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Timing of the Emancipation Proclamation Essay

Abraham Lincoln is considered today, to be one of the best presidents of the United States. However he was despised by many at the time of his election. When he was elected a number of states in the south insisted that they would not be governed by him and wanted to secede. By the time he of his inauguration seven states had already seceded with four more following shortly after. The Confederates seceded because they feared that slavery would be ended, and they felt it was too important to their economy. Their actions are still considered to be too severe because although Lincoln was against slavery, he was not prepared to take any direct action to stop it. He believed that if he stopped to spread of slavery then it would die out in the far future. He also believed the slaves did not believe to become American citizen and should be shipped back to Africa after they gained freedom.

Abraham Lincoln said he only cared about preserving the United States of America and joining the Confederacy back to the Union. Lincoln saw Fort Sumter as the perfect opportunity to bait the Confederates into war. Fort Sumter was a Union fort in South Carolina, and President Lincoln decided to send supplies there, knowing it would upset the Confederates because it shows that the union had no plans of giving it up. The Confederates respond by firing on the fort for thirty-three hours and completely destroyed it, but not killing anyone. This is considered the first battle in the Civil War and what started the fighting. The Union people thought that it would be an easy win for them but the Confederates comes strong out of the gate. The Union was struggling with finding a general that could create the winning formula. The Union lost some key battles early on; however it filled them with passion and made them hungry for victory. Eventually Ulysses S. Grant took the reins and the Union went on to victory.

Abraham Lincoln started his presidency with no plans to directly end slavery, and the war started with the sole intention of restoring the Union. He stated “My paramount objective is to save the union… and is not either to save or destroy slavery. 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 save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that” (Roark 369). However as the war went on it evolved and became a fight for the freedom of the slaves. Lincoln wanted to free the slaves immediately, but there were still slave states left in the Union and if he had done anything like that they might secede too, and if he lost them he knew he could lose the war. Therefore he had to wait for the right time to declare any end of slavery.

On January 1st of 1863 he decided that time was right and issued The Emancipation Proclamation which gave freedom to all the slaves in the rebelling states. Also to help keep the slave states in the Union he exempted that from the proclamation. Since the Confederation did not fall under the Union, the proclamation depended on victory for the Union. The Times in London was quoted saying “Where he has no power Mr. Lincoln will set the negroes free, where retains power he will consider them as slaves” (Roark 370). While it may appear as if they are right the thought was that as they passed invaded confederate lands and captured them they slaves would gain freedom. Lincoln waited before proclaiming emancipation this because he needed to prove his worth to the Upper South. Had he passed it earlier they would have seceded and it would have been a major loss to the Union army.


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