The Emancipation Proclamation

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Who does Lincoln request a favor from in the Emancipation Proclamation?

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Even before the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln was opposed to the institution of slavery. As far back as the 1850s, he declared that slavery was "an unqualified evil to the Negro, the white man, and the state." However, when the Civil War broke out, he was unable to make the anti-slavery issue an official motivation, because slavery was then allowed under the US Constitution. He therefore announced that the war was for the preservation of the Union.

The Emancipation Proclamation was a wartime measure that he issued as Commander-in-Chief of the US Army and Navy. It did not apply to the African Americans in the Northern states, but only to those in the rebellious Southern states. In fact, the document specified exactly which states, and in some cases specific counties and parishes of some states, were affected by the decree. Lincoln declared that "all persons held as slaves" in the areas he had designated "henceforth shall be free." This declaration shifted the motivation of the war from preservation of the Union to an issue of freedom.

In the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln gave directives to "the military and naval authorities" of the Union to "recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons." However, this would not have been considered a favor, but an order from their Commander-in-Chief.

The people that Lincoln asked a favor of in this document were the freed slaves. It would have been considered a favor because he had no jurisdiction over them or legal right to ask anything of them. This was the favor Lincoln asked of the former slaves that he had declared free:

And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defense; and I recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.

So Lincoln asked the freed slaves not to rise up in violence and to work for wages when and where they could. Near the end of the proclamation, he also stated that these freed slaves could join the army or navy of the Union if they were "of suitable condition."

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