The American Civil War
Over the years, the United States has been a part of various battles and wars. However, one of the most decisive and controversial of these moments was the Civil War.
- Fought between the southern and the northern states of America after the Confederate States (southern) separated from the Union (northern).
- Segregation occurred after Abraham Lincoln’s presidency.
- The Confederates fought to maintain their freedom.
- The war was to fight for the rights of different states but it turned into a fight to end slavery.
- Issuance of Emancipation Proclamation by President Lincoln on 22nd September 1862.
- It stated that all people that were enslaved and rebelling against the Union will be forever free.
- Initially just a military measure.
- Aimed to stop the rebellion and preserve the position of the Union.
- Became a turning point in Lincoln’s view of slavery.
- Set the tone of the Civil War.
- Paved the way to correct the biggest wrong in the American history.
Before, the Emancipation Proclamation was issued; tension was already brewing between the North (Union) and South (Confederate) regarding slavery but this proclamation was the final nail in the coffin.
- Creation of southern territory of collective states called the Confederate States of America.
- Declared that slavery was the cornerstone of their white supremacist economy.
- Three days after the cornerstone speech, the Civil War began that lasted for four years.
Lincoln’s Initial Argument
- War not about slavery but to save the position of the Union.
- If saving the Union required freeing all the slaves then Lincoln would do it.
Passing of Militia Act
- Passing of the Militia Act in July 1862 by Congress.
- Allowed the Black men to enlist in the US army.
- Helped in getting the favor of the black people as they were being given the chance to fight for their freedom.
- Nearly 200,000 Black Americans joined the Union Army.
- Permanent abolition of slavery was achieved through the Emancipation Proclamation.
- Concerns about validity of proclamation when the war would end were raised.
- Lincoln and his allies in the Congress began to develop an amendment to the Constitution, and this amendment was passed in January 1865 (Editors).
Inhumane Treatment of Slaves (Lincoln’s Argument)
Lincoln’s effort to free the slaves may not have been due to self-interest but as the war progressed his views changed.
- Slavery was regarded as an inhumane act.
- Many of Lincoln’s notes that he wrote for himself highlight his struggle with this issue of slavery.
- His disgust toward the pro-slavery writers.
- Consideration of this issue through the words of God.
- Lincoln’s struggles to understand if all men are created equal then why were the black people being treated worse than animals.
- He has a justification in freeing the slaves and it was a very simple justification.
- Black people were also humans created equally by God and by enslaving them the pro-slavery people were going against God (WHITE).
Elaboration of View Point
Lincoln’s argument provides the basis for the discussion of why the abolition of the Black people was the right thing to do.
- Regardless of religious beliefs treating someone poorly based on their appearance is a very inhumane thing to do.
- Acts of racism were coming from the people who claim to be “God-fearing” but they act completely against their beliefs when they show baseless prejudice against a different race.
- The great suffering of Black people at the hand of the White people just because the color of their skin was different from the white people’s skin.
The real question here should not be whether President Abraham Lincoln was right in freeing the slaves? But rather the question should be, “Why did it take so long to finally free the slaves?”
- Slavery of Black people prevalent since the 16th century.
- It was finally abolished in the 19th century.
- Took almost three centuries for someone to figure out that slavery was a heinous act against black people.
- Violence against the black people did not end even after the Civil War.
- People still treated them like dirt, and unfortunately, this is still the case in the present as well.
Lincoln’s intentions to free the slaves may not have been for the right reasons at first but the more time he spent mulling over this problem the more sympathetic he became to the black people
- He issued the Emancipation Proclamation but he knew that the effects of this will be temporary and as soon as the war ended, things will go back to the way they were.
- He sought to develop a more permanent solution for slavery by amending the Constitution.
- This paved the way for the black people to live considerably better lives.
- Lincoln’s decision to abolish slavery was the right decision and has a very simple answer: The Black people are also human and no human should have to go through the horrors that the black people suffered.
- It was a correct decision as it was based on human rights and even though it took three centuries to correct this wrong, it is a very fortunate decision for the black people as it gave them the strength to fight for their rights in the future as well.
Editors, History com. ‘Emancipation Proclamation’. HISTORY, 26 Jan. 2022, https://www.history.com/topics/american-civil-war/emancipation-proclamation.
WHITE, RONALD C. ‘The Letter in Which Lincoln Debated the Morality of Slavery With Himself’. Time, 10 June 2021, https://time.com/6072503/president-lincoln-letter-slavery/.