What was the Emancipation Proclamation?What did it do, what did it not do, and why? Explain Lincoln’s motivation behind the Proclamation and the timing of its delivery.

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larrygates eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in those states in rebellion as of January 1, 1863.  That would mean only those slaves in the Confederacy. It did not free slaves in the "border states" which had slaves and remained in the Union, and it specifically exempted certain areas which were under Union control. In essence, it freed no slaves whatsoever. There is some debate as to Lincoln's motivation; however a telling element is that it was issued shortly after the Battle of Antietam. Lee had invaded Maryland hoping that a victory in the North would induce England and possibly other European countries to recognize the Confederacy. By issuing the Proclamation, Lincoln precluded English recognition of the Confederacy, as the English were opposed to slavery. Obviously, it also gave the North the moral high ground, and raised the possibility of slave revolts which would further weaken the South; but my personal opinion is that he wished to preclude the possibility of European recognition or even entry into the war on behalf of the South.