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Lincolns Emancipation Proclamation Essay

1163 words - 5 pages

Lincoln's Emancipation ProclamationThe Emancipation Proclamation was issued on September 22, 1862. The author, President Abraham Lincoln, stated that the proclamation declared all slaves held within states of rebellion against the United States government be freed on January 1, 1863. On July 2, 1862 a preliminary draft was read to Lincoln's cabinet members. The final and explicit draft of the emancipation proclamation, issued January 1, 1863, took the United and Confederate states by storm.At the beginning of the Civil War, Lincoln was very hesitant on issuing any decision on freeing slaves. Abolitionists and protesters of slavery constantly urged Lincoln to emancipate slaves in the Confederate South. Lincoln truly believed that the only reason the Civil War was being fought was to preserve the Union. He wanted no part in pushing away the slaveholding Border States that had remained faithful to the Union during the war. He wanted to have more support from the American public before he made any drastic decisions on the matter. His cabinet and other politically influential people frequently criticized Lincoln for not taking action on the slavery issue. In a letter to friend and New York Tribune founder Horace Greeley, Lincoln wrote "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 do it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that." After the approval of the Second Confiscation Act, which freed slaves of all rebellious states, Lincoln had the public backing he needed to create an emancipation proclamation. On July 13, 1862, he revealed his plan to his Secretary of State, William H. Seward. Seward feared anarchy and uprising in the South and thus Seward suggested that Lincoln wait until after a Union victory before thinking of issuing such a proclamation. Lincoln read the preliminary draft of the emancipation proclamation to members of his cabinet for input and suggestions. Although there was mixed thoughts about the proclamation, Lincoln only wanted suggestions on the style of the proclamation not the content. The Union victory Seward proposed came at the battle of Antietam. Lincoln read a second draft to his cabinet members and on September 22, 1862, he issued a preliminary proclamation stating emancipation would become effective on January 1, 1863 in the states rebelling against Union forces.Abraham Lincoln was very reluctant to write the Emancipation Proclamation. He was a long-time believer in white supremacy. After so much pressure from abolitionists, he began to view slavery as a dilemma the Union must surpass. The Proclamation was not the answer Lincoln personally wanted. He believed in "gradual emancipation, to be undertaken voluntarily by the states, with federal compensation to slaveholders." He began to claim to be "antislavery." He was against the expansion of slavery, however he did not want an immediate end to it. He...

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