Why President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation and what it meant.

Essay by Xoinnocent831University, Bachelor's July 2003

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During his election campaign and throughout the early years of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln denied the rumor that he would make an attack on the issue of slavery. At the outbreak of Civil War fighting, he pledged to 'restore the Union, but accept slavery where it existed. Over time however, Lincoln changed his views on the issue and finally issued the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862 after seeing emancipation as a war measure that was both essential and sound. In reality, the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation didn't change much about the slavery issue but it did change the conflict itself. The real change came when Lincoln signed it on January 1, 1863.

The most important reasons for Abraham Lincoln's decision to issue the Emancipation Proclamation did not involve his abolitionist opinion. Instead, the timing and his purposes were purely political. He issued the proclamation shortly after the Union had victory in the battle of Antietam.

He had wanted to do this for a while, but decided not to as long as the Union was losing the War. He hoped that this recent success of the Union would strengthen the position with the North in the eyes of other political leaders. He saw the victory in this battle as "an indication of Divine Will." He hoped that because of the recent triumph at Antietam the South would be more willing to return to the Union. Furthermore, Lincoln needed to pacify the growing power of the abolitionists who saw the Civil War as a way to free the slaves. Since the beginning of the war, many Republicans tried to convince the others in their party that freeing the slaves should be the goal of the Union in the war. They argued this on the basis that the crops...