The Emancipation Proclamation Essay

The Emancipation Proclamation was introduced in 1863. The proclamation had many short-term effects in terms of how it affected the lives of Americans these effects can be broken down into the civil war, African Americans, the confederate states and people’s perception of Abraham Lincoln. However the effects of the emancipation proclamation can be regarded as insignificant in terms of the scale of the effect. The emancipation proclamation changed the civil war drastically.

It gave the union a more moral position in the civil war and also gave them the upper hand in terms of military as it allowed black people to join the union army, which would of increased the amount of soldier they had. It improved foreign relations to the extent that Britain and France could not help the Confederacy as Britain had abolished slavery in 1833 and France in 1818, this would of helped the union get more powerful as the two super powers at the time could not help the confederate states.This can therefore be seen as a great tactical move from Abraham Lincoln to minimise opposition to the union also helped to secure allies and therefore secure a victory in the war. For this reason the Emancipation Proclamation can be seen as having short-term significance in terms of if it affected the civil war. The emancipation proclamation can also be argued as being un-significant enough to of won the union the war. It is estimated that over 20,000 slaves were freed immediately after the Emancipation Proclamation this therefore suggests that the short-term effect was insignificant as it freed very few slaves.Many slaves tried to escape from the south to the union – the south however hunted down runaway slaves and put them back into servitude or even kill them, “ You will oblige my by sending instructions in reference to the manner of disposing of negroes” (Okolona Miss Jany 8th 1863) this would furthermore suggest that the emancipation proclamation had little significance in terms of the confederate states and how they lived their lives and treated black Americans.

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In summary it is rather apparent that the union were much better off with the emancipation proclamation due to black Americans joining the union army to fight the south and consequently the confederate states suffered a loss in several directions – mainly economy and manpower The Emancipation Proclamation had a great effect on the south’s economy as it was mainly agricultural and they needed the slaves in order to keep the economy going, however when Abraham Lincoln introduced the proclamation it drastically effected the south’s economy as they had lost a great proportion of their manpower.The Emancipation Proclamation also proved costly, as the south could not rely on slaves to produce cotton to trade to other countries and weapons to fight the union. “The use of the colored troops constitutes the heaviest blow yet dealt to the rebellion” Abraham Lincoln’s letter to James C. Conking (26th August, 1863) this quote agrees with the idea that the Emancipation Proclamation greatly damaged the south. This therefore would suggest that the Emancipation Proclamation had short-term significance in terms of how it changed the confederate states.The emancipation proclamation was a significant document to America however it could be argued that it was more important to the confederate states in terms of the effect that it had on them. Although the emancipation proclamation changed their ways of living forever it is however unclear how much significance it had in the short-term.

The south was very much dependant on agriculture in fact they thought that they were going to win the war as they were America’s main producer of cotton – this lead them to believe their economy would boost. This all changed when Abraham Lincoln introduced the emancipation proclamation in 1863.This document freed slaves within the confederate states therefore it meant that the south could not use slaves to produce goods for them anymore and therefore their produce of cotton went down and that meant that they were getting less money as also they were unable to trade with Britain and France because of the Emancipation Proclamation. However as the short-term effect of the emancipation proclamation struggled to free many slaves in the short-term the economy of the confederate states did not take a heavy toll until the 13th Amendment was introduced in 1865 when slavery got abolished.Slavery had now been abolished by the constitution of America and therefore it showed the power of the union government and also since it was an amendment the south had to follow it. Although this was after the war it can be argued that this was the most destructive out of the two documents to the confederacy.

Consequently this suggests that the Emancipation Proclamation had short-term significance in terms of it leading to greater things like the 13th Amendment.However in summary in terms of if it affected the confederate states directly in the short-term the Emancipation Proclamation can be regarded as rather insignificant due to its lack of immediate effect. The emancipation proclamation had some short-term significance on black Americans as it allowed black Americans to join the union army and navy. This was done so that the union could have more manpower and therefore win the war and henceforth sustain the proclamation.

However it was not easy, many slaves who escaped or were freed by union armies wanted to join the army or the navy were incapable of doing so.Many restraints faced black Americans for example white opposition. The white soldiers feared that black people were to naive to fight in the war.

