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Published: 09-10-2019

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Lincoln’s Emancipation: Pros and Cons

Lincoln’s stance on emancipation and slavery have been clear. As Divine makes identified in the text, “Lincoln had lengthy believed slavery was an unjust institution that ought to be tolerated only to the extent that the Constitution and the tradition of sectional compromise needed.” (Divine, et al., 340) Lincoln’s commitment to that excellent, also, is clear: “Lincoln was also efficient due to the fact he identified wholeheartedly with the northern result in and could inspire other people to make sacrifices for it.” (Divine, et al., 342) The pros and cons of emancipation for Lincoln personally, however, are less clear.

The emancipation’s major drawback at the time for an individual like Lincoln who personally supported it was that it did not apply to slave states within the Union and as a result freed no slaves at the time. However, as Divine states, “…it did commit the Union to the abolition of slavery as a war aim. It also accelerated the breakdown of slavery as a labor program, a approach that was already nicely below way by 1863.” (Divine, et al., 355) Vitally, even so, the emancipation did let ultimately freed African-Americans to serve in the Civil War for the Union, and, as Divine makes clear, “Without them it is doubtful that the Union could have been preserved.” (Divine, et al., 355-356) Effectively, the Emancipation Proclamation not only acted as a roadmap by which the institution of slavery would decisively be ended, it also surely preserved the Union from disintegrating from southern secessionist forces.

As an extra, exciting footnote, the emancipation proclamation at the time did not serve the objective of a momentous, moral statement of the time so significantly as it served as a tactical (if brilliant a single) measure on President Lincoln’s component to rally the Northern result in and weaken the South’s. Divine tends to make this clear, stating “The language and tone of the document—one historian described it as obtaining ‘all the moral grandeur of a bill of lading’—made it clear that blacks have been becoming freed for reasons of state and not out of humanitarian conviction.” (Divine, et al., 355)

Regardless of the reality that that “humanitarian conviction” would come (much) later, and in spite of the proclamation initially obtaining been carried out for military and tactical motives, it served as an critical jumping-off point for the ending of arguably the worst institution in American history, crushing when and for all the ultraconservative south’s ugly ambition to preserve it even as the union splintered about them.
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