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He didn't actually free them. They were freed by the Thirteenth Amendment, December 1865, eight months after his assassination.

He issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared the slaves to be free in all the states currently in rebellion - in other words, all the states which he didn't control.

This was chiefly a tactical wartime measure, to stop free nations abroad from helping the Confederates. Britain and France had to give up their plans to send military aid, or it would make them look pro-slavery themselves.

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11y ago
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14y ago

In Short to bring the Country back together. The Emancipation Proclamation was not the first plan that was going to be used for the Civil War to come to an end. Originally, Lincoln came up with something called The Delaware Plan. Delaware was one of the four neutral Border states. Lincoln was fearful that a Union general would go into one of these Border states and start freeing enslaved people, enraging slaveholders and driving all of the Border states into the Confederacy. (If Maryland left the Union, Washington, DC itself would be located inside the Confederacy.) Before that could happen, Lincoln tried to get the neutral, slaveholding Border states to give up slavery in return for a cash compensation. He called representatives from those states to Washington to make them the offer, infuriating abolitionists who hated the idea of slaveholders getting a reward for giving up their enslaved people.

If the Border states would give up slavery peacefully, it would destroy the Confederacy's chances of getting them to leave the Union, and it would make it much easier for Lincoln to abolish slavery legally in the U.S., because then no state actually in the U.S. would be slaveholding. Then, if the Confederacy lost the war and had to come back into the Union, it would have to give up slavery because slavery would be illegal in the U.S.

But the Border states would not go for the Delaware Plan. Delaware slaveholders were not ready to give up slaveholding, and state papers cast doubt and mockery on the government's promise to pay $900,000 to slaveholders for giving up their enslaved people. [Ibid. 92] The other reason for the rejection of the Delaware Plan was that many Americans realized that for the first time, an American president was making moves to eradicate slavery. "The great, transcendent fact is, that for the first time… we have the recommendation from the presidential chair of the abolition of slavery…" said the Daily National Republican on March 10, 1862. The debate was no longer about how to contain slavery or where it would be allowed, but about getting rid of it, forever.

Lincoln was, at this point, still adamant about shipping the black Americans who were freed by the Delaware Plan "back" to Africa. This was not about racism. It was a cold, hard assessment of the facts, of what enslaving one group of people because of their race does to both the enslaved and enslaving races. "You and we are different races," said Lincoln, "[and] your race are suffering, in my judgment, the greatest wrong inflicted on any people. [But] even when you cease to be slaves, you are yet far removed from being placed on an equality with the white race. [This is] a fact with which we have to deal." In this, Lincoln was prescient, for we are still working, 144 years later, on getting all white Americans to place black Americans "on an equality."

Lincoln figured black Americans would be happy to leave a place and a people that had enslaved them so bitterly. "I do not know how much attachment you may have toward our race," he said. "It does not strike me that you have the greatest reason to love [us]." [Ibid. 142] Lincoln said these things to a committee of black American leaders he called to the White House to discuss colonization of formerly enslaved people. (The first time any president had invited black leaders to a White House conference.) These men bravely stood up to Lincoln and told him they did not want to leave their own country, but work in it and have the benefits of it. Lincoln, doubtful, clung to colonization, but only voluntary colonization. He never planned to have black Americans forcibly shipped to Africa.

We are irritated and disappointed to hear Lincoln talk about colonization, but the one silver lining in it is that it shows how serious he was about ending slavery. He felt he had to have a plan in place to remove all the people he was determined to free from slavery.

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9y ago

Lincoln had been working on an emancipation throughout the Summer of 1862. He had to consider several issues with this. One issue was that the US Supreme Court had established that slavery was a form of property and protected by the Constitution. Another problem was the Border States where slavery existed. By no means could he alienate the States that had not joined the Confederacy.

For the first 2 years of the war, Lincoln was very careful not to place the Border States of Missouri, Kentucky and Maryland in a position where they would seek "shelter" for their slavery policies by joining the Confederacy.

With two of his generals, both Fremont' and Hunter he had them rescind their own slave emancipation. Here we have as an aside, a serious failure in the communications between Lincoln's military commanders and his own policy. How could Hunter possibly emancipate slaves when he knew that in Missouri, Lincoln had already forced Fremont' to rescind the generals "policy"? Lincoln was correct in a classic form, that is that generals make war, they do not make "policy".

Reaction was not 100% favorable in the North. The midterm elections saw the Republicans lose some key State elections and several seats in Congress.

On the other hand, and it can be supposed that Lincoln was aware of this happening, the Abolitionist movement in the North was also not happy. Their thoughts ran across this question. What if Rebel States did rejoin the Union? If so, would they keep their slaves?

Lincoln skirted around the Constitutional question by calling the emancipation a "war measure" And why not? He already claimed he had a duty to act in the conflict as a measure to protect the US Constitution. Yet to even accomplish that, he had to suspend habeas corpus and in Maryland for a time, place it under martial law.

Lincoln sought to issue his Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation after the Confederate retreat from the Battle of Antietam. This, to assert that it was not being issued as a measure of desperation. He wanted to issue the proclamation after a military victory. The preliminary emancipation stated that unless States rejoined the Union by January 1, 1863, all their slaves were to be freed.

January 1, 1863 came and went. No state in the Confederacy asked to rejoin the Union. Thus when Lincoln proclaimed that the slaves would be freed, cynics saw a problem, and lest anyone be deceived, England and France, were not deceived. The proclamation did not free slaves in States loyal to the Union, nor did it free slaves in Southern territory held by the Union, such as places in North Carolina. A leading London newspaper exposed all of this, and the English and French continued to trade with the South.

The practical effect of the Emancipation Proclamation was that the Union Army became an army of liberation. Wherever it moved, thousands of slaves sought shelter within their ranks and of course many thousands became Union soldiers.

In England, John Stuart Mill made this statement: "The present government of the United States is not an Abolitionist government...."

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11y ago

Lincoln issued an Executive Order called the Emancipation Proclamation.
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12y ago

He was concerned about who would now build the pyramids.

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9y ago

yes with the Emancipation Proclamation

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13y ago

Emancipation Proclamation

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13y ago

his wife gave him the idea

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13y ago

By The The Emancipation Proclamation .

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4y ago

yes

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Q: Why did Abraham Lincon free the slaves?
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