In What Ways Did African Americans Shape the Course and Consequences of the Civil War? Confine Your Answer to the Years from 1861 to 1870.

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When the Civil War began in 1861, the issue of slavery was not the central focus of the war effort on the side of the Union. While it was still important to many in the North, the main war aim of the Union side was to preserve the Union and make sure it remained intact. As the war dragged on and more soldiers died on both sides, Lincoln realized he would need to entirely cripple the already weak Confederate economy, and he did this by making the Emancipation Proclamation, which became effective January 1, 1863. This executive order stated that all slaves in states currently in open rebellion against the United States were free from slavery. By doing this, he caused African Americans in slave states to cross into Union territory and into …show more content…
Initially, no one really was in favor of the idea but as the war wore on and more soldiers died, people became more interested in the idea. Abraham Lincoln eventually supported it, understanding that they were willing to fight and taking advantage of that fact. Despite how unpopular the idea was in general, he went ahead and allowed the creation of all-black regiments because he knew that whites were, at this point, uninterested in fighting to free the slaves while the African Americans were ready to go fight and possibly even die for the sake of their brethren and the preservation of the Union (Doc. C). Once it became a major war aim of the Union to end slavery, African Americans in the north were subject to random acts of violence, especially once a draft began for the Union army. Draft riots began, the most violent occurring in New York City. But when African American troops marched off to fight, they were cheered and praised, displaying the huge change of attitude developing in the entire nation (Doc. F.). Unfortunately, following the war, while African Americans had gained many rights, namely freedom from slavery and suffrage, they were still not treated equally. They had been promised much but in reality were often cheated out of what they had earned, especially the veterans. These veterans had suffered greatly, many of them often dying, like the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, or becoming

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