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President Lincoln And The Emancipation Proclamation Essay

1651 words - 7 pages

Abraham Lincoln, the thirteenth President of the United States, made many decisions in his life that had great impact on the future of America. Although his decisions were not always the most popular amongst people or well supported by other politicians, they were well thought through and proved to be successful choices in the long run. His leadership during the Civil War brought the Union back together while helping to eliminate the morally unjust institution of slavery in the South. The one specific action that has set Lincoln apart from other leaders is the creation of a proclamation that changed the world forever. This Emancipation Proclamation proved to be the main strategic document that Lincoln used to bring the recently succeeded southern Confederation, back into the Union. Although his Proclamation did not immediately end slavery in America, it established a principle under which the Civil War would be fought and freedom for slaves would eventually be won. Once this document was put into effect, Europe no longer supported the recognition of the Confederacy because of their position on slavery. The defining document of the Civil War and of Lincoln's political career was the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared all slaves in the states that were in rebellion against the federal government free men.The decision to enact the Emancipation Proclamation was by far Lincoln's greatest single act of his life as president. Before introducing this document the war was not going very well. Lincoln and his generals were coming under heavy criticism for the lack of success of the Union armies. Many soldiers were being killed while little was being done to preserve the Union. Republican radicals, who were anti-slavery, were not happy because the slavery system was not being looked at seriously as a potential aim for the war. Most Democrats were in favor of the war for purposes of saving the Union, but opposed emancipation and strongly objected Lincoln's tampering with civil liberties (Ginapp, 117). Other more radical Democrats were even seen as trying to sabotage the war effort by aiding the Confederacy. Conservative Republicans generally supported the war effort in order to preserve the Union but as the war went on they became critical of Lincoln's leadership abilities.From early childhood Lincoln viewed slavery as a morally repulsive economic institution. Even though he had strong feelings against slavery, he knew that the nation was not ready for the complete abolishment of the system. A few of Lincoln's concerns included the issue of what to do with the slaves, who would be landless and homeless, once they were set free, fear of how public opinion would change, the possibility of revolt and persecution of African Americans in certain areas of the country, and the idea that ending slavery was not a constitutional right given to the Federal Government.Towards the beginning period of the Civil War Lincoln's aim was only to reunite the Union once...

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