Emancipation Proclamation Analysis

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The enslavement of Africans in the Americas had existed for over two hundred years by the first shots of the Civil War in 1861. Coinciding with Abraham Lincoln’s presidential election in 1860, seven southern states, and later an additional four, seceded from the Union to form the Confederate States of America, leading to the Civil War. Contrary to the beliefs of the majority of southerners at this time, Lerone Bennett Jr., a scholar, author, social historian, and writer for Ebony Magazine, in his article “Lincoln, a White Supremacist”, explains his view of Lincoln as an advocate for white domination rather than a proponent of blacks’ rights (1968). Although Bennett has flaws in his claim regarding the effectiveness of the Emancipation Proclamation, …show more content…
Bennett describes that while speaking in a debate against Stephen Douglas at Charleston, Illinois in 1858, Lincoln proclaimed that he does not favor black citizenship along with the social and political equality of the white and black races, granting blacks suffrage, allowing blacks to hold office, and biracial marriage. In addition, Lincoln believed that there is an apparent physical difference between the white and black races, giving the position of superiority to the white race. Convinced that his country would not prosper with the intermingling of the races, Lincoln wanted to rid the United States of blacks, so, in line with the views of a group known as the American Colonization Society, Lincoln supported the colonization of African-Americans in Africa (1968). David Zarefsky, an American communication scholar and Professor Emeritus at Northwestern University with research specialties in rhetorical history and criticism, argues that when Lincoln indicated that “[the United States] is well adapted to be the home of one national family; and it is not well adapted for two, or more” during his second State of the Union Address to Congress, he was arguing that the nation’s territory is not well suited to …show more content…
Bennett claims Lincoln’s reasoning behind implementing the Emancipation Proclamation was far from morally or abolition based; he instituted the document as a means of military and political control (1968). Afraid Great Britain and France would become allies with the Confederacy during the Civil War, Lincoln issued the proclamation to once and for all make the war a war based on slavery. Great Britain and France had previously abolished slavery in their countries, and, with the South now officially fighting to maintain slavery, these European powerhouses remained neutral. Additionally, Bennett analyzes how Lincoln spent the first eighteen months of his presidency attempting to maintain slavery and his support of the Corwin Amendment which states that Congress cannot interfere with or abolish slavery in any state in which the institution is already in existence. Noting Congressional approval of the Corwin Amendment during his inaugural address, Lincoln proclaimed that he "had no objection to its being made express and irrevocable” (Lupton, 2006). Lincoln’s endorsement of the Corwin Amendment demonstrates how he had not planned to emancipate the slaves, yet ended up doing so solely because of the arduous military and political circumstances he was under. Bennett also examines how Lincoln saw abolition as a

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