Although President Abraham Lincoln personally hated slavery, his first concern as he contemplated the question of emancipating the slaves during the Civil War was the preservation of the United States. He wrote an open letter in the National Intelligencer newspaper in Washington, DC:
My paramount objective in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that.
Lincoln wanted to free the slaves, but he was concerned about doing it within the constitutional bounds of the presidency. Because of the limits imposed upon him by the constitution, he had to justify the emancipation of slaves as a necessary measure to help ensure the winning of the Civil War. He was also concerned about the reaction of the loyal border states, such as Kentucky, where...
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