This meant many were not able to actually fight in battles. Abraham Lincoln had to allow this to happen, as he could not afford a revolt in the union army, this however meant he was contradicting himself, as he was not following through with the emancipation proclamation, as black Americans are still restricted and not free. This therefore shows that there was not much short-term significance of the emancipation proclamation on black Americans in the army.On the other hand it can also be argued that the emancipation proclamation was very significant in the short-term for black Americans in the army as it was a big stepping-stone. Frederick Douglas made a very inspirational speech that lead African Americans to believe that if they do fight in the civil war they would gain citizenship. Also in the army black Americans were appointed officers this is a great deal for black Americans to move up so quickly in the army ranks – there were 7,122 black officers in the civil war.Although black people were not appointed anything higher than this it was still seen as a very significant change as before the Emancipation Proclamation they were not even allowed in the army.

This would therefore suggest that the emancipation proclamation did have a positive short-term effect in the army regarding the fact that they were now able to join the army and fight against the Confederacy. Furthermore black Americans did not have an easy life when they got into the army.Only 10% of the union army comprised of black Americans and out of those 20% died. This is due to many things, one of which being the conditions that black Americans had to face in the army. Black soldiers were refused equal pay and even in some regiments they would not get any pay at all, until the June 15 1864 when congress ruled that equal pay would be granted for all black soldiers. This was a very significant act that followed the emancipation proclamation in order to further black people’s civil rights.

However the discrimination would not stop here, they would receive inferior weapons, inferior healthcare, which would lead to illnesses and even deaths – further enhancing the high mortality rate further suggesting that the Emancipation Proclamation had little short-term significance. In summary it is clear that many significant changes happened after the emancipation proclamation in the army that effect black Americans, for example being appointed officer.However it is still clear that the short-term effect was rather insignificant as many things stayed pretty much the same. They were still treated badly and in the army they were offered inferior treatment and weapons that being the case it suggests that they were still seen as being inferior. Abraham Lincoln introduced the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. Many people would have seen this as a brilliant tactical move as at this time the union was winning the war and therefore had much support.By introducing the proclamation now he would not have much opposition as the south created the confederate states and it would have been the final blow to end the war and beat the Confederacy.

“ My paramount object in this struggle is to save the union”, President Abraham Lincoln, letter to Horace Greeley (22nd August 1862) this quote hugely suggests that Abraham Lincoln only introduced the proclamation as a tactic to win the war and therefore not really interested in saving African Americans, furthermore suggesting that Abraham Lincoln can be viewed as a deceive rather than the great emancipator.The fact that he has sent his letter to Horace Greely the owner of the most influential newspaper at that time suggests that his only real objective in the war is to save the union. This would furthermore suggest that Abraham Lincoln was trying to save the union and not interested in abolishment of slavery.This suggests that the Emancipation Proclamation was significant tin the short-term in helping Abraham Lincoln win the war due to the increased support “If I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could do it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that” Abraham Lincoln, letter to Horace Greely (22nd August, 1862) this quote further suggests that the civil war was a war about saving the union rather then abolishing slavery. However Abraham Lincoln can be seen as a great emancipator that freed all the slaves and that the war was a war of abolishment. These important successes could not have been achieved when it was but for the aid of black soldiers”, Abraham Lincoln, letter to James C. Conking (26th August, 1863) this quote is very ambiguous as suggests that the emancipation proclamation was introduced as a war effort due to the fact that it helped the union win important victories however Abraham Lincoln can be viewed as the great emancipator as it suggests that the war was a war of abolishment which is why he introduced the Emancipation Proclamation to give black people the chance to fight for their freedom.

Considering these factors it is rather hard to say that Abraham Lincoln wanted to win the war to save slaves however it is also hard to say that he was a great deceiver and did not want abolishment of slavery. Overall the quotes suggest that he was more interested in winning the war to save the union rather than abolishing slavery. In conclusion the emancipation proclamation had many short-term significance in considering African Americans, the union, foreign relations and the Confederacy.The effect was overall quite limited as it was a very slow process to begin with and many things actually stayed the same for example the view that black people were inferior to whites stayed the same after the Emancipation Proclamation. However there were short-term effects to suggest the Emancipation Proclamation was significant for example the effect that it had on foreign policy in terms of making Britain and France allies with the union. However in terms of the short-term significance it had on all the key areas the Emancipation Proclamation had little short-term significance as it proved to have little short-term effect.


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