Confederate Emancipation By Bruce Levine Essay

Confederate Emancipation By Bruce Levine Essay

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Confederate Emancipation is a book by Bruce Levine that examines three topics during the Civil War; the Confederate opposition towards arming slaves up until the end of the war, a majority of slaves that had the opportunity to escape did so, and the freedom that slaves were being promised in exchange for fighting would be taken away as soon as the war was over. The book is broken down into sections that follow the series of events in attempt to emancipate slaves in exchange for their service to the Confederacy. As the Confederates began to realize that their hopes of winning the war were being destroyed, they started to turn towards freeing their slaves to gain more men in arms. Even when slaves were given the opportunity to fight, most would flee to the Union as soon as the chance was given. After all, why would a slave want to fight for the men that had beaten and raped them for so many years? Confederate slave owners were insane to think that their slaves would stay and put up arms against the people that were willing to free them. The purpose and goal of this book is to “take a fresh look at southern arm-and-emancipate proposals, their origins and justifications, the objections and resistance that they provoked, the final form they took, and the practical results that they produced” (13).
Chapter one, “A Desperate Expedient,” trails the early thoughts of the idea of emancipating Confederate slaves from 1861 up to 1864, when President Davis turned away from the idea. One problem the south had was their lack of manpower compared to the Union, which had three times as many qualifying men as the Confederacy. If they were to arm their slaves, which were three and a half million in number, it would make up for their lack of m...


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...his book is very well written, the examination of all the factors that could have led to a Confederate victory is mapped out from beginning to end. Had the south moved towards emancipation faster, they could have possibly gained support of England and France, and had three and a half million more troops fighting on their side. Levine’s evidence to support his claims are very convincing because he uses Confederate’s words to prove his points. He uses their actual opinions at the time to answer the questions he poses instead of merely answering them himself. Not every person that supported the arming of slaves wanted them to remain in a subordinate position, but the hopes of those who did would be crushed. The south was doomed from the start based on the northern military strength, slave opposition to fighting, and the pigheadedness of the southern slave owners.

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