Abraham Lincoln was elected the President of the United States in 1860 with an anti-slavery agenda, and this gave the impression to the Southern States that they no longer belonged in the Union. South Carolina became the first state to secede the Union on December 20, 1860. In the following few months six more states, whose agriculture based economy was dependent on the free labor slavery provided, followed South Carolina’s lead and followed suit.
The seven states, South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas formed the Confederate States of America and chose the Mississippi senator, Jefferson Davis as their interim president (PBS). Lincoln claimed in his inaugural address in March 1861that it was his responsibility to keep the Union intact. He went on to state that he would not end slavery where it existed, or take back the Fugitive Slave Law (a 1850 law requiring all runaway slaves to the Northern states where slavery did not exist, to be returned to their masters in the South). It was understandable why this position of Mr.
Lincoln’s did not sit well with the African Americans or the white Americans against slavery, but what was surprising was that it did not do anything to satisfy the Confederacy. Hence, on April 12, 1861 the Confederates attacked Fort Summer and the Civil Started had started. Immediately following the attacks another four states, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee joined the Confederacy. Even though President Lincoln made it abundantly clear that he was fighting to keep the Union intact and not for slavery or for the rights of the blacks, from the very start the free African Americans rushed to enlist in the army.
Their services were refused and laws refusing blacks the right to enlist in the army were maintained because Lincoln wanted to prove to the whites in the Northern states that their privileges as the superior race were not in any danger. The Confederacy on the other hand was using the enslaved labor for efforts to win the war. Slave labor was being used as nurses, laundresses, blacksmiths and they were working in factories and armories (PBS). As the Northern army managed to penetrate into the Southern territory, there was a large influx of refugees.
The slave fugitives were labeled “contraband of war” and if it could be proven that their labor was used to help the Confederacy they were given their freedom. Despite declaring the black fugitives free, Lincoln still firmly held on to the idea that this war was not about setting the slaves free but holding the Union together. By early 1862 Lincoln was beginning to think that some kind of an emancipation order was needed if North was to win. The Proclamation As the war drew on, a number of governments in Europe started to think about recognizing the Confederacy and interceding against the Union.
Also at home the Congressional and public opinion grew more towards the fact that slavery was not right and it needed to be abolished as a policy of war. Faced with such mounting pressure from all sides Lincoln felt that if a declaration was made to free the slaves, then European opinion would be with the North, and he would get the support needed for his own administration and the war effort, that he decided to draft the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862 (Emancipation Proclamation). On July 13, 1862, Lincoln read out the prelude proclamation to his Secretaries William H.
Seward and Gideon Wells and both were left at a loss for words, and Lincoln did not discuss the matter further. On July 22 Lincoln read the Proclamation at his Cabinet meeting and got a mixed reaction. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, deciphered the measure as a method of taking the slave labor away from the Confederacy while allowing more men into the Union Army and supported its release as soon as possible, the Postmaster General Montgomery Blair predicted doom in the fall elections, while the Attorney General Edward Bates was against equality in the political and civil arena for the Blacks.
Since the President was not concerned about his Cabinet’s view of the substance of the Proclamation only its style, the direction on future action was set (www. memory. loc. gov). To show that the proclamation was being issued out of strength and not a sign of weakness, Secretary of State Seward recommended that Lincoln not issue it until there was some significant Union victory. The opportunity presented itself when there was a Union victory at Antietam on September 22, 1862 and five days after that Lincoln issued the Proclamation which became effective on January 1, 1863.
The chief function of the proclamation was to bring peace back and restore Union control, and was perceived as a firm commitment to abolish slavery. Proclamation also turned around the strengths of the warring parties by taking away the slave labor from the confederates, whose backbone in war efforts was formed by the slaves and gave this advantage to the Union (Borade). England and France were dependent upon the cotton they got from the South, and the Confederacy was hopeful that these countries would enter the war on their side.
By turning the war into a fight against slavery, England and France sided with the Union because their citizens were against slavery (Emancipation Proclamation Prliminary Events, 2009). The purpose of limiting the proclamation to a few states was because Lincoln had the authority to take such an action on his own, a proclamation like this would not have Constitutional power over Union states since they had certain rights (The Emancipation Proclamation).
In reality the proclamation freed very few slaves, because the border states fighting for the Union were not affected by it, nor were the southern areas already under Union control, and the rebellious states ignored the order. The Emancipation Proclamation is made up of two executive orders; the first order stated that if the breakaway did not put an end to the war and return to the Union by 1 January 1863, then all the slaves in the Confederate States would be set free. The second order listed the specific states to which the order applied.
The Proclamation also had clauses which focused on rebellion and how to do away with it. It was stated that any individual starting a rebellion would be incarcerated for ten years and would be fined ten thousand dollars. If on the other hand, the individual freed his slaves, the court would not punish them (Borade). The proclamation also said that freed slaves who met with the necessary requirements would be allowed into the armed services of the Union, which was a major shift from the previous policy.
The original Emancipation Proclamation is housed in the National Archives in Washington D. C. , and covers five pages of text. It was held together with thin red and blue ribbons which were stuck to the page that has signatures by the seal of the United States. The emancipation document was transferred from the Department of State to the National Archives in 1936 (Emancipation Proclamation). Works Cited Borade, G. (n. d. ). Purpose and Effects of the Emancipation Proclamation. Retrieved August 3, 2010, from www.
buzzle. com: http:/www. buzzle. com/articles/purpose-and-effects-of-the-emancipation-proclamation. html Emancipation Proclamation. (n. d. ). Retrieved August 3, 2010, from www. archives. gov: http://www. archives. gov/exhibits/featured_documents/emancipation_proclamation/ Emancipation Proclamation. (n. d. ). Retrieved August 2, 2010, from www. Encyclopaedia Britannica: http://www. britannica. com/EBchecked/topic/185468/Emancipation-Proclamation Emancipation Proclamation Prliminary Events. (2009, January 01).
Retrieved August 03, 2010, from www. robinsonlibrary. com: http://robinsonlibrary. com/america/unitedstates/1783/slavery/emancipation. htm PBS. (n. d. ). www. pbs. org. Retrieved August 2, 2010, from http://www. pbs. org/wgbh/aia/part4/4p2967. html The Emancipation Proclamation. (n. d. ). Retrieved August 3, 2010, from www. usconstitution. net: http://www. usconstitution. net/eman. html www. memory. loc. gov. (n. d. ). Retrieved August 2, 2010, from http://memory. loc. gov/ammem/alhtml/almintr. html