What Exceptions Limit The Effect Of Lincoln’s Proclamation

What exceptions limited the effect of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation?

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martinjmurphy | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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I don’t believe the exceptions limited the effects of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.  Lincoln was very clever in the exceptions he placed in the Proclamation.  Lincoln only freed slaves in areas that were in rebellion against the United States.  First of all, Lincoln did not feel he had the authority to free all slaves.  He used his power as commander in chief of the armed forces to free those slaves in areas in rebellion against the United States.  Lincoln’s main goal in fighting this war was to preserve the Union.  The Emancipation Proclamation was one way he tried to win the war.  Lincoln announced the Proclamation in September of 1862, but it did not go into effect until January of 1863.  This gave the southern states time to consider the Proclamation.  Lincoln hoped that some Confederate states would rejoin the Union before January, 1863, in hopes that they could keep their slaves, since the Proclamation would only affect states that were in rebellion against the U.S. on January 1.  If any of the Confederate states rejoined the Union before January 1, they could keep their slaves since they were no longer in rebellion against the United States.  Also, Lincoln purposely did not free the slaves in the border states because he feared that if he did, then those states would join the Confederacy.  So, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, because of its exceptions, was very effective.  It turned the war into a fight to end slavery, giving the north more incentive to fight.  And with its exceptions, it kept the border states in the Union.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The major exception that limited the effect of the Emancipation Proclamation was the exception that was made for slaves who were in areas that were still controlled by the United States.  That included, for example, the border states that allowed slavery but did not secede and become part of the Confederacy.  (These were Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky and Missouri.)

The Emancipation Proclamation freed only those slaves who lived in areas that were in a state of rebellion against the United States.  This limited its impact because any slave in an area that was not rebelling was not freed by the Proclamation.

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