Emancipation Proclamation

The Emancipation Proclamation refers to an executive order issued by the president of United States, Abraham Lincoln on 22nd September, 1862. This proclamation was granting freedom to all slaves starting 1st January of 1863 in all northern states that failed to rejoin the union. The issuing of the emancipation proclamation brewed much controversy, it was highly attacked especially by critics who felt that it only centered on ending slavery in states outside the union. However proponents hailed it for it set the pace towards the abolishment of slavery.

States such as Delaware and Kentucky were untouched as they were still under the control of the union. The union army was freeing slaves that had already escaped into the union and with time as the confederacy fell, more slaves were freed. There were raised sentiments against the proclamation from those who viewed it as a temporary rather than a permanent solution to slavery. It had however a number of impacts. It had for example laid an important framework to the passing of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865.

One impact that the proclamation had was that it turned the Civil War into a social revolution that would witness property expropriation in form of slaves from the confederation into the union, slaves worth of three billion dollars were transferred and granted freedom. , this was however a minor accomplishment but it would go ahead to magnify the stature of President Lincoln. It is to be noted that right from the onset of his tenure in office, he had committed himself to dealing with the spread of slavery. Though not out rightly vowed to ending it , he instituted measures that would see to its containment.

It is to be understood that prior to issuing the Emancipation Proclamation; there had been growing calls from the abolitionists to free slaves. He had reiterated however that he had not constitutionally mandated to free slaves. This however was during peacetime and would change after the kicking off of the civil war. It is important to note that he issued the emancipation proclamation as the commander in chief of the United States armed forces with the proclamation being a war measure. This however does not diminish its political risk as there was raging opposition against the proclamation.

One major impact of emancipation proclamation Carter and Jensen (17) is that was a defining instance in the civil war as it brought to the surface Lincolns key goal of maintaining the union and as well as putting to an end the threat of international intervention. They further note that the proclamation was the “heart and soul” of a policy that would be from the war be pursued by Lincoln and that would lead to his fateful assassination (16). The immediate impact of the proclamation is that it changed the cause and the objective of the North from the sole pursuit of unity to embrace even emancipation as stated in the proclamation.

Runaway slaves captured by the union army were referred to as contrabands of war but when the proclamation was effected, they were freed. Some say that the proclamation turned the union army into liberators. This though is not to mean there were no muted mutinies within the forces ranks, there were still those in the army that were opposed to the freeing of the slaves. Mostly, however, as it has been widely noted, most soldiers recognized the nobility of the venture and were glad to take part in it.