December 15th 2013
AP US History
Unit 7 Essay
African Americans and the Civil War
Slavery affected many of the political reasons that contributed to causing the Civil War in 1961. Most in the Northern states including President Lincoln were more concerned with preserving the Union rather than fighting for the freedom of all. On the other hand the South fought to preserve what they believed to be absolute state rights. However the overall goals of the war were altered significantly by the willingness of African Americans during war. This also later contributed to the new culture and politics that followed.
There was always a constant controversy with the issue of fugitive slaves throughout the time of the Civil War. Major Butler asked the question, “are they free?” and if so, “what do I do with them?” (Doc A). Many people ended up purchased slaves to work in the war as servants, cooks and soldiers. However, even though the Union only started allowing African Americans to fight in the war one month before it had ended, once they did so, the course of the war began to shift. At this point the North began to realize the dedication and heart the African Americans put into fighting for their freedom. After seeing this, the Union decided to make the abolition of slavery a primary goal of the Civil War (Doc B). By allowance of African Americans to fight in the war, the Civil War was changed from a battle of political disagreements and state power into a war of freedom and abolition of slavery (Doc D). This shift in the war was very apparent once the announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation was made. Although the Proclamation only freed slaves in areas of rebellion, I made a shift in purpose clear to both the North and the South. At first Lincoln was more of a neutral party to the whole slavery issue, but once he saw the eagerness of the blacks, it persuaded him to make the promise of freedom (Doc C). In the end, the willingness of the blacks to fight in the...
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