Lincoln: the Great Emancipator

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Until it was abolished in 1865, slavery thrived in the United States since the nation’s beginnings in the colony of Jamestown in 1607. In 1776, the founding fathers stated that “all men are created equal” when they declared independence and started a war that freed the 13 colonies from the oppressive rule of Great Britain. However, after “the land of the free” had been established, slavery had yet to be eliminated. After the war of 1812, sectionalism began to grow prevalent in America. The Industrial Revolution in the early to mid-1800s advanced the country technologically while further dividing it as the North became industrialized and the South became more agrarian and reliant on slave labor. Sectionalism was increased by westward…show more content…
This became important later in the war when other nations refused to recognize the Confederacy’s independence. When the time was right, Abraham Lincoln masterfully changed the ideology of the war to focus on slavery, and he used the slaves themselves as a powerful force in the war and on the home front. Lincoln did this through the First and Second Confiscation Acts, the Emancipation Proclamation, and his Second Inaugural Address. Early in the war, three slaves escaped to the Union Army, raising the question of what to do with fugitive slaves. Under the Fugitive Slave Act, they had to be returned to their owners in the Confederacy. However, Lincoln adopted an ingenious policy of taking slaves as “contraband of war,” treating them as property as the Confederacy did. Lincoln went on to sign the First Confiscation Act in August 1861, which emancipated slaves that escaped to Union lines. In July 1862, Lincoln signed the Second Confiscation Act, which essentially gave him the authority to emancipate the slaves in Confederate territory (on the grounds that they helped the war effort and were contraband). This legislation helped the Union Army greatly. Over 190,000 soldiers, sailors, and workers came to the Union Army from the Confederacy (McPherson, 193), and at the end of the war, African Americans made up 20 percent of
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