Emancipation Proclamation

Topics: Slavery in the United States, American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln Pages: 6 (2310 words) Published: October 5, 2011
The Emancipation Proclamation
The American Civil War and the ending of slavery through issuing the Emancipation Proclamation are the two crucial events of U.S. history. Perhaps the war would not have occurred if slavery did not exist because it is one of the main reasons that the southerners and northerners got into conflict. However, if there was no Civil War and Lincoln did not issue the Emancipation Proclamation declaring the freedom of all slaves in any state of the Confederate States of America, then slavery and liberation would not have taken the same course. Thus, the Emancipation Proclamation was a momentous event that many historians have been discussed its significance in U.S. history and that a lot of people now are still wondering whether or not freeing the slaves was the original intent of the president at that time. Prior to the Civil War, the existence of slavery in some parts of country had always been an unsolved complicated issue of the United States of America. Since the very first days when American leaders gathered to revise the Articles of Confederation at the Philadelphia Convention of 1787, the slave population in the South was already one of the discussing topics because the Southern and Northern State could not reach agreement on the issue of popular representation in the House. The delegates of the convention eventually agreed to the Three-Fifths Compromise, which allowed the Southern States to count three-fifths of all non-free people toward population counts and allocations. Indeed, American leaders knew that the institution of slavery was going to be a problem right at that moment but they were afraid that the convention would be dissolved if they ever proposed things such as abolishing slavery. Therefore, they have accepted some measures that helped preserve the institution well into the nineteenth century and keep it from dividing the nation. Among these was the Fugitive Slave Act passed by Congress in 1793 that required the fugitive slaves to be returned to their owners. Congress also agreed not to interfere with the transatlantic slave trade until 1808 (twenty years after the Constitution’s ratification). However, the most significant among them all perhaps was the fact that he Constitution gave the federal government no explicit power to abolish or regulate slavery in the states, which implied that only state lawmakers or slaveholders themselves could, therefore, free slaves. Slavery would not last that long in history as it did and the Southern States would not have reacted so strongly if the economic interest of an influential class of whites did not attach with this form of human exploitation. Forced labor was considered essential to the South’s plantation economy. In the antebellum period, plantation agriculture expended rapidly and enormously that those large planters who wanted to raise staple crops on large scale could only rely on the unfree blacks as main labor force. The concept of “master race” was also established at that time since it was obvious that most of blacks were slaves and all whites were free. Even in the northern states during the Civil War, the majority of white population did not accept blacks as equal to them in any ways. Blacks, free or unfree, received great discrimination both in the North and the South and did not have any basic rights that a person should have. Even though the majority of whites in the South are small slaveholders and yeoman, thus they did not benefit directly from the peculiar institution, they tolerated slavery and were fiercely opposed to abolitionism in any form. In their point of view, abolition would threaten their liberty and independence because the slaves made them feel they were free and equal members of a superior race. Moreover, they were anxious that once all blacks become free men, there would be a huge number of people that they had to compete with for land and job. Slavery was a continuous issue in the politics of the...
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