Essay about Abraham Lincoln and Slavery during the Civil War

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Abraham Lincoln once said, “I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me” (“Letter to Albert G. Hodges” 281 as qtd. in R.J. Norton 1). In accordance with his quote, when President Lincoln issued the unprecedented Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, Lincoln freed slaves in the Southern states, but he and his actions were being controlled by Civil War. The Civil War was fought between 1861 and 1865 between the Northern states, or the Union, and the Southern states, or the Confederacy. On September 22, 1862, in the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln put forth a Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation (Tackach 45). The document stated that after January 1, 1863, slaves …show more content…
The Emancipation Proclamation itself answers the question, stating that Lincoln was freeing the Southerners’ slaves, “upon military necessity” (“The Emancipation Proclamation” as qtd. in Klingaman 232). Lincoln freed Southern slaves, “as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing… rebellion” (“The Emancipation Proclamation” as qtd. in Klingaman 231). President Lincoln took advantage of his position as Commander-in-Chief of the United States, as well as his ability to act without Congress’ consent, and issued the Emancipation Proclamation for military reasons (Heinrichs 15). Lincoln knew that the proclamation would prove to be a useful tool of defense during the fierce Civil War. It can only be concluded that Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation for somewhat selfish reasons, as to increase the North’s chances of victory in the Civil War.
By issuing a document that freed slaves, the North could undoubtedly gain foreign allies, and at the same time deprive the South of their foreign support. Great Britain was supportive of the South’s secession from the Union because Britain relied on the South’s cotton (Tackach 43). Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts claimed to Lincoln that since Great Britain was anti-slavery, if Lincoln would change the Civil War’s main focus to slavery, the abolitionist North would gain Britain’s support (Tackach 43). By issuing the Emancipation
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