The Civil War between the Union and the Confederacy was a pivotal series of events that had profound consequences on the history in the United States and abroad. Among others, it yielded one of the most critical documents in the history of the country, the Emancipation Proclamation. Although the Proclamation did not immediately free the entire enslaved population of the country, it changed the course of the war and contributed to the subsequent abolition of slavery (Corbett 395). Apart from its immediate effects, the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation has had a lasting influence on the present-day society.
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The Emancipation Proclamation allowed African American men to enroll in the military as Union soldiers (Corbett 399). Lincoln wrote that “such persons [held as slaves] of suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States” (para. 9). Lincoln acknowledged the personhood of the formerly enslaved individuals and affirmed their freedom by granting them the right to serve in the military. Not only did it help the Union by increasing its manpower, but it also was a commitment to change the status quo.
The Emancipation Proclamation is an essential document because it reinforced the notion that a person was the master of their own life and will. Followed by the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, the Proclamation was a statement and assurance of freedom. It is a significant historical piece in today’s political and social environment because it reminds us that all persons are free and should be treated as such. It is a meaningful statement that should inspire similar challenging but morally right decisions for today’s society, such as in the fields of economy, journalism, and policymaking.
Corbett, Scott P., et al. U.S. History. Edited by Sylvie Waskiewicz. OpenStax, 2014.
Lincoln, Abraham. The Emancipation Proclamation. HistoryNet, 1863, Web.