The Civil War ended in 1865. Why did Lincoln decide to free the slaves before the war even ended?

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The Emancipation Proclamation

Guided Questions-

Document A: Emancipation Proclamation

  1. The Civil War ended in 1865. Why did Lincoln decide to free the slaves before the war even ended?

    1. Evidence from the document

      1. “act of justice”

        1. In the Constitution it says, “all men are created equal”. If African Americans remain slaves the essence of the Constitution is not being applied to all who are within the United States.

      2. “military necessity”

        1. By freeing the slaves in the Southern states the slaves could leave reducing the work force at the forts and plantations

        2. The slave and freeman were now able to join the Union army, increasing the number of available fighting soldiers

  2. What happens to the slaves in these (border) states?

    1. Because the Border States were loyal to the Union but had slaves Lincoln did not want to anger these states. If angered these states could support the Confederacy.

  3. Why do you think he calls the act a “military necessity” in the last section?

    1. By freeing the slaves the Confederacy would be weakened and the Union would gain soldiers. This shift in resources would mean continued victories for the Union army.

Document B: Frederick Douglass

  1. According to Douglass, what was happening in the North in 1863?

    1. “Lincoln was alarmed about the increasing opposition to the war in the North, and the mad cry against it being an abolition war.” (paragraph 1)

      1. When Lincoln became president the Civil War was about keeping the Union together. He thought that if the Union was one country that the issue of states’ rights (topic slavery) could be solved. As the war went on and Lincoln created the Emancipation Proclamation some in the north feared that the war was about abolishing slavery.

  2. What was Lincoln worried about?

    1. “Lincoln worried that (Northerners who opposed the war would force him to accept an early peace) which would leave all those who had not escaped in slavery.” (paragraph 2)

  3. What was Douglass’s conclusion about Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation?

    1. After meeting with Lincoln, Douglass gets an understanding of Lincoln’s thought about slavery. He states in his book that “the proclamation, so far as least as he was concerned, was not passed merely as a necessity.” There was more behind just the benefits to the military that the freed slaves would create and the damage that it would do to the Confederacy (loss of labor). It was about doing the right (constitutional) thing in abolishing slavery.

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