The Great Emancipator: Abolishing Slavery

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The title, the “Great Emancipator,” implies that President Abraham Lincoln courageously abolished slavery with no other major assistance. The title would also suggest that his central motive as the President of the United States was to succeed in the immediate abolishment of slavery. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word, “great,” is defined as “[being] chief or preeminent over others” (Merriam-Webster). In fact, President Lincoln is the opposite of that definition for the individuals who had always pushed for the abolishment of slavery were abolitionists and slaves themselves. Lincoln’s actions indicate that he was not completely devoted to abolishing slavery in the early 1860’s until he realized that it would be necessary …show more content…
Abolitionists were vital figures who fought endlessly beginning in the 1780s to abolish slavery. Previous movements by abolitionists in the North were very effective in terms of laying the groundwork for Lincoln to work off of. Many abolitionists, such as Frederick Douglass and the Grimké sisters, were able to assist President Lincoln in his efforts to abolish slavery by allowing him to listen and learn from their stories of slavery. Douglass and the Grimké sisters were able to write and successfully delivered multiple speeches to the general public all across the North, ultimately setting the stage for slaves to become empowered enough to cross over the Union lines. In 1861 and 1862, thousands of slaves were able to escape to freedom by crossing over the Union border while the Union army occupied Confederate territory. Not only were men able to escape, but large amounts of women and children were also able to say permanently say goodbye to their work on the farm once and for all. Once in the North, ex-slaves were able to offer their work to federal soldiers in order to be recognized as a potential benefit to fighting in the Civil War. Overtime, the Union soldiers began to realize that every slave that crossed the border was a tremendous gain for them, and triple the loss for the Confederacy. These ex-slaves were able to navigate the tricky terrain of the South, and give insight into the Confederate’s strategy to win the war. The slaves fortitude is shown in the document, “War Aims or Freedom,” when Friedheim notes, “the slaves’ resolute determination to secure their liberty converted many white Americans to the view that the security of the Union depended on the destruction of slavery” (81). The slaves were the ones who brought attention to their oppressed living conditions by

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