The Gettysburg Address as an American Tipping Point

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 315
  • Published : February 17, 2011
Open Document
Text Preview
Emancipation Proclamation as a Tipping Point
"Without slavery, the rebellion could never have existed. Without slavery, it could not continue” (Lincoln). The Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 marked the most decisive points of the Civil War, and of American history as a whole. With the stroke of his pen, Lincoln expanded the powers of the president, redefined the Unions goals in the civil war, and fortified the Republicans moral base and prominence for years to come, while rekindling morale for the Union soldiers. Thirteen years prior, the controversial Fugitive-Slave law was passed as part of the Compromise of 1850. This allowed for slave owners to capture runaway slaves in free northern states, forbidding them to “testify in their own behalf, and they were denied a jury trial” (Kennedy). However during the civil war, Lincoln ordered his generals to not return fugitive slaves to their masters. Furthermore, he and Congress ordered all slaves in the DC area emancipated and several months later outlawed slavery in all US territories. All of these acts went directly against the Dread Scott Case ruling which labeled slaves as property, thus making the Federal government powerless to legislate against it. Lincoln’s actions during this period created and reinforced the precedent of forfeiting more power to the government, specifically the executive branch, during wartime. The president further displayed his power with the Emancipation Proclamation. At the onset of the Civil War, the primary goal of the Union was to defeat the Confederacy and reclaim the land. Making his priorities clear to the citizens of the US, President Lincoln declared, “"If I could save the Union without freeing any slaves, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it” (Lincoln). Although by no means pro-slavery, Lincoln believed that it would be possible to democratically and peacefully end slavery through compromise once the Union had been restored. However as...
tracking img