The Emancipation Proclamation And The Abolition Of Slavery

Better Essays
On September 22, 1862, after the Union’s victory at Antietam, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, proclaiming that the slaves of the Confederacy were free. However, throughout his presidency and the beginning of the Civil War, Lincoln remained seemingly indifferent to freeing the slaves. His main focus was to maintain the Union and win the war. Thus, the Emancipation Proclamation acted more as a political maneuver by Lincoln to make the abolition of slavery a war aim for the Union, forcing Britain and France, who had long ago abolished slavery, to pledge their allegiance to the Union and prevent these European superpowers from aiding the Confederacy.
The Emancipation Proclamation is centered on the concept of freeing the slaves; however, the proclamation did not actually free any slaves but had a greater goal of preserving the Union through European alliance. The Emancipation Proclamation did not free slaves in loyal slave states or Union controlled Confederate lands, but instead freed the slaves where the federal government had no real power. At his inauguration, Lincoln even stated that he has “no lawful right” to “interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it [already] exists.”1 Furthermore, Lincoln reveals, in a letter to Horace Greeley, that slavery is not even a primary focus of his political agenda when he states “my paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and it is not either to save or destroy slavery.”2 This letter also
Get Access