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Did the Emancipation Proclamation free all the slaves in the United States? Many people think it did, but the Emancipation Proclamation did not free all the slaves in the United States and here is why. The Emancipation Proclamation didn't actually free any slaves because it related only to areas under the control of the Confederacy. The South broke away from the North, and President Lincoln couldn't make slave owners living in the Confederate states of America obey the Emancipation Proclamation. After the Civil War ended and the South became part of the United States again, the South had to obey Lincoln. The Emancipation Proclamation didn't include slaves in the border states and in some southern areas under the North's control, such as Tennessee and parts of Virginia and Louisiana. Although no slaves were actually freed by the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, it did lead to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. The 13th Amendment became a law on December 18, 1865, and ended slavery in all parts of the United States.
Punishing the South
Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which led to the end of slavery, on January 1, 1863. He issued it because on September 22, 1862, he had warned that if the states of the Confederacy, or South, didn't return to the Union, or North, by January 1, 1863, he would declare their slaves "forever free." The South refused to return to the Union, so Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
Emancipation means to free from bondage, the condition of a slave. Proclamation means to announce officially and publicly, or declare. This means that the Emancipation Proclamation means to free from slavery and declare it publicly.
This all happened because the North went to war with the South mainly to reunite the nation, not to end slavery. This war is also known as the Civil War. The North went to war with the South because the 11 states of the Confederacy withdrew from the Union in 1860 and 1861. The main reason they withdrew from the Union is because they feared that Lincoln would take away their right to have black slaves.
During the first half of the war, abolitionists, people who wanted to end slavery, and Union military leaders encouraged Lincoln to create a proclamation freeing the slaves. They thought that such a policy would help the North because slaves were helping the Confederacy greatly. Slaves helped by doing their master's farming and factory work which made Whites available for the Confederate Army. Lincoln once said, "if slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong," so Lincoln agreed with the abolitionists' view of slavery. He was afraid of losing the votes of non-abolitionists, though, if he fought to end slavery.
Earlier in the war, Lincoln thought that if he freed the slaves he would divide the North from the South. He feared that the four slave-owning border states, which were Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri, would withdraw from the Union if he said yes to such a policy. In the Lincoln-Douglas presidential debates in 1858, Lincoln had said that he did not want to try to end slavery in places where it already existed. When he took office as president on March 4, 1861, he repeated this saying.
Freeing Slaves to Win the War
In July, 1862, the war was going badly for the North, so Congress passed a law freeing all Confederate slaves who came into the North's lines. This helped the North by allowing the former slaves to join the Union Army and help the North win the Civil War. Around that time, Lincoln decided to try to free the South's slaves because the North was losing the Civil War, but he waited until the Union had a military victory. The reason Lincoln did this was because Secretary of State William H. Seward feared that with recent Northern military defeats the proclamation might be looked on as a "last shriek on the retreat." People might think it was a last minute desperate measure because the Union was losing. Because of this, Lincoln put the proclamation aside to await a victory. On September 17, 1862 the wait was over. In the Battle of Antietam, or Sharpsburg, Union General George B. McClellan stopped Confederate General Robert E. Lee's attack on the North. Even though Antietam wasn't prearranged, it was good enough for Lincoln's purpose.
The Abolitionists were right that the Emancipation Proclamation would help the Union win the war. It helped the Union by reinforcing the North's war effort and weakening the South's. The South was hurt by the Emancipation Proclamation because it discouraged France and Britain from entering the war. Those two countries depended on the Confederacy, or South, to supply them with cotton, so the South hoped that they would fight on their side. Most French and British citizens were against slavery, though, so when the proclamation made the war a fight against slavery, France and Britain gave their support to the Union.
At the end of the war, over 500,000 slaves had escaped to freedom. Most of the slaves worked for the armed forces as laborers, people who wouldn't fight but instead cleaned or cooked. They also joined the Union Army or Navy. Approximately 200,000 black sailors and soldiers helped the North win the war.
The Emancipation Proclamation didn't free any slaves at the time it was issued. It was issued only because Lincoln told the South that if they didn't return to the Union by January 1, 1863 their slaves would be free forever. Lincoln didn't actually have the power to free the slaves in the South because it was not under his control. The Emancipation Proclamation wasn't issued just to help free the slaves, but to help the North win the war. Fortunately, this strategy worked and when the Civil War ended, the Emancipation Proclamation finally began to free slaves.
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