Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation Essay

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On January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation was delivered by Abraham Lincoln. This bold and progressive move by the President declared that "all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free" (The Library of Congress, 2014). While Lincoln now harbors the fame for ending slavery, his proclamation initially only ended slavery in those states that attempted to separate from the union. The proclamation authorized the recruitment of former slaves into the Union Armies and promoted the eventual creation of a Union without slavery. It was this strategic use of the legal system that allowed …show more content…
Skills that are acquired through having a traditional paying job such as budgeting, saving, shopping were not developed nor provided while enslaved. The Masters also never taught the slaves how to care for themselves and without money or education, they also now faced major health concerns.
Poorly clothed, homeless and malnourished, the newly freed slaves were exposed to many diseases. Yellow fever, dysentery and other diseases killed off approximatley1 million former slaves. That is a staggering number as it does not take in account the number of slaves that were lynched, beaten or worked to death by former slave owners or by Klansmen. Additionally, this number does not consider the amount of runaways that fought and died for the Union armies.
Many runaway slaves perusing freedom enlisted in the Union army to protect themselves and their families, under the assumption they would eventually gain their freedom. “Historians of the Civil War have long acknowledged that two-thirds of all military casualties came from disease rather than heroic battle” (Schuessler, 2012), thus many of these runaways never received true emancipation. For those that did survive, they were living in horrible conditions that multiplied the aforementioned conditions for these now ‘freed’ people.
At wars end, the Former slaves faced a huge health crisis as the smallpox epidemic spread through the South to freed slaves traveling to the