Why Did Lincoln's Views Change

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Before Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, he supported compensated emancipation of slaves. He also had views during his time period that would be considered racist today and did not want to enlist blacks troops for the Union Army. However, did his views toward African Americans change once he signed the Emancipation Proclamation and when he decreed that African Americans could fight for the Union Army? I believe his views did change. There is clear evidence that over the duration of the Civil War and up to the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, he had been reconsidering his previous beliefs about slavery and its future in America. For example, when the Civil War began, Lincoln believed that the only dispute the North …show more content…

In the summer of 1862, Lincoln said himself, “If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.” However this was before he signed the Emancipation Proclamation. The same summer he said this, the border states had rejected compensated emancipation. This was when he realized that the emancipation of slaves was important. He stressed that emancipation would “strike at the heart of the rebellion.’’ He also told Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Welles, “We must free the slaves or be ourselves subdued. The slaves were undeniably an element of strength to those who had their service, and we must decide whether that element should be with us or against us.” From this point on was probably when he no longer supported compensated emancipation or the colonization of African Americans and instead supported …show more content…

He wrote to the Andrew Johnson, the Union military governor of Tennessee, that “The bare sight of fifty thousand armed, and drilled black soldiers on the banks of the Mississippi, would end the rebellion at once. And who doubts that we can present that sight, if we but take hold in earnest.” Lincoln originally did not want to enlist black troops before signing the emancipation proclamation as there was a common myth that African American could not fight. The fact that Lincoln no longer believed this myth and believed that African Americans could actually help end the war proves that his attitude toward African Americans had

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