i. Was anti-slavery, different from abolitionist. iii. More focused on preserving the Union and halting expansion of slavery. iv. Why did he wait two years if he really wanted to emancipate the slaves? v. Lincoln’s Letter to Horace Greeley “my paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and it is not either to save or destroy slavery, If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it, and if I could save 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. “