A Discussion on Lincoln's Use of Emancipation as a Military Strategy in the Civil War

While the other three parties discussed, namely the military, Congress, and African Americans, played roles in emancipating slaves during the Civil War, it was essentially Lincoln who should receive most acknowledgements. Lincoln was a careful president, especially at first, and was at times criticized for not satisfying a citizenry that called for action.

However, Lincoln’s thought-out calculations produced an indubitable compromise: freedom for slaves as well as unity between the North and the South. Victory for the Union would inevitably force the South and North to once again unite, but the Civil War did not turn in the Union’s favor until Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 (Nat.

Archives). This proclamation, announced on the first of January, was the key in making the war not only about unity but about morality as well, effectively elevating Lincoln’s cause.

John Frémont, appointed Major General and Commander of the West, hastily declared emancipation for all slaves in the state of Missouri in August 1862.

Lincoln denounced his claim and removed him from his position. Lincoln was not protecting slave owners but protecting his cause for the Union. If tension in the Border States was raised to the level of the South, where slavery was most rampant and fears of revolt at their highest, Lincoln feared they would be lost to the Confederacy as well (Nat. Constitution Center). Instead, Lincoln’s more polished document, emerging six months later, officially emancipated all slaves of the Confederacy by law. At this point the Union military force had new reason to invade and the slaves more reason to resist their masters’ control.

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Lincoln himself launched this military force and therefore all of its action toward freeing slaves was a direct result of the Commander in Chief’s declaration. The military never acts independently but is subject to the command of the executive officer. Similarly, the work of African Americans to finally push openly for freedom was a result of the Emancipation

Proclamation, which empowered them by offering government reinforcement (Nat. Constitution Center). These two groups did much of the actual work to obtain freedom from slavery, but such efforts would not have been possible without Lincoln. While the small abolitionist faction of Congress did openly speak out against slavery, the Northern non-slave states did not have a substantial majority to pass enforceable legislation before Lincoln crafted his own. They helped to raise tension and slavery to be a major sectional issue, but Lincoln’s command was more significant in actually taking steps to free the slaves.

Lincoln may have used emancipation as a military strategy during the Civil War. However, it is important not to discredit the impact of this action, no matter its motives. The words directly included in the Emancipation Proclamation for the first time in history includes the entire African American race as “free men” whose rights must be respected and presents a plan of enforcement (Nat. Archives). The Union army would finally protect Africans in the fight for freedom because of President Lincoln, and they would subsequently engage the full-scale battle for equality that had so long been suppressed in the South (Nat. Archives).

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A Discussion on Lincoln's Use of Emancipation as a Military Strategy in the Civil War. (2023, Jan 08). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/a-discussion-on-lincoln-s-use-of-emancipation-as-a-military-strategy-in-the-civil-war/

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