President Abraham Lincoln Deserved The ' The Great Emancipator ' Essay

President Abraham Lincoln Deserved The ' The Great Emancipator ' Essay

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There has been great debate as to whether President Abraham Lincoln deserved the accolade "The Great Emancipator". Up until taking this class, I believed that he was the Great Emancipator. Although Lincoln wanted an eventual end to slavery implemented through the constitution, he was not able to envision "free white and black Americans living side by side in society" (McClain, n.d., slide 9). At the time, slaves were considered “property”, and according the fifth amendment of the Bill of Rights: The government must pay owners “just compensation” when it takes property. It was believed the Government did not have the resources to compensate southern owners in order to free their slaves (Kennedy & Cohen, 2012). This belief also contradicted with Northern abolitionists, who believed slaves were people, not property.
Contrary to popular belief, Abraham, at first, had no intention of freeing slaves during the civil war. In his letter to Horace Greeley, he writes that if he could save the Union without freeing any slave he would do it and if he could save it by freeing all the slaves he would also do it. He would also be willing to free some and leave others in order to save the union (Gienapp, 2002).
Lincoln was a very adept statesman, and knew that starting a war in order to free slaves would rupture the stability of the US, and may cause states on the fence to side with the South. The border-states, those between the North and South, were known as the “Butternut” states (Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois) were torn between Northern Abolitionists, and the Southern Aristocracy, and were teetering to side with the South before the Civil War actually broke out. Lincoln’s main goal during his presidency was to preserve the Union, and he us...


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...e Union. I can say with confidence that Lincoln fought the Civil War for one sole purpose and that was to preserve the Union. Although Lincoln was urged by abolitionists to put abolition on the war agenda, he argued that the Union must be preserved at "all costs and nothing could distract from that goal" (McClain, n.d., slide 5).
Everything Lincoln did, was to preserve the Union, and in the end he succeeded. He used the sympathies of the North in order to sway border states to their side, and used the Emancipation Proclamation to gather even more support. Lincoln was more of a “great statesman” than a “great emancipator”. Abraham Lincoln was the president that freed the slaves, but not the president who freed blacks from injustice. After the Civil War, black men and women in the south dealt with even more troubles than they had before – but at least they were free.

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