Emancipation Proclamation Essay

1243 words - 5 pages

The Emancipation Proclamation was a historic document which led to the end of slavery in the United States. President Abraham Lincoln issued the Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, during the Civil War. It declared freedom for all slaves in the areas of the Confederacy that were still in rebellion against the Union. The Proclamation also provided for the use of blacks in the Union army and navy. As a result, it greatly influenced the North's victory in the war.When President Lincoln called for union volunteers to go to war against the Confederacy, it was only made up of seven states - South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. The call to arms meant that every state had to choose a side. On April 17, 1861, Virginia became the eighth state to join the Confederacy. Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina soon followed Virginia into the Confederacy. By May 20, 1861, eleven states had left the Union and joined the Confederacy.The counties in northwestern Virginia didn't follow the rest of the states into the Confederacy. In 1863, these counties were admitted into the Union as the state of West Virginia. This was an important area to the North, it helped to keep open lines of communication between the states of the Northeast and the Mississippi River. The border states - Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri - were also important to the Union. Maryland was especially important to the Union. If they joined the Confederacy, the Union capital at Washington, D.C., would be cut off from the northern states. Maryland ended up staying with the Union after the bloodshed there. The other border states - Delaware, Kentucky, and Missouri - also decided in favor of the Union. In 1863, after West Virginia joined the Union, a total of 24 states were fighting on the northern side.The soldiers dying for the Confederacy and for the Union were not the only Americans willing to sacrifice everything for their beliefs. A small but growing number of abolitionists began to speak about the cause of which they were fighting for. They were determined at all costs to link freeing the slaves to saving the Union.The war had now sped up abolitionist activities. Frederick Douglas was the man who expressed the view of all abolitionists when he declared that the union could not be preserved unless the slaves were given their freedom. The abolitionists kept adding reasons to their moral arguments for freeing the slaves. They said that freeing the slaves would encourage them to flee the South. This would strike a heavy blow to the southern wartime economy, which depended on slave labor. Soon after the war had begun, the abolitionists pressured the national government to issue an immediate declaration of emancipation.President Lincoln had long believed slavery to be wrong. However, he now insisted that the issue of slavery had to be secondary to the main issue of saving the Union. Lincoln feared that the emancipation of the slaves would force the border...

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