Honest Abe As Abhorrent As Essay

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..that the rebellion, if crushed out tomorrow, would be renewed within a year if Slavery were left in full vigor (Greeley 1862).

If the North eventually won the war, and slavery was not abolished as an institution, war would be again inevitable. However, Lincoln's primary duty, as he saw it, was not to save or destroy slavery, regardless of his personal views, but to preserve the idea of the Union. Lincoln believed that it was unlawful for any State to succeed, it simply could not be done -- the Union was the Union, and his role was to bring the errant South back into the fold. Lincoln personally found slavery abhorrent, but his duty was not to destroy it, but to unite the North and South as one nation once again. If letting slavery exist helped united the country, Lincoln would let it be so, or vice versa. "What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union" (Lincoln 2004).

In the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln states, after January 1, 1863, "...all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States shall be then, ... forever free; and the executive government of the United States, ... will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom." This granted any slave, the choice of freedom in the North, and was designed to weaken the infrastructure of the South. The North would be perceived, too, as taking the moral high ground, battling the evils of slavery and upholding the rights of man. example, the north would now be perceived as the "good guy" battling the evils of slavery to the rest of the world. "...to proclaim emancipation would secure the sympathy of Europe and the whole civilized world," The proclamation would also "...send a thrill through the entire North, firing every patriotic heart, giving the people a glorious principle for which to suffer and to fight..." (Lincoln, The Emancipation Proclamation 2004).

And end to slavery would also inspire Northern troops, now believing they were fighting for the greater good and to relieve the heavy burden of conscience over the controversy with slavery. However, one of the most important advantages would be the new soldiers, laborers, and supporters for the Union. It would also weaken the South by taken away part of the economy. "...it (Proclamation) would withdraw slaves from the rebels, leaving them without laborers, and giving us (Union) both laborers and soldiers..." (Lincoln, Reply to Emancipation Memorial presented by Chicago Christians of All Denominations 1892). "More than a year of trial now shows no loss by it (Proclamation) in our foreign relations, none in our home popular sentiment, non-in our white military force...it shows a gain of quite a hundred and thirty thousand soldiers, seamen, and laborers..." (Lincoln, A Proclamation By the President of the United States 1862).

The Emancipation Proclamation was to weaken the South, preserve the Union, and invigorate the morality of the Northern Armies. Thus, the basic tenets of the platform of the abolition movement, albeit it from a legal and political viewpoint. This, Abraham Lincoln did effectively, and with this foreshadowed the l 1865 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery in the United Sates, and in 1866 the Congressional passing of the Civil Rights Act, granting citizenship and equal rights to black Americans (Salzberger, 286).


Greeley, H. "The Prayer of the Twenty Million." CivilWarHome.com. August 19, 1862. http://www.civilwarhome.com/lincolngreeley.htm (accessed August 2010).

Lincoln, A. "A Proclamation By the President of the United States." Civilwarhome.com. September 22, 1862. http://www.civilwarhome.com/emancipation.htm (accessed August 2010).

____. "Reply to Emancipation Memorial presented by Chicago Christians of All Denominations." Teachingamericanhistory.org. September 13, 1892. http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=1080 (accessed August 2010).

____. "The Dilemma of Slavery." In Reparations for Slavery - A Reader, by Salzberger., et.al., eds., 17-21. New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004.

____. "The Emancipation Proclamation." In Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery, by A. Gielzo, 24-29. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004.

"Slavery and the Making of…

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