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The Emancipation Proclamation Of 1863 Essay

1860 words - 7 pages

Was the emancipation proclamation more a military tactic rather than based-feelings towards the slaves?

Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 during the civil war, as main goal to win the war. Some historians argued that it was based on feelings towards slaves because not only it freed slaves in the South; it was also a huge step for the real abolition of slavery in the United States. While other historians argued that it was a military tactic because it strengthened the Union army, because the emancipated slaves were joining the Union thus providing a larger manpower than the Confederacy . The Emancipation Proclamation emancipated slaves only in the Confederacy and did not apply to the Border-states and the Union states.

At this point of time of the war; in 1862/1863 the Union army was losing against the Confederacy; the Confederacy was leading the war. The number of Union’s casualties was twice the number of the Confederacy’s casualties. Lincoln waited to issue the proclamation because when announcing out loud his first draft, his cabinet suggested him to wait so that it would not be seen as a desperate act. That is why, in September 17, 1862, when the Union army won the battle of Antietam that 5 days later, Lincoln said that if the Confederacy army has not surrender by the New Year, all slaves in the Southern states would be free. Different opinions over the cause and impact of the proclamation can be found in political cartoons. In a cartoon by John Tenniel, it shows that the Emancipation Proclamation was seen as an act of desperation and was his “last card to play to win the war” . The purpose of this cartoon, drawn in 1862 is controversial as to what Lincoln wanted initially, when he issued his emancipation proclamation by showing his own point of view; which is that the emancipation proclamation was seen, in Great Britain, as a desperate act to win the civil War. Which was not what Lincoln wanted initially. It is a primary source thus, a valuable source, because it shows his feelings about it. The cartoon was drawn during the same period as the proclamation was issued, echoing Great Britain’s’ opinion about it. A limitation is that the creator’s point of view is a British one, and thus it was difficult to determine if he was for or against the Emancipation Proclamation based on his nationality; because most people in Great Britain were supporting the proclamation because it abolished slavery but others were against it because it was just a military strategy. Another limitation is that, since it’s a cartoon, other people looking at it can misinterpret it. In another cartoon, by McLennan John, it shows how the Emancipation Proclamation affected France and England and their involvement in war. Proving it was a military tactic because since the foreign countries would no longer supply the Confederacy, because they had already abolished slavery in their country, they would no longer supply the...

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