The Emancipation Proclamation

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What were two limitations of the Emancipation Proclamation?

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When people think of the Emancipation Proclamation, they often immediately associate it with the freeing of the slaves in the American South during the Civil War. The fact is that the Emancipation did not really free all of the slaves. Instead, the Emancipation Proclamation was more of a political tool used by Lincoln and the Union to hurt the cause of the Confederacy.

One of the major limitations of the Emancipation Proclamation was the fact that it was only issued in regards to states in rebellion against the Union. This meant that states such as Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware, and Missouri, which stayed loyal to the Union but still maintained slavery, were not affected by the Emancipation Proclamation.

The second major limitation of the Emancipation Proclamation deals with the same issue. While the Emancipation Proclamation claimed that slaves in states in rebellion against the Union were free, it would not be enforced until the Union Army moved in to take territory. The Confederates had seceded from the Union and had their own president, Jefferson Davis. The Confederates did not see Abraham Lincoln as their president and thus did not feel the need to obey Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. Slavery would not officially end until the Thirteenth Amendment was passed after the Civil War had ended.

So you may ask why the Emancipation Proclamation was issued if it really didn't lead to the freeing of many slaves. There are a few reasons for this, mostly centering around the issue of the morality of slavery. Lincoln was afraid that European nations such as Britain and France were considering providing support for the Confederacy. Britain and France, however, had banned slavery years earlier and saw it as morally wrong. By issuing the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln solidified that the Civil War was about slavery and that the Confederacy was in defense of slavery. This created a situation where it became very difficult for Britain and France to support the Confederacy, due to their moral stance on slavery. The Emancipation Proclamation also allowed for the military service of African Americans. The United States military would receive a significant boost in manpower from the recruitment of African American soldiers.

Although the Emancipation Proclamation did not lead to the end of slavery, and was very limited in that sense, it did have a big impact in the outcome of the Civil War. The Emancipation Proclamation prevented countries such as France and Britain from supporting the Confederacy and led to a manpower boost to the already numerically superior Union forces.

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There were a few limitations of the Emancipation Proclamation.  The Emancipation Proclamation stated that the slaves were free in the South. This was one limitation. Since it was viewed as a military action against the South, it was legal for Lincoln to issue it. However, it did not apply to the Border States in the Union that still had slavery. Since it wasn’t a military action for the North, the president couldn’t free the slaves since the slaves were considered property. The Constitution prevented the president from taking people’s property. Thus, the Emancipation Proclamation did not free the slaves in the North.

A second limitation is that it did not free the slaves in the South. The South viewed itself as an independent nation. Therefore, they didn’t have to follow orders from President Lincoln since they believed he wasn’t their president. As a result, the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t free slaves in the South either. In reality, it was a symbolic document since no slaves were freed by it being issued.

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