Essay on Abraham Lincoln; The Great Emancipator?

Essay on Abraham Lincoln; The Great Emancipator?

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Myth and fact have always been at odds. Time and time again myth has been misrepresented as fact. To such an extent it has been ingrained so deeply within the cultural mind, people cease to question its feasibility. To quote Mark Twain, “For the world will not stop and think, it never does, it is not our way; its way is to generalize from a single example”. If asked, nearly every person will unquestionably state that it was Abraham Lincoln and his Emancipation Proclamation that freed the slaves from their southern bondage. In his article “Who Freed the Slaves?” John Green claims “this telling of history oversimplifies the truth so much as to render it useless.” . As the factuality of this great American historical antecedent has been called into question, the question still stands, if Abraham Lincoln did not free the slaves, who did? This also poses the question Lincoln’s involvement, if he had any, in the fight against slavery.
While it is true that Lincoln fundamentally opposed slavery, he could not actively fight against the institution. Lincoln’s attentions were more focused on the crumbling union and his need to appease any potential allies. One might point out Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves. The Emancipation Proclamation has been called one the most misunderstood documents in American history, and with good reason. While the Emancipation Proclamation did free slaves, it was a more of a war tactic than a true attempt at universal freedom. Instead, the Emancipation Proclamation declared “all persons held as slaves within any state or designated part of a state – the people whereof shall then be on rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thence forward and forever free…”. Essentially, Linco...


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...e Slaves?." dlt.ncssm.edu. http://www.dlt.ncssm.edu/lmtm/docs/EndOfSlavery/EmancipationProclamationScript.pdf (accessed January 28, 2013).

GoodHeart, Adam. "How Slavery Really Ended in America." New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/03/magazine/mag-03CivilWar-t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 (accessed December 28, 2013).

Green, John. "Who freed the slaves?." Socialist Worker. http://socialistworker.org/2005-1/532/532_08_FreedTheSlaves.shtml (accessed December 30, 2013).

Lincoln, Abraham. The Emancipation Proclamation. Champaign, Ill.: Project Gutenberg, 199.

Martin, Michel, and Lonnie Bunch. "What The Emancipation Proclamation Didn't Do." NPR. http://www.npr.org/2013/01/09/168957092/what-the-emancipation-proclamation-didnt-do (accessed December 28, 2013).

McPherson, James. Who Freed the Slaves. Vol. 139, No. 1. ed. NA: e American Philosophical Society, 1995.

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