The emancipation proclamation was a presidential proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln from September 1862-January 1863. The proclamation culminated in the abolishment of slavery and end of the civil war. Two approaches have been developed seeking to explain the wisdom that informed the proclamation. Some historians posit that the proclamation was a calculated political move that was meant to put an end to the civil war and unify the United States of America. Others state that the proclamation was a reflection of the visionary nature of Abraham Lincoln. This paper will prove that the motivator behind the proclamation was politically instigated. The paper will also provide various points to support this assertion.
Abraham Lincoln refrained from making any public statements on slavery immediately after the outbreak of the civil war in 1861. Abraham Lincoln had be freshly inaugurated as the 16th president of the United States. He was keen on ensuring that the country did not fail during his tenure. His initial statements on the civil war indicated that it was a measure to ensure that the union survived. In fact, the president steered away from any statements denoting that the war was meant to end slavery. This means that the main driver for the war was political and not moral issue of repugnancy of slavery. However, it is important to note that there was mounting pressure for the president to issue the proclamation from the leftwing republicans and abolitionists. The moral standpoint of the president was also against the propulsion of any form of slavery.
Despite the belief held by the president concerning the moral repugnancy of the institution of slavery, morality was not the driving force behind the proclamation. The supporting evidence lies in the timing during which the president issued the proclamation. If the president was a visionary, he would have issued the proclamation immediately after his inauguration. However, this was not the case. Lincoln waited until when there was no other resort for ending the war before playing the morality card. Before issuing the proclamation, the president was in a tight spot whereby the north had lost numerous battles and European nations were increasingly identifying with the confederacy. Lincoln had to act in an unprecedented manner in order for him to save the union. Issuance of the proclamation would eventually lead to revolts among the slaves in the southern states weakening the steady performance of the confederacy.
In conclusion, Abraham Lincoln was more of a savvy politician than a visionary. The issuance of the proclamation was a shrewd move by the president aimed at restoring the political order. Abraham Lincoln hoped that the proclamation would weaken the progress of the southern states in the civil war hence saving the union from likely collapse. The moral motive played took a back seat role in the decision making process even though it could have influenced the decision.