African-American Studies

Civil War and Emancipation Essay

Civil War and Emancipation Essay

How the civil war transformed from war simply to preserve the American union into a war for the emancipation of slaves.

 The Emancipation Proclamation was the primary reason that altered the purpose and the meaning of the civil war.  Initially, the civil war was more inclined to preserve the Union, but with the emancipation proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln, this purpose changed to freeing slaves.  The Emancipation Proclamation held that the able slaves would be allowed a platform to serve in the army, which in itself was an anti-slavery measure.  In the course of the civil war, approximately 200000 slaves served in the army “Thenceforward and Forever Free”.

The massive recruitment of slaves into the army redirected the civil war form the initial motive of preserving the American union to war for human freedom.  Lincoln’s humanitarian idea against slavery became rampant among the Republics and the Army.  This was especially because of his capacity to order the army, as the commander of the armed forces.  Also, because of his position as the president, he was able to influence changes in the constitution to end involuntary servitude and slavery by freeing slavery.

 The change of the motive of the civil war from the preservation of the American Union to the emancipation of slaves was fueled by Abraham Lincoln’s feeling that freeing slaves was morally right and a justifiable thing to do (Schwartz, 2000).  In line with this, he released preliminary emancipation, which held that any defiant state would have their slaves freed.  The emancipation took effect, and in 1963 slaves in the rebellious states among them Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Virginia, Southern and Northern Carolina were freed.  President Lincoln stated that all people that had been enslaved in the designated states were freed and the government would work to ensure their freedom.  In the emancipation president, Lincoln advised slaves to keep off from any form of violence and to only work for reasonable wages.

Even though the civil war and the emancipation proclamation did not mark the end of slavery in the United States, it played a huge role in enhancing freedom of the African Americans and minority groups that were enslaved in the region.  The effects of the civil war in slave emancipation were fueled by the aftermath activities among them the Thirteenth Amendment of 1864, which held that nobody should be held in involuntary servitude or slavery in the United States “Thenceforward and Forever Free”.  Certainly, even though the civil war was intended to preserve the American Union, President Abraham Lincoln used it as a tool against slavery.


“Thenceforward and Forever Free”." Civil War Trust, www.civilwar.org/learn/articles/thenceforward-and-forever-free.

Schwartz, B. (2000). Abraham Lincoln and the forge of national memory. University of Chicago Press.

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