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Emancipation Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln - Essay Example

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Introduction The emancipation proclamation is one of the most famous declarations issued by President Abraham Lincoln. The proclamation made in the middle of the American civil war in January 1 1863 declared the freedom of all enslaved persons in the United States (Miller)…
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Emancipation Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln
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Download file to see previous pages Although the emancipation proclamation was intended to set free the slaves in the country, the decree did not immediately grant the freed persons automatic citizenship and subsequent rights. One of the immediate repercussions of the proclamation was the loss of property especially in the southern states that relied heavily on slaves for labor in the agricultural farms and plantations. The property owners were not compensated an outcome that elicited legal objection because it was unconstitutional and an abuse of power by the executive upon the American citizens (Burrus, 27) Burrus (34) traces the drafting of emancipation proclamation to Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts. According to Burrus, Senator Charles Sumner was a prominent republican, whose zealous opposition to slavery and firm political conviction endeared him to President Abraham Lincoln. The progress of the confederate army to Fort Sumter became a matter of outmost concern to the senator and he urged the president to invoke the powers bestowed upon him by the US constitution as the commander in chief of the army and the navy (55). Allen(72),argues that the senator reasoned that as the commander in chief of the United States military, the president had the authority to contain the rebel states using any method necessary, including ordering the release of all slaves in the confederates’ possession. However, the president had earlier declared that he did not intend to interfere with slavery in states that still upheld the practice, especially in the south (Franklin, 37). The president’s declaration to maintain the status quo was mainly motivated by the conviction that he did not have legal grounds for taking such action (Burrus, 42). Senator Sumner’s assertion that the president could use his powers was based on the arguments of former president, John Quincy Adams who had earlier declared that laws of war permitted army commanders to liberate slaves in a territory that had been invaded by an enemy (Burrus, 95). This assertion therefore permitted the commander in chief of the country and the American government by extension to undertake military intervention inside and outside the United States territory. Allen (84) argues that these developments formed the basis of the “law of war” that gives the president constitutional right to take any action necessary during times of war for the interests of the country. In spite of the debate about the legality of the emancipation proclamation, it definitely accorded the union army the motivation to triumph over the confederates in the civil war. Franklin argues that president Abraham Lincoln did not have the intention of having the proclamation entrenched in the United States constitution. However, in 1865, declarations contained in the emancipation proclamation were included the country’s constitution, in the Thirteenth Amendment (90). After declaration of the emancipation proclamation, immediate impacts were noted in the military structure of the confederates that had largely restricted the role of slaves to non-combat duties during the civil war. Shortly after the proclamation, many slaves were released in the Union controlled territories such as North Carolina during the battle. The Confederate army encountered large-scale desertions by the blacks, denying it much ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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