The Emancipation Proclamation And Its Consequences

1688 Words Dec 10th, 2015 7 Pages
The Emancipation Proclamation And Its Consequences

During his election campaign and throughout the early years of the Civil War, Lincoln vehemently denied the rumour that he would mount an attack on slavery. At the outbreak of fighting, he pledged to 'restore the Union, but accept slavery where it existed ', with Congress supporting his position via the Crittendon-Johnson Resolutions. However, during 1862 Lincoln was persuaded for a number of reasons that Negro emancipation as a war measure was both essential and sound. Public opinion seemed to be going that way, Negro slaves were helping the Southern war effort, and a string of defeats had left Northern morale low. A new moral boost to the cause might give weary Union soldiers added impetus in the fight. Furthermore, if the Union fought against slavery, Britain and France could not help the other side, since their 'peculiar institution ' was largely abhorred in both European nations. Having eased the American public into the idea, through speeches that hinted at emancipation, Lincoln finally signed the Proclamation on January 1st 1863, releasing all slaves behind rebel lines. Critics argued that the proclamation went little further than the Second Confiscation Act and it conveniently failed to release prisoners behind Union lines. Nevertheless, Henry Adams summed up public reaction to the Proclamation as an 'almost convulsive reaction in our favour '.

During 1862, the abolition movement enjoyed previously…
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