Slaves Essay, Research Paper
The Real Motivation of the Civil War
The Civil War did not begin as a war of
emancipation. Nor did it, in the beginning seek to
change the institution of slavery where it existed.
Instead the stated goal of the Civil War was to restore
the Union, slavery and all. The reason for this approach
was more practical than ideological. ?My paramount
object in this struggle is to save the Union and is not
either to save or destroy slavery? (Bailey et al. 461).
Lincoln of course had been for the restriction of
slavery. His campaign for the United States Senate seat
from Illinois was based upon the principle that a house
divided against itself could not forever stand.
Therefore, it was a matter of great concern to the
southern and border slave holding states, that he was
elected as the sixteenth President of the United States.
Lincoln recognized that if the Union was to be
preserved he had to convince so called, ?border states?
that they should not leave. In the days following his
election, he centered his argument against secession on
the basis that, the states having joined the Union, and
ratifying the constitution, could not withdraw from this
In fact, in Lincoln?s Inaugural address he
converted the oath of office from a pledge to, ?protect,
defend, and preserve the constitution,? to a pledge to
protect, defend, and preserve the Union.? Lincoln
therefore, interpreted the union of states as
indissoluble on the basis of his oath of office.(Safire
It was this position along with careful moves that
preserved the Union in the border states. In Missouri
federal troops occupied the capital before a bill of
secession could be voted upon. In Maryland the
Legislature was disband before it could secede.
Therefore, even though 13 southern states withdrew, 27
states remained (Fepperson 1).
However, by the Summer of 1862, the war had been
going on for over 18 months, and there was no sign of
peace or victory in sight. Originally, conceived as an
inducement to the southern states to rejoin the Union,
Lincoln made his proclamation effective only in states
in rebellion against the Union. On July 22, 1862,
Lincoln informed his cabinet that he intended to free
the slaves that were in active rebellion (MSN).
? I do order and declare that all persons held as
slaves within said designated slave states, and parts of
states are and henceforth shall be free…? (Lincoln).
The emancipation proclamation declared . The final
proclamation issues on January 11, 1863 freed the slaves
only in the states that had rebelled: Arkansas, Texas,
Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina,
North Carolina, and parts of Louisiana and Virginia.
The reason for the proclamation may have stemmed
the desire to keep Britain and France out of the war.
Since both countries had abolished slavery they could
not enter a war that had as its central issue the end or
perpetuation of slavery.
However, the more likely explanation of the issuing
of the proclamation was Lincoln?s belief that he had to
convert the wars aim beyond maintaining the status quo.
The North had decidedly become anti-slavery since the
wars beginning. Many states had passed their own
anti-slavery laws. Therefore, when Lincoln announced
the proclamation he was attempting to get out in front
of popular opinion and not lose his ability to see the
war to a successful conclusion and