Topics: Abraham Lincoln, American Civil War, President of the United States, Emancipation Proclamation, Andrew Johnson / Pages: 2 (270 words) / Published: Dec 4th, 2013
What evidence was presented in class to support the interpretation that Lincoln was more the “reluctant” and not the “great emancipator” as claimed in history? Support answer with 3 scholarly interpretations.
Although many people even today still consider President Lincoln the great emancipator, many scholars feel as if Radical Republicans were the main reason for the decisions Lincoln made about slavery during his presidency. In fact, two of the most important acts of Lincoln’s presidency were pushed through Congress by Radical Republicans. A scholar named Henry A Rhodes from the University of XXX feels that Lincoln was definitely rather reluctant to side with the Radicals rather than pushing with them. He says “Lincoln was somewhat of a moderate in comparison to the Radicals. He sided with them when it suited his purposes in his strategy for emancipation for the American Negro.” Rhodes says “This is evident from his endorsements of the two Confiscation Acts and the bill which prohibited slavery in the District of Columbia that were pushed through Congress by the Radical Republicans” (Rhodes, XX.) He feels the Confiscation Acts were substantial to the war and that Lincoln receives the credit when really the Radical Republicans should get it. He says “This act gave Lincoln the authority to use Negroes as soldiers in the fighting of the Civil War. As noted earlier, Lincoln was only in favor of using blacks as soldiers to help replace the shortage of Union soldiers and because he felt that this policy would shorten the War”(Rhodes, XX.) Rhodes feels that Lincoln is receiving credit that really should be received by the Radical Republicans.

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