Drafted nearly a century ago, the Emancipation Proclamation is one of the most revolutionary documents in United States history. During the 19th century, the United States was one of the few countries in the world still involved in the institution of slavery. Because this document began the movement to banish slavery, it became an embodiment of the anti-slavery faction. The Emancipation Proclamation also gave the North advantages over the South, one mainly being African American soldiers fighting along side the Union Army. The significance of this document extends beyond simply liberating slaves, but to also illustrate that all people of different races, sexes, and religions are created equal.
Human slavery was the focus of political conflict in the United States from the 1830's to the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861. Abraham Lincoln, the Republican candidate for the presidency in 1860, personally abhorred slavery and pledged to prevent it from spreading to western territories.
At the same time, he believed that the Constitution did not allow the federal government to prohibit slavery in states where it already existed due to the Dred Scott decision.
The election of Lincoln led to the secession of eleven slave-holding states and the beginning of the Civil War. These seceded states feared that Lincoln would restrict their right to do as they chose about the question of slavery, so they went about creating the Confederate South. However, four slave-holding states remained in the Union; Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, and Delaware.
During the first part of the war, abolitionists and some military leaders urged Lincoln to issue a proclamation freeing the slaves. They argued that such a policy would benefit the North because slaves were contributing greatly to the Confederate war effort. By doing most of the South's farming and factory work, slaves made whites...