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Education, English

Civil War And Emancipation

The election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 invoked a sense of outrage among the Southern states. Lincoln had a view that the savage act of slavery has held captive all of the American nations till now, and it must be abolished, but by 1861, he never claimed the war for the emancipation of slaves but to keep American union.

On March 4th, 1861, Lincoln declared that no slaves would be returned to their masters, along with the Confiscation Act that confiscated the properties of traitors. Although there was no mention of the abolishment of slavery, Lincoln’s speech of March 4th was proclaimed as an act to maintain the Union between southern states, started a wave of fear in African Americans (Civil War and Emancipation, pp. 34).

The Civil War started by Confederate states on April 12th, 1861, due to discrimination between free and slave states, which took a great shift when Abraham Lincoln declared the emancipation of slaves necessary to settle the war between southern states. In July, the Emancipation Act was presented to the cabinet. However, Secretary William H. Steward recommended that Lincoln wait to make the proclamation until the Union victory. Frederick Douglass found this emancipation verdict as an opportunity to end slavery (Antebellum Political Crisis, p. 16). After recruitment from the Abolishment movement, he gathered troops from the northern states, waged openly against the southerners, and the opposition started advancing towards the southern borders.

The fight against slavery was backed up by several other people. William Lloyd Garrison took the initiative against slavery by starting The Liberator and Anti-slavery Society in 1831. His efforts are reflected by his writings against slavery (Antebellum Political Crisis, p. 17). The efforts made by Angelina and Sarah Grimke was the basis of women rights in America, who joined the abolishment movement in 1838.

The African soldiers rushing for the opposition were those who faced racial discrimination in their service. They were given monthly pay as compared to white soldiers and were hired for supportive roles in the army. The famous fifty-fourth regiment joined the abolitionists and caused a great increase in the power of the abolitionist movement when more than 186,000 black slaves joined the Union Army.

To end the waged war between southern and northern states, the Compromise Act was presented in 1850 to settle the wars between the two groups. This resolution was presented by Senator Henry Clay, who amended the Fugitive Slave Act in D.C. This was the time when Northern states were losing a lot of money every week due to runaway slaves who started joining the opposition. The fugitive state law opposition was justified as it was a hypocritical act of northern whites and was directed against the rights of black slaves.

The war ended when Lincoln finally proclaimed his emancipation verdict in July 1862, which finally freed all slaves and claimed equal rights to colored Americans. The Confederate army surrendered with the loss of over 61 thousand soldiers. Equal rights were added to the American constitution as the thirteenth amendment, and it freed four million American slaves from their miserable life of serving white owners.

Though many options for resolution between southern and northern groups were provided to settle the war between the two groups, none seemed to have solved the problem as they were not in favor of black slaves and were just intended for show. However, it is claimed that the proclamation was made to settle rage in southern troops, and many of the rights were not given to the blacks until the nineteenth century. The ending of slavery by Abraham Lincoln is considered as “the Second American Revolution” and the most heroic act in the history of America.


Antebellum Political Crisis (lecture slides)
Civil War and Emancipation: Why did the Union take so long to win the Civil War? How does the Civil War become “the Second American Revolution” (Part I)



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