"The Emancipation Proclamation didn't free the slaves." - Printable Version
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"The Emancipation Proclamation didn't free the slaves." - Willinois - 12-09-2010 08:55 AM
Once in a while I hear this statement made by someone attempting to diminish the role Lincoln played in ending slavery. It's partially true.
The Emancipation Proclamation freed very few slaves on the day it was issued. It only freed those in areas still rebelling against the Union. Of course, Lincoln had no actual power to free those slaves in areas under Confederate control. At least not when it was issued.
It also allowed states to maintain legal slavery if they rejoined the union. It permitted people to keep their slaves in border states under Union control, like Kentucky.
These facts are often pointed out to make the Proclamation seem like an insignificant act on Lincoln's part. There were people in his time who felt the same way. It angered abolitionists who wanted more decisive action to end slavery immediately. It angered the other side, who believed the war was about saving the Union, not slavery. And it didn't entice any states to rejoin the Union, as Lincoln hoped it might. In the short term, it was an unpopular, failed attempt at compromise.
But that's not the whole story. The Emancipation Proclamation did free slaves as Union armies advanced into Confederate territory. That became official policy for the remainder of the war as Sherman marched into the Deep South. After it was issued, many of those Northern regiments would be made up of African-American soldiers. It established beyond doubt that they were waging a war to end slavery.
Additionally, it set the stage for the introduction of a constitutional amendment ending slavery, which Lincoln wrote. Although it didn't seem like much right away, the Proclamation did lead to the end of slavery.
Why bring this up? Obama idolizes Lincoln and has long studied him.
What does Obama mean when he talks about taking a long-term view? What does he mean when he talks about things that may seem insignificant but will create structural change for the future? What does he mean by saying that he'll do things which aren't popular now but need to be done for long-term benefit?
This is what means. There are people who don't believe that much of significance has happened for the past two years, just as there were people in Lincoln's time who thought the Emancipation Proclamation was a useless attempt at compromising with the South. Despite the compromises he's forced to make, Obama will keep working methodically to move the ball forward.
Over time, the results will become plainer to see, even if Obama gets little credit for laying the groundwork. Sometimes it will happen in undramatic ways, such as EPA regulation of greenhouse gasses or the Federal Reserve's role in completing details of the new financial reform law.
Progress in America has always come step-by-step, through struggle and disappointment. This period of progress will be no different.
RE: "The Emancipation Proclamation didn't free the slaves."* - Dagnabit - 12-09-2010 12:00 PM
Obama seems very willing to just keep moving forward