Corns and other grains from the north had also become important exports to Britain. Under this front, Britain was under no economical obligation to intervene on the behalf of the confederate. The Trent Affair refers to a diplomatic row that almost set the union and Britain against each other after the union intercepted a diplomatic delegation headed to Britain and France. Confederates were hopeful that this diplomatic breach would dent the already muted cordial relation that existed between the union and Britain.
Tension indeed had soared almost to a point of erupting into a war. Though not downplaying the diplomatic efforts that were employed, the issuing of the emancipation proclamation played a great role as it shed a light on the underlying differences between the union and the confederates; key to this being slavery . The emancipation proclamation worked to the advantage of turning the public opinion to the favor of the union.
By turning the American civil war to a struggle against slavery, Abraham Lincoln in one single blow had curbed any chances of Britain and France offering their support to the confederates or giving it any formal recognition as the opinion and political stand back at home was increasingly becoming anti-slavery. The emancipation proclamation mirrored a growing perception that the north was passionately anti-slavery while the southern states were dead set for slavery. While Britain and France were hoping to have a divided and weakened United States as seen in their enthusiasm to offer their support to the confederates.
The public opinion back at home was against slavery and not even emperor Louis Napoleon could afford to support the confederates against the union (Ewan 33). Though far fetched, the emancipation proclamation impeded on the ability of the confederate to financially sustain and fend off and defend against the heavy military onslaught from the union. The confederates were looking upon the support of the maritime powers, with this not forthcoming; the necessary war supplies were unavailable. There was also a decline in the currency value and credit facilities were not forthcoming.
The emancipation proclamation meant that the war had taken another angle and France and Britain could not be seen to be offering their support to states that advocated for human bondage. This is despite the fact that France and Britain had initially been enthusiastic in their support for the seceding southern states. This was so to an extent that President Jefferson Davis of the confederate states had evaluated the option of issuing his own emancipation proclamation announcing the granting of freedom to slaves in the confederate states.
This move however is said to have faced stiff opposition from slave owners who were driven by the economic potency of the slavery institution. This proclamation move was a feeble attempt to have the British and the French affirm their support for confederate and hence annul the gains made by the Lincolns proclamations. This however was never to be due to the raging support for slavery in south which was the bulk of the confederates support (Carter and Jensen 23).
Of all of President Lincoln’s achievements especially during the civil war, it is his efforts towards social and civil reforms aimed at freeing the African-American population that remain notable. The emancipation proclamation, though with a political undertone, remains a respectable accomplishment. It paved way for increased and bold abolitionist activities. Towards the end of the war, there were fears that the Emancipation proclamation would be misconceived to be solely a war strategy and not a long term venture.
It is in the bid to address these fears that Abraham Lincoln made abolitionism an integral debate in his 1864 campaigns. He was vowing on a constitutional amendment that would see the end of slavery in the United States (Guelzo, 27). The 13th amendment was introduced in the congress and passed in1865 and in the same year ratified by 27 states. The amendment was a great accomplishment and was a final touch to the aspirations of the emancipation proclamation. One notable reason for the passing of the 13th amendment was the proactive role played by Lincoln when he made it a key anthem in the republican’s presidential platform.
It is more than apparent that the emancipation proclamation was an executive order that was conveniently made possible by the course of the war. , an analysis of the proclamation and Lincoln’s speeches and pronouncement reveals that as a president, he was committed towards slavery containment. Though he was not an abolitionist, he created an impetus towards the accomplishment of similar objectives in the United States. Abolitionists drew a lot of inspiration from the proclamation which was seen laying groundwork for future calls towards the arresting of the spread of slavery.
By the time Lincoln issued the proclamation, the confederates were deeply courting the support of the French and the British. One strategy used was in placing embargoes on the exportation of cotton, a key product in the south which was a major exporter to Britain. The confederates hoped that by the embargo, the British would be forced to intervene and support the confederates but this was never to be. The proclamation helped shape a favorable opinion abroad about the union and the international community led by the British could not dare intervene on behalf of the confederates lest they be seen as supporting the slave states.
The proclamation was not only a single blow to the confederates helping the union remain united but it also helped set the pace for the full emancipation of the slaves.
Guelzo, Allen C. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America. 2004; 18-36 Christopher Ewan, The Emancipation Proclamation and British Public Opinion. The Historian, Vol. 67, 2005; 31-46 Carter, Alice E. , Richard Jensen. The Civil War on the Web: A Guide to the Very Best Sites- 2nd ed. 2003; 17