January 23, 2012
Historical Research Essay:
Abraham Lincoln- Emancipation Proclamation
As the glowing sun set over the bloody fields of Antietam, the Civil War became a different War. Five days after the battle at Antietam was won, armed with pen and paper, Abraham Lincoln changed the war when he issued, one of the most important and controversial documents in America history, the Emancipation Proclamation. Congress and the northern states were urging emancipation. Escaped slaves were fleeing to the Union army as it advanced in the South, complicating military operations. Issued on September 22, 1862, Lincoln's preliminary proclamation declared that on New Year's, 1863, “all persons held as slaves within any State… then… in rebellion against the United States shall be then, henceforward, and forever free"(Basler). The final Emancipation Proclamation, issued January 1, 1863, authorized the recruitment of blacks into the Union Army, which abolitionist leaders such as Frederick Douglass had been urging since the beginning of armed conflict. By the end of the war, almost 200,000 black soldiers and sailors had fought for the Union and freedom.
Human slavery was the focus of political conflict in the United States from the 1830s to the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861. Abraham Lincoln, the Republican candidate for presidency in 1860, personally abhorred slavery and was pledged to prevent it from spreading to western territories. At the same time he believed that the Constitution did not allow federal government to prohibit slavery in states where it already existed. The election of Lincoln led to the secession of eleven slave-holding states and the beginning of the civil war. The states feared Lincoln would restrict their right to do as they chose about the question of black and white, so they created the Confederate South. Four slave-holding states remained in the Union however; Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland and Delaware. The Confederate South glowers at Abraham Lincoln because the states thought that he will take their God given rights over African- Americans. They believe that the slaves are not people but property; they also believe that the white race must take care of the inferior blacks and in return the blacks must work. The separation of the South ended in the debacle of the United States and the people.
During the first part of the war, abolitionists and some military leaders urged Lincoln to issue a proclamation freeing the slaves. They argued that such a policy would benefit the North because slaves were contributing greatly to the Confederate war effort. By doing most of the South's farming and factory work, callow slaves made whites available for the Confederate army. But still Lincoln feared that he freeing the slaves would divide the North, he believed that the four slave-holding states would secede if he adopted such a policy, and he saw them as vital to the survival of the Union By 1862 large numbers of slaves were escaping and seeking refuge with Union armies. Lincoln recognized that the extraordinary pressure of the war was gradually destroying the institution of slavery, even without legal emancipation. “In July 1862 or the first part of the month of August, this cabinet meeting took place” (Carpenter, Francis). Lincoln read a draft of the Emancipation Proclamation to his cabinet. One of his ministers suggested that the President wait to issue it until after the Union victory, so that it would not sound like the last desperate act of a losing government. Lincoln agreed and waited for his generals to win the war.
The battle of Antietam, September 17, 1862, was the bloodiest single