Lincolnís Emancipation Proclamation - First and Foremost a Military Measure
By Conan Milner | TheEpochTimes.com
The Emancipation Proclamationóenacted exactly 150 years ago on Jan. 1, 2013ómarked the beginning of the end for slavery in the United States, but historians say that the document was first and foremost a military measure.
ďAs you read the Emancipation Proclamation, you can see that thereís nothing eloquent about it,Ē said Margaret Washington, professor of history and American studies at Cornell University. ďThe term itself sounds eloquent, but if you read the document, it is specifically for purposes of waróand winning the war, either by military power or by forcing the south back into the union by virtue of emancipating their slaves.
Glancing back over the course of American history, it is impossible to separate the Civil War from the end of slavery. Nonetheless, in President Abraham Lincolnís time, many considered the two developments mutually exclusive, even Lincoln himself.
A Progressive President
In his 1860 inaugural address, Lincoln promised to leave slavery alone in states where it already existed. In an 1862 New York Tribune letter, the president stated that his primary objective was saving the Union, and ďnot either to save or destroy slavery.Ē
In the midst of Americaís bloodiest conflictóa war that pitted brother against brotheróthe Emancipation Proclamation offered a time-tested military strategy that would quickly bring the fighting to an end.
ďThatís what was done with the American Revolution,Ē Washington said. ďThe British promised slaves freedom if they defected from the southern plantations in Virginia and came over to the British side and fought with them. Americans in the North used that same tactic with their slaves to fight against the British, and thatís how Northerners became free.Ē
While Lincoln stated for years that he was ethically opposed to slavery, he was no abolitionist. But the influence of the American anti-slavery movement had become a powerful cultural force, especially among radicals in Lincolnís own Republican Party.
Washingtonís freshman class traced the trajectory of this change in mindset by examining Lincolnís writings and debate transcripts. These historical documents portray a man who had gone from tempering anti-slavery sentiment with a defense of white superiority, to suggesting weeks before his assassination that educated black men should be allowed to vote.
The celebrations that went around the world when the Emancipation Proclamation came across the telegraph lines were huge. And yet it didnít really free anybody.
óMargaret Washington, professor of History and American Studies, Cornell University
ďIt was merely a suggestion, but you can see the way heís moving at the time of his death,Ē Washington said. ďHe was becoming more and more progressive.Ē
Burning the Constitution
Even before Lincoln became president, much had already been done to end slavery in America. While abolitionists were driven by a moral imperative, slaveholders had the law on their side, and their interests remained legally protected by a formidable Democratic Party, which was solidly pro-slavery in both North and South.
However, the biggest legal hurdle to the anti-slavery effort was also a document fundamental to the nationóthe U.S. Constitution.
ďAbolitionists adored the Declaration of Independence, but they despised the Constitution. As a matter of fact, William Lloyd Garrison burned it in public,Ē Washington said.
The political might of early 19th-century slave owners can be seen in the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act, which obligated all U.S. citizens to send runaways back to their masters. Months after the law was passed, a fugitive that had escaped to Boston compelled the expense of thousands of troops to ensure his return.
At an anti-slave rally ignited by the absurdly expensive capture of this single fugitive, Garrison demonstrated abolitionist fury by burning copies of both the Slave Act and the Constitutionóa document he described as a ďcovenant with deathĒ and an ďagreement with Hell.Ē
Although the Constitution did not contain the term ďslaveĒ until the practice was finally outlawed under the 13th Amendment, scholars say that the context is clear.
According to Washington, former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall confirmed the abolitionist attitude toward the Constitution.
ďIt was a pro-slavery document, except that the flexibility of the Constitution allowed it to have the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments that changed it,Ē Washington said.
Read the full article at: theepochtimes.com
Abraham Lincoln Created The Secret Service The Day He Was Shot
Report of first doctor to reach shot Lincoln found
Inside The Conspiracy To Murder Lincoln - ATS
Latest News from our Front Page
Israel Is Preparing For Alien Invasion - Are The 'Tall White' Aliens Coming?
Earlier in the week, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) conducted a training exercise for its Air Force cyber unit, the ‚ÄúOfek‚ÄĚ (Horizon). The training exercise was based on a scenario in which the world is under attack by alien invaders, and IDF tech forces are faced with the challenge of sabotaging the advanced technological systems of attacking alien spacecraft.
Although Lt. ...
800-year-old rune stick unearthed during excavation of Danish city
The little stick found underneath the streets of Odense, Denmark‚Äôs third largest city, is only 8.5 centimetres in length -- but it isn‚Äôt just any old stick. The so-called rune stick was made in the early 13th century, said Odense City Museums in a press release.
Archaeologists have been digging for a long time at the excavation beneath I. Vilhelm Werners ...
Immigrants to U.S. From China Top Those From Mexico
Move over, Mexico. When it comes to sending immigrants to the U.S., China and India have taken the lead.
China was the country of origin for 147,000 recent U.S. immigrants in 2013, while Mexico sent just 125,000, according to a Census Bureau study by researcher Eric Jensen and others. India, with 129,000 immigrants, also topped Mexico, though the two countries‚Äô results ...
Dead zones: Places where no animal can survive found in Atlantic Ocean
A team of German and Canadian marine biologists have for the first time ever witnessed so-called ‚Äėdead zones‚Äô in the Atlantic Ocean ‚Äď places where no life can thrive, owing to there being almost no dissolved oxygen in the water.
Zones depleted of oxygen do exist in nature and have previously been discovered along populated coastal areas off the eastern and ...
'Becoming Us' follows teen adjusting to parent's gender transition
Ben, from Evanston, Ill. is your typical 17-year-old. He goes to school, hangs out with his girlfriend, and enjoys spending time with his family. But there's something unique about Ben's situation: His father is becoming a woman.
Ben and his father are the subject of the new ABC Family docuseries Becoming Us. From Ryan Seacrest Productions, Becoming Us centers on Ben, ...
|More News » |