Why is the Emancipation Proclamation important
The Emancipation Proclamation was issued by Abraham Lincoln, the President of the United States, at the time of American Civil War. The primary objective of the Proclamation was to mark the end of slavery. It provided a well-defined legal framework for the liberation of approximately 4 million slaves in the Confederate States of America. The Proclamation comprises of two executive orders; the first one was issued on 22nd September 1862, and the second order came into effect on 1st January 1863.
During the American Civil War, while the South disaffiliated to perpetuate slavery, the North vowed to abolish it. President Lincoln fully understood that he couldn’t eliminate slavery unless he saved the Union. He also knew that he wouldn’t be able to save the Union, until he put an end to slavery. The Emancipation Proclamation was specifically designed to help the Union win the Civil War as well as eradicate slavery.
When President Lincoln first recommended the plan to the Congress in 1848, he envisaged gradual emancipation that would extend for a period of 35-years. In addition to being gradual, the process was planned to be voluntary and compensated. However, Lincoln’s plan could be implemented only if the Union won the Civil War. As the result, the Proclamation was modified to its present form and put into action.
From the military perspective, the Proclamation of Emancipation helped the North register a dramatic win over the South. As innumerable slaves escaped from the shackles of slavery, the Confederate lost its indispensable laboring force. After the declaration of the Proclamation, hundreds and thousands of European laborers rallied behind the Northern side with the hope that slaves all over the world would gain freedom.
The Emancipation Proclamation promised a better future to million of slaves of Afro-American origin. It marked the end of their degradation, and served as a watershed in their quest to acquire recognition and dignity in the country of their birth. The Proclamation also encouraged them to aspire for full citizenship.
The Emancipation Proclamation helped to turn the tide in favor of the Union. Before the enforcement of the Proclamation, both Britain and France supported the Confederacy. However, after the implementation of the Proclamation of Emancipation, the scenario changed dramatically.
France and Britain had already abolished slavery, and if they continued to extend support to Confederacy, then they would be supporting slavery. Thus, the balance tilted more towards the side of the Union. In this manner, the Emancipation Proclamation not only helped the Union to win the American Civil War and eliminate slavery, but it also eased tensions between the Union and Europe.