Was the Emancipation Proclamation & the Civil War really about ending slavery?

3 Answers
Feb 27, 2018

Some say Yes, some say No


It depends upon who you ask and their point of view. For those who were against slavery - the answer is a resounding Yes. War was the only hope of ending slavery because the Southern states refused to change their opinion.

For those who were in favor of slavery - or against big government in general, the Civil War was about the Federal government interfering in states' rights. They felt the issue of slavery should be decided by individual states and that they should be able to live however they saw fit.

The southern states loved slavery. They had a thriving business (cotton, etc) with almost zero overhead. There was no workforce that they had to pay a salary to or anything like that. They did have to house and feed and occasionally buy replacements, but their overhead costs were incredibly small. That's how they were able to build such huge mansions on their plantations.

I hope this helps. Message me if you need more details.

Feb 27, 2018

No, the Civil War was about saving the Union


Lincoln said in his inauguration address stated clearly that "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so."

In a letter to Horace Greeley the year later, he declared that his purpose was to preserve the union "If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it". Greeley was an abolitionist whereas Lincoln was not.

The emancipation proclamation did not free anyone since it officially freed the slaves in teritories that the Union did not control. Slaves in Kentucky or West Virginia were not freed for instance. It was a war measure aimed at convincing slaves to run away and join the Union forces.

Lincoln was racist, he did not believe that Blacks and Whites were equal and contemplated deporting African Americans back to Africa. " I will say, then, that I am not nor have ever been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the black and white races, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with White people;(...)and I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the White race."

More information:http://www.history.com/news/5-things-you-may-not-know-about-lincoln-slavery-and-emancipation

Mar 1, 2018

Yes The Civil War was started because of Slavery and the Emancipation formalized the issue of Slavery as the goal of the Civil War.


The political changes in the 1850's set up the conflict between the slave states and the free states that would result in the Civil War.

The Compromise of 1850, the practice of popular sovereignty, the powerful fugitive slave law, and the Dred Scott supreme court decision had made the future of the United States uncertain.
Before the 1850's there was a clear division between the slave states and free states. The political decisions of the 1850's dissolved these divisions and made it possible for the entire United States to become either entirely slave or entirely free.

Steven Douglas the author of the concept of popular sovereignty had won the senate election against Abraham Lincoln, who opposed the spread of slavery. Result of popular sovereignty were the conflict in "bleeding " Kansas. the raid on Harper's Ferry by John Brown, and riots to block the apprehension of escaped slaves.

In the presidential election of 1860 Abraham Lincoln won. While not advocating the immediate abolition of slavery Lincoln vowed to stop the spread of slavery and work toward the slow death of slavery. The election of a president that opposed slavery caused the south to declare independence and succeed from the Union.

Slavery was indeed the cause of the start Civil War by the south. The north under Lincoln was more interested in preserving the union than the abolition of slavery.

The south was seeking assistance of foreign governments, such as England and France. England and France had economic interest is working with an independent south that would eliminate tariffs on manufactured good from their countries. However these countries had outlawed slavery and could not politically support a war that was being fought to eliminate slavery.

The Emancipation of Proclamation proclaimed that the if the north won the Civil War Slavery would be abolished in the south. While the Emancipation of Proclamation did not immediately free any slaves it made the support of the south by European Powers impossible.

The Emancipation Proclamation changed the war from a conflict to preserve the union as against state rights, to a conflict to abolish slavery.