The Importance of the Emancipation Proclamation The Emancipation Proclamation was delivered by Abraham Lincoln at the start of the third year of the Civil War. The purpose of the Civil War was to bring back into the Union those states that had decided to withdraw as a result of disagreement about slavery. As defined by the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, all states had entered into a contract with each other that could not be violated. That contract mandated that the signers and their states agreed to remain as a Union.
The secession of the Southern states violated this contract and therefore the Federal government stepped in to ensure an unbroken Union. The Civil War was focused on keeping the states together – not on eliminating slavery, at least at first. Lincoln’s Strategy By the end of the second year of the war, President Lincoln determined that he needed to change his strategy in order to win the war. The prime element that motivated the secession of the South was the issue of slavery.
By changing the focus of the war to a war designed to end slavery, instead of just a war to keep the union together, Lincoln was able to garner more popular support for the war. His Emancipation Proclamation did not free any slaves in the South, but it did begin the first steps to slaves attaining that freedom. It proclaimed that all men were entitled to their freedom and that when the Union army liberated the states from the rule of the Confederacy, slaves in those states would be free.
The Effect of the Emancipation Proclamation Lincoln could not enforce his promises at the time and wouldn’t be able to unless the North experienced military success in battle. This meant the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t affect the status of slaves. Blacks that lived in the North already were free men before the Proclamation, as those states had outlawed slavery before, and slaves in the South couldn’t be freed until the North won the war. Still, the proclamation did pave the way to remove slavery from our country.
The proclamation was intended to act as an idea as to act as a war device. It was also partially intended to place the entire world on notification that the United States would not support slavery and that the Union sided with the oppressed. This served the purpose of keeping other countries from entering the war on the side of the Confederates. The proclamation also opened the door for the admission of blacks into the armed services. They were allowed to fight against the oppression that they had suffered under for so long.
By the end of the war, over 200,000 men had served in the Union Army or Navy. Finally, although the promises could not be acted upon at that stage of the war, they were made a promise to free the slaves when their home states were defeated. There was no action that could be taken at that time but as the war continued and states and lands came under Union control, Lincoln kept his promise and the words came true because the slaves were set free. Longterm Effects of the Proclamation
Lincoln fully realized that the Proclamation was only a first step towards the ultimate goal of getting rid of slavery. To take any further steps, the Union army had to get a victory. Following the victory, Lincoln encouraged the abolition of slavery to be included on the platform of the Republican Party. While Lincoln’s Proclamation did not immediately accomplish the outlawing of slavery in all states, he made a Constitutional amendment against slavery a major point of his reelection ampaign in 1964. Lincoln realized that at the end of the war, there would be some states left where slavery was allowed and the only way around this fact was to get an amendment passed through Congress. Following his election to a second term as President, Congress passed the thirteenth amendment to the Constitution that abolished slavery in all the states controlled by the Union. Lincoln kept his promise. It is important because it set the stage for equality and freedom.