Abraham Lincoln Civil War and Emancipation

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I chose this event since this time in history was a turning point in America. Prior to President Abraham Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, slavery was a huge trade in the United States. But Abraham Lincoln's main goal was to unite both halves of the Union. Since the entire purpose of fighting the Civil War was to unite both sides of the Union, President Lincoln made statements in August of 1862 that if he did not have to end slavery in order to end the Civil War that he would not have. During that time, many people considered President Lincoln's statement to be disingenuous, given that Lincoln had long been a vocal opponent of slavery. As early as 1849, Abraham Lincoln believed that slaves should be emancipated, advocating a program in which they would be freed slowly over time. Early in his presidency Lincoln still believed that gradual emancipation was best way to go and he tried to win over legislators. In an attempt to gain support, he proposed that slaveowners be compensated for giving up their "property."

But he did not receive the support he anticipated. The Civil War resulted in many short term effects. The union came together and solidified under the leadership of President Abraham Lincoln. As a result of the North winning the war, this led to the creation and enaction of the Emancipation Proclamation that freed the slaves of the south that had succeeded from the union. This began creating equality and civil rights for all people during the movement. Although, the Emancipation Proclamation did not guarantee the rights of slaves to have the same privileges as the whites, it began the process of moving in that direction. It also led to the creation of allowing women to have the same rights as men. In September of 1862, after the Union's victory at Antietam, President Lincoln issued a preliminary notice stating that, unless the rebellious states returned to the Union by January 1st, he would grant freedom to slaves within the states. The notice also left room for a plan of compensated emancipation. None of the Confederate states took President Lincoln up on the offer, and therefore on January 1st he presented the Emancipation Proclamation.

The proclamation declared that, that all persons held as slaves within the rebellious states are, and henceforward shall be free. The Emancipation Proclamation did not free all slaves in the United States but rather it declared only those slaves living in states not under Union control. President Lincoln's Secretary of State, William Seward, stated, "We show our sympathy with slavery by emancipating slaves where we cannot reach them and holding them in bondage where we can set them free." Lincoln was fully aware of the irony, but he did not want to antagonize the slave states loyal to the Union by setting their slaves free. The proclamation also allowed black soldiers to fight for the Union where soldiers were desperately needed. This is what tied the war and slavery together.

There were many long term effects resulting from the end of the Civil War. Not only did it abolish slavery, it also was the first building blocks of rights for African Americans who were former slaves and started the industrialization movement. By ending slavery, this caused a problem for farmers and ranchers in the south. The farm owners no longer had slaves to work on their farms and had great difficulty finding labor to assist with daily tasks. Therefore, the farmers began to see a decline in farming and had to turn towards industrialization. Manufacturing industries and businesses were created and caused a population movement so that people could be closer to jobs and were able to find work. The North was actively growing their industries and towns, but the South struggled to flourish. The South had many cities which were damaged as a result of the war and were having to rebuild. The south also relied heavily on the agriculture industry but had difficulty sustaining the land after the war damaged the crops and the labor left after slaves were freed. The end of the civil war and the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation created multiple amendments to the US Constitution in the upcoming years which furthered the rights of African Americans. Overall, the Civil War impacted many people from your every day farmer to your daily business man to the newly freed slaves.

The results of the Civil War forever changed the shape of the United States as we know it today. The end of the Civil War and the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation not only brought freedom to the slaves, but also began years of civil rights movements which ultimately guaranteed that African Americans could become citizens of the United States and attain citizenship. Civil Rights movements in coming years also provided African Americans the right to vote and ended the segregation of whites and blacks. If the outcome was to end differently, I would think that the south would push to further expand slavery though the north. Slavery may have remained in effect for many years longer, but I do believe that it would have eventually ended. By delaying the end of slavery, the rest of history would also be delayed in terms of the civil rights movements.


  1. History. Lincoln signs Emancipation Proclamation. Last updated August 21, 2018. https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/lincoln-signs-emancipation-proclamation Library of Congress.
  2. Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress Accessed November 22, 2018. https://www.loc.gov/collections/abraham-lincoln-papers/articles-and-essays/abraham-lincoln-and-emancipation/ Smithsonian.
  3. How the Emancipation Proclamation came to be signed. Last updated January 2013. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/how-the-emancipation-proclamation-came-to-be-signed-165533991/
  4. Zocalo. What Lincoln was thinking when he freed the slaves. Last modified February 16, 2015. https://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2015/02/16/what-lincoln-was-thinking-when-he-freed-the-slaves/ideas/nexus/
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Abraham Lincoln Civil War and Emancipation. (2019, Jul 08). Retrieved May 20, 2024 , from

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