The Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863 as the nation approached its third year of civil war (“The Emancipation Proclamation”). This proclamation was a significant step towards the objective of ending slavery and making African Americans equal citizens of the United States. The context of the proclamation declared that “that all persons held as slaves “within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free”. The proclamation became a significant road to slavery’s final destruction and became one of the initial inspirations for human freedom.
The proclamation though the intention was good has many underlying aspects to be noted. The application of the proclamation was “limited only to those parts of North America which were under the control of the armed forces of the Confederate States of America” (“Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation”). President Lincoln had no power to liberate slaves generally because such act during that time would have been unlawful or unconstitutional. He could only issue such only from his capacity as Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy and as a “necessary war measure” (Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation”).
However despite the limitations, the proclamation of liberty had tremendous effects that possibly help shaped America. Although the practical effects of the proclamation was only limited to some areas “it did serve as an important symbol that the North now intended not only to preserve the Union but also to abolish the practice of slavery” (“Emancipation Proclamation – Further Readings”). The success of the proclamation after the Civil War motivated Lincoln to completely support the liberation of the African American black people.
This paved the way for the proposal of the Republican Party 1864 that calls for the gradual abolition of slavery by constitutional amendment. The proclamation also prevented Europe from supporting the Confederacy and encouraged enlistment of black soldiers, as a result, the North America towards slavery in Civil War was defeated (“The Emancipation Proclamation: The Document that Saved America”). The end of Civil War definitely reunited the rebellious states of United States with the Union which also made America a very big nation and eventually powerful country.
The Proclamation gave joy and hope to millions of black people who was been enslaved by the Southern United States Americans. The Civil War from 1861- 1865 between Northern Defenders of the Union and the Southern members of the Confederacy (the name for the states that had separated themselves from the United States to form their own country in a bloody conflict) changed the focus of the war from “the rights of the individual states” to freeing the slaves (“Slavery’s End Brings Both Joy and Confusion”). Civil War after the Emancipation was already about freedom.
When the Civil War ended, the emancipation of blacks though left the White Southerners to be bitter and angry who can not yet fully accept that the slaves’ unpaid labour will be ended. Being defeated by the Southern members of the Confederacy, Northern whites felt that it is impossible for them to rebuild their shattered life without the blacks. The multitude of negative emotions felt by them highlights and manifests the racist attitude of Northern European descent. Blacks, after the Proclamation of Emancipation and eventually after the Civil War, learned that it is not true that they came from inferior race.
And that it is not true that they are simply properties and they also realized that they became a victim of slavery because of ignorance. As free and learned men, they no longer had to put up with the brutalities they experienced and endured as slaves. The end of slavery gave them the opportunity to re-establish their identity, their individuality and their society. The Proclamation also became effective social awakening about slavery and human freedom. It illustrates that human beings of different culture, sexes, religion and races are created equal.
The Emancipation Proclamation brought about great changes in the American society. The awareness of black’s slavery inspired literature, arts, music and films about freedom and liberty. Affirmative action, freedom of religion and the establishment of different organizations and groups that support the black community inspired its growth. Not only did the world focuses on the United States from then on in regards to slavery but the world started to open their eyes about the different existing slaveries, example Apartheid in Africa during early 20th century.
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