the ultimate legacy of the Emancipation Proclamation
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The Ultimate Legacy of the Emancipation Proclamation
The role of the Emancipation Proclamation is hard to overestimate. Perhaps, there is no such longly debated legal document in the history of the USA as this Emancipation Proclamation that was issued on January 1, 1863. It dramatically changed the course of the Civil War and freed thousands of black slaves. The present paper aims to identify the key elements of the legacy bequeathed by this historical document.
The Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves living in ten states that were still in rebellion. At the same time, all those freed slaves were enlisted in the Union Army. As a result, after some time black slaves and white citizens of the USA fought together against one enemy. No doubt, the Civil War united black and white people as well as reduced tensions existing among them. The majority of freed black slaves fought rather valiantly and earned the respect of whites. This promoted equality and eradicated some racial prejudices in the society.
In fact, the Emancipation Proclamation did not outlaw slavery. Yet, it made it one of the goals of the Union. At the same time, the states that already supported the Union were bound by this Emancipation Proclamation. The latter provided black slaves with the rights and duties that had been granted before only to white citizens of the states belonging to the Union. Slaves were granted the legal status; they were no longer the objects of the laws. The Emancipation Proclamation gave the black population an opportunity to extend their voting rights and gain political power. Moreover, it changed the dynamics of the Civil War. The Union troops soon became the army of liberation. Slaves who were fighting for the Confederate became the proponents of the federalists.
It is obvious that the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation was critical to the victory of the Union in the Civil War. This move was rather pragmatic considering that the majority of the European states had already outlawed slavery and condemned the countries that prolonged its existence. Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation to gain support from the European states to end the war with the Confederate. Eventually, the Union won the US Civil War, and the aim of Abraham Lincoln was achieved.
At the same time, it should be noted that the Emancipation Proclamation even erased differences between the North and South. The latter became outrageous as many blacks actually left it. Nevertheless, from the military point of view, it was beneficial for Abraham Lincoln who received an opportunity to recruit more people into his army.
On the whole, it should be mentioned that the Emancipation Proclamation laid the foundation for future legal initiatives against slavery. In particular, it was the basis for the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment that abolished slavery. In the cultural dimension, the Emancipation Proclamation structured the hope of millions of black people to gain freedom and rights granted to all humans.
In conclusion, the Emancipation Proclamation did not put an end to slavery within the territory of the present-day USA. Yet, it destabilized the issue of slavery and promoted some positive changes in the country. The Emancipation Proclamation became the first attempt to fight this disease of American society. Certainly, there are many doubts over the reasons that forced Abraham Lincoln to issue this document. Nevertheless, it is obvious that the Emancipation Proclamation significantly changed the course of the Civil War and the entire American history.