The Real Reason for Emancipation
Most Americans think the Civil War was fought to free the slaves, but that just isn’t the case. The rallying cry for the North was to maintain the Union, and millions of men enlisted in order to do so. Emancipating the slaves was actually a very risky endeavor by Lincoln, because racism was rampant in the North and it wasn’t clear that Northerners would fight with, or for blacks. To be honest the thought of blacks having guns probably scared the heck out of most of them.
It is a general consensus among historians that Lincoln freed the slaves because it would give the North a military advantage, not because he has some moral obligation to do so. Freeing the slaves removed the Confederates main source of labor, which weakened their already stifled economy. Additionally, blacks were allowed to serve in the Unions military doing various roles. Earlier in the war Congress passed the Confiscation Acts, which allowed Union soldiers to free slaves in any Confederate territory, controlled by the North. So there seemed to be an inclination at least that freeing the slaves would hurt the Confederates.
Lincoln came to the conclusion that saving the Union and freeing the slaves would have to happen concurrently sometime in the middle of 1862. It was in July of 1862 that he first told his advisors of his intentions to do so while on a carriage ride. That decision would lead to Lincoln’s greatest legacy, but one that has been skewed in history.
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