Allen Guelzo and Vincent Harding: Essay Review
As a Republican President, Abraham Lincoln opposed slavery. He believed it was unnecessary to everyone-including Negros and Whites. However, with his stand on slavery, he held back by declaring that he had no reason to disrupt slavery where it existed. The constitution had protected states where citizens wanted slavery to exist. Lincoln knew he would not get enough support and that the four slave-holding states in the North would turn against him. As a result, the Civil War began in 1861 with more of a political purpose in keeping the union together rather than a battle for human freedom. Slaveholders could not turn to the Union’s side because slaves were valuable and played a vital role to…show more content…
Guelzo believed that the Proclamation was not as glamorous or quotable as other addresses were. He recognizes The Proclamation as not being profound enough. He states that the proclamation “lacked the memorable rhetoric of his most notable utterances” (353), and that because it was a legal document, the language kept those who were not lawyers, away from seeing it’s benefits. Guelzo explains how there are significant quotes on memorials and statues of Lincolns words from the Gettysburg Address, while there is nothing but a vague reference to the Emancipation Proclamation in Jules Guerin’s mural, Emancipation of a Race, and even that is hardly noticeable (352). At the very end of his essay, Guelzo states, “It may have had little more ‘moral grandeur’ than a ‘bill of lading’ but Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was still a bill that itemized the destinies of four millions of human beings, bound in the way of danger for the port of American freedom” (359). This means that although Lincoln’s words were so legalistic and tedious, the Proclamation needed it. The Emancipation Proclamation was one of the most significant things that Abraham Lincoln has done for the freedom of slaves.
Vincent Harding argues that Blacks were not freed because of the Emancipation Proclamation, but because they went and freed themselves. Harding goes on to say that the main reason Blacks began acting for themselves was because they saw the beginning of the Civil War a sign from God that