Abraham Lincoln and his Emancipation Proclamation

Slavery was brought to the United States in the year 1619. When twenty African slaves boarded a Dutch ship, sailed across the Atlantic and eventually made landfall in Jamestown Virginia. Despite the resources slavery brought to America in the 1620s, when technology such as the cotton gin was created Americans started becoming entitled, and slavery became an issue. By the year 1804, the north had abolished slavery, but the south was still practicing it religiously. This was dividing the north and south into separate unions and tearing our nation apart. By the year 1861, our nation was at war within our walls and America was in deep turmoil, something had to be done. Abraham Lincoln and the Republicans wanted to see change. This paper will demonstrate Abraham Lincoln’s decisions to propose the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. Ending the war between the North and the South, and saving the unity and liberty of the United States of America.

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From the beginning of his administration, abolitionist and radical republicans pressured Lincoln to issue a document that would release the slaves from the south, and make them free men. Although President Lincoln personally regarded slavery with disgust, he felt confined by the authority he had in his presidency to challenge slavery only in the context necessary to war. (My Whole Soul is in It) However, the nation needed a bargain, they needed someone to stop the feuding and unite the nation once and for all. The debate on what to do about slavery had troubled Washington D.C for months on end, creating fiery arguments and heated conversations among legislatures. By “March, Lincoln had asked the legislature to pass a joint resolution providing federal aid to any state willing to adopt a plan for the gradual abolition of slavery” (My Whole Soul is in It). This notion did not go anywhere, and many of the Republicans in Congress made their own plans to abolish slavery. By the time April rolled around congress had passed a bill for the emancipation of the slaves. Lincoln approved this bill “for he had never doubted the constitutional authority of Congress to abolish slavery” (My Whole Soul is in it). Shortly after Lincoln gave his approval, but slavery of the Sothern states had to be addressed which made the Emancipation process more difficult. Conversations got heated and eventually, it got so intense “that personal and even official relationships among members were ruptured, leading to “a prolonged discontinuance of Cabinet meetings” (My Whole Soul is in it). In 1862, all of the feuding would soon come to an end. Abraham Lincoln would make the most memorable and historic decision of the civil war.

In January of the year 1849, Lincoln proposed the first bill to abolish slavery in Washington D.C. The bill was created by the consent for free whites in the District of Columbia to abolish slavery in said district. This bill consisted of eight sections that discussed the emancipation and freedom of slaves laboring in Washington D.C. Section one stated the following about slavery within Washington D. C’s border, “no person not now within the District of Columbia, nor now owned by any person or persons now resident within it, nor hereafter born within it, shall ever be held in slavery within said District” (1833-1916: Abraham Lincoln, [January 1849] (A Bill to Abolish Slavery in the District of Columbia)) This bill provided Congress with an insight into how the final emancipation proclamation could be written and helped them understand how the process would work. The bill included a conversation on children born into slavery. Stating children born to slave women after January 1, 1850, shall be free. Other sections included the requirements of how a slave can become a free man in relation to ownership of the slave. Including how a previously owned slave can become free if the owner is willing to trade his slave for money to the government. (1833-1916: Abraham Lincoln, [January 1849] (A Bill to Abolish Slavery in the District of Columbia))

A few years later while the north and the south were still dueling, Abraham Lincoln proposed a Draft of the Emancipation Proclamation for the entire United States. On March 6, 1862, Lincoln made a proposal for a joint revolution which was favorited by Congress as well as the north but was still being ignored in the south. The main purpose was to propose that the “United States ought to co-operate with any State which may adopt gradual abolishment of slavery, giving to such state pecuniary aid” (1833-1916: Abraham Lincoln to Congress, ([February-March 1862] (Draft of Message to Congress)) Lincoln’s point of view on the emancipation on the slaves was to do it gradually. If it was first initiated in the north, slowly but eventually the south would follow. Lincoln wanted to make the “offer equal to all”, both the north and the south. The way in which the slaves would be free began to interest the south because money began to get involved in the conflict. The “war would purchase, at fair valuation, all the slaves in any named State” ([February-March 1862] (Draft of Message to Congress)). Slowly, and step by step America was drawing near to being united again as a free country.

Finally, on Thursday, January 01, 1863 Abraham Lincoln had finished his final draft of the emancipation proclamation. Stating that “on the first day of January” in the year 1863, “all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, , shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free”(1833-1916: Abraham Lincoln, Thursday, January 01, 1863 (Final Emancipation Proclamation–Final Draft) ) However the proclamation did not immediately end slavery for those states in rebellion, but rather showed Americans that the war was now being officially fought to end slavery. Abraham Lincoln can be thanked for helping draw the civil war to an end with the proclamation.

Two years after the final draft of the emancipation proclamation, in 1865 Slavery was officially abolished through the Thirteenth Amendment. Abraham Lincoln and his emancipation proclamation helped focus American on ending the civil war and bringing a stop to slavery in the United States. Without Lincoln America’s civil war would have been drawn out even longer and the nation would remain divided.

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Abraham Lincoln and his emancipation proclamation. (2019, Jul 12). Retrieved January 29, 2023 , from

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