An Analysis of the Emancipation Proclamation Signed by Abraham Lincoln

In 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation that stated that all slaves would be thenceforth and forever free (Modern-Day Slavery). The signing of this Act was a huge turning point in America. After this, abolitionists were under the impression that this was the end of slavery particularly in America, but also with the hope that it would have a rippling affect around the world. But au contraire! According to Anti-Slavery International, more than 200 million slaves live in the world today– more than any time in history and 50 times more than the four million slaves freed by Abraham Lincoln (Modern-Day Slavery).

These statistics are quite alarming. Despite the many differences in modern day slavery and Civil War slavery, there are still quite a few similarities.

There are a few constants in slavery no matter what time era it is in. One of these is the definition of a slave. According to Emma Reinhardt, a slave is defined as a person whose time and body are owned by another, and someone who is forced to work with no pay.

This has been true both in the past, the present, and will continue to be true as long as slavery still exists. The other constant in slavery is that it is wrong. Slavery dehumanizes a person and takes away the inalienable rights that Thomas Jefferson said each person living on earth have. These two things remain the same in all types and times of slavery.

One of the major differences between modern-day slavery and civil war slavery are the people that each targeted and how the situation was approached.

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Civil War slavery was mostly the enslavement of African Americans. These people mostly worked on plantations that were open for the public to see. Slavery was more of a social norm back then and it was openly talked about. Now, the people that are mostly slaves are women and children. This business now is very underground. Slavery in America mostly happens when a respectable American business man goes to a third world country offering a young, poor girl and her family the opportunity of a lifetime in America, where the girl can get a job and a good education.

The family thinks that it is too good to be true, and raise the money to send their daughter to a better life. Upon arriving in America, the girl is usually thrown in a dilapidated house with many other woman. She is forced to work long hours with no pay, and often turned over to prostitution (Reinhardt). This slavery is much more concealed than slavery in the 1800s, and the people targeted are different groups.

The other main difference between past and present slavery is the work that they have been required to perform. In the 1800s, slaves were mostly forced to do manual labor. This required working in fields for men, and working in the house, cooking and cleaning, for women. Slavery now, while still involves manual labor, is more focused on human trafficking. Girls are sold into this industry and often have a required number of men they have to sleep with per night, and after the night is over they must give the money that they earned to their owner.

This, however, is often not seen as slavery because it is not a form that people are used to seeing. In South Americas 1996 Constitution, they forbid slavery, but as of right now there is no stand-alone law that forbids human trafficking (Skinner). Although these two forms of slavery are very different in the work that the people have to do, it is still slavery nonetheless.

Slavery in the world today is as alarming in the present as it was in the past despite the differences in the process and the people. In America, slavery is not nearly as big of an issue as it was during the Civil War, and the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation played a role with accomplishing this. However, it does still happen, and even if it doesnt as much in America, it happens all over the world 50 times more than during the Civil War era. America cannot turn a blind eye to this situation and be ignorant in thinking it doesnt happen anymore just because it is illegal. The issue of slavery should be taken much more seriously than it is, and should be addressed with the same zeal and passion as it was in the 1800s.

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An Analysis of the Emancipation Proclamation Signed by Abraham Lincoln. (2023, Jan 08). Retrieved from

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