The Emancipation Proclamation Book Review Essay

660 Words Apr 13th, 2008 3 Pages
The Emancipation Proclamation. John Hope Franklin. Wheeling, Illinois: Harlan Davidson, 1963, 1965, 1995. 155 pp.

In the book The Emancipation Proclamation, the author John Hope Franklin, tells a story of the emancipation of slaves through the trials of then, President Abraham Lincoln. He leads us through the action before, during, and after the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation in an attempt to give us a greater understanding of the actions taken by President Lincoln.

In the years prior to 1862 and 1863, many people were calling on President Lincoln for the emancipation of the slaves. Many felt that slavery would be the evil that would bring the country down. But at that time Lincoln didn't think it wise to emancipate them
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Others doubted that it was even legal. But as Union victories fell into place a vast majority of people came to support the proclamation.

Actually, the proclamation freed no slaves. It applied only to Confederate territory, where federal officers could not enforce it. The proclamation did not affect slavery in the loyal Border States. Lincoln repeatedly urged those states to free their slaves, and to pay the owners for their loss. He promised financial help from the federal government for this purpose. The failure of the states to follow his advice was one of his great disappointments.

The Emancipation Proclamation did have a great long-range effect. It gave a new character to the war. It gave the North a new weapon in Negro soldiers. Also in the North, it gave a high moral purpose to the struggle and paved the way for the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution. This amendment, adopted in December 1865, ended slavery in all parts of the United States.
Overall I found the book to be well written and very informative. It gave an accurate account of the time during the Emancipation Proclamation. John Hope Franklin used his sources to paint a vivid picture of a time of great change. While many historians have dealt with the Emancipation Proclamation as a phase or an aspect of the Civil War, few have given more than little attention to the evolution of the document in the mind of Lincoln, the circumstances and conditions that led to its
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