The Emancipation Proclamation - A Shift in Focus and Purpose - Seeker's Thoughts

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The Emancipation Proclamation - A Shift in Focus and Purpose

The Proclamation may have had limited effects, and specifically excluded areas already under Union control in the Confederate states; nevertheless, its revolutionary effects transformed the war to preserve the Union into one against slavery.

It was a shift in focus

The Emancipation Proclamation marked an important juncture in United States history and inspired civil rights activism that resulted in passage of the 13th Amendment, effectively outlawing chattel slavery across the nation. It marked a turning point that marked an historic shift away from mere Union preservation to one over slavery itself. It marked a turning point and signaled change for future generations - eventually leading to chattel slavery's abolishment under its 13th Amendment to the Constitution and ending chattel slavery altogether.

At the outset of the Civil War, slavery was not technically illegal in most Confederate states; nonetheless many people, including members of Congress, believed it would serve the Union better to end it as quickly as possible. Slavery had deep political, economic, and social roots in many communities that divided people together; eliminating it would promote greater unity within America.

Abraham Lincoln was dedicated to maintaining the Union and saw slavery as a major threat to this goal. Because allowing slave-holding states to secede would threaten Union control over Western territories and cause further division within the nation, Lincoln decided that any attempt at peaceful secession of these Southern states without conflict must take place without exception or it could result in civil war and eventually lead to its complete break-up.

Due to this goal, he took a bold step toward expanding the war's goals by issuing the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. This order not only officially freed all slaves in 10 states still rebelling but also permitted many of them to join Union armies as soldiers, greatly expanding manpower levels within Union ranks; however, slavery remained intact within border states and in other regions across the United States.

It was an important shift that established slavery abolition as an explicit goal of Union war efforts. Abolitionists had been working toward this end for decades via various means; such as oral traditions like speeches and sermons to spread their belief that freedom is a natural right for all people.

As a result of the Emancipation Proclamation, Union armies saw massive increases in available manpower and revived morale, prompting Confederate States Army forces to recognize that war wasn't just about saving Union territory but abolishing slavery altogether.

It was a shift in purpose

The Emancipation Proclamation marked an unprecedented step by Abraham Lincoln and his advisors to shift the focus of the Civil War from protecting Union to ending slavery. Lincoln knew it would alter the course of conflict and give Northern troops a boost, yet many held reservations about its timing; Secretary of State Seward believed a proclamation issued too early could misinterpreted by soldiers on both sides.

Lincoln despised slavery but placed more importance on unifying the states than breaking them apart. He wanted the South to rejoin, hoping that doing so would bring an immediate end to the Civil War; yet ethically and religiously bound to continue fighting for their freedom.

He argued that slavery was unconscionable and ran counter to the spirit of the Constitution, denigrating human life while diminishing people as individuals - it violated Thomas Jefferson's principles when writing the Declaration of Independence.

As soon as the Emancipation Proclamation was introduced, both sides expressed strong resistance. Southerners opposed any intervention from the federal government into their economies or state legislatures and worried that slaves couldn't survive without their masters' control. The North reacted similarly and saw resistance coming from both areas.

While the proclamation was limited in scope and did not directly free all slaves in America, its impact was significant. Abolition became the focus of war efforts to preserve Union rather than simply preserve slavery within one nation's borders; foreign powers also lost interest in supporting Confederacy as they realized what its true goal was.

One of the greatest impacts of the Emancipation Proclamation was opening the door for African Americans to join Union forces en masse, contributing enormously to its success and contributing to strengthening its army.

It was a shift in military strategy

The Emancipation Proclamation changed the war into an antislavery crusade. Not only was this transformation beneficial to the United States, but it also convinced Britain and France not to recognize official diplomatic relations between Britain and France and Confederacy; until that point Confederates were counting on European intervention to stop Union war efforts.

Initial goals in the Civil War had been to prevent secession of Southern states and preserve the Union; while slavery had been an element in driving it forward. Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation was an exceptional military move that profoundly altered war goals; giving hope and inspiration to Black people living enslaved in the South while making clear that Union was fighting not just to protect its borders but to end slavery as well.

By summer 1862, it had become evident that for the Union to win this war they must declare emancipation; but Lincoln and Secretary of State Seward had doubts. Seward recommended waiting until a military victory had occurred before making such a bold step as that might seem less desperate.

Lincoln met with General George McClellan to determine how best he could implement a policy of emancipation without jeopardizing Union war effort. McClellan, being a conservative politician, worried that any proclamation of freedom for slaves would compromise public support for the war while potentially alienating some of his supporters.

Lincoln decided to proceed with the Emancipation Proclamation regardless of these reservations, and sent it around his cabinet members for approval. Although limited in scope, its final version met legal requirements and avoided being declared null and void in court proceedings; specifically excluding Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky and Missouri and not freeing slaves who were already under Union control.

It was a shift in morale

As 1862 dawned, it had already been over a year of fighting and it had become evident that it would be long and bloody. Although Union forces had achieved some victories against rebelling southern states, most southern states remained in rebelling against Union control while slaves continued fleeing North in large numbers; this caused massive disruptions in South economies dependent on slave labor while also demoralizing many whites who saw themselves fighting alongside slaves against Union.

The Emancipation Proclamation marked a key turning point in the Civil War. By framing it as a crusade against slavery rather than just fighting to preserve the Union, the struggle seemed more just and reasonable to both North and South alike - as well as discouraging foreign intervention in its war effort.

Prior to Lincoln's proclamation, many Northerners had been unwilling to free enslaved people. He and his advisors were concerned that freeing slaves might appear like an extreme measure and damage morale in the Union army. One of Lincoln's advisers Edwin Stanton suggested waiting until victory on the battlefield had been secured before making his announcement; doing so would show that freedom for slaves was part of a legitimate war effort while simultaneously increasing morale among Northern populations.

Once the proclamation was announced, northern blacks erupted with joy. Churches and meeting halls filled up as thousands celebrated not just an announcement but rather a victory for freedom - the end of slavery would transform America into a true democracy.

Abolitionists were pleased with the proclamation, yet still remained concerned that it did not go far enough in liberating slaves in border states that supported the Union as well as those held captive within towns and cities. Still, this proclamation represented one step towards ending slavery completely with passage of the 13th Amendment that abolished all forms of slavery nationwide.

The Proclamation did not immediately free those enslaved, but made it illegal for slaves to remain in the South. Since this executive order could only be enforced where Union soldiers occupied, soldiers had to capture towns and farms to free slaves enslaved people - this proved challenging, often leading to them being mistreated by their former masters.

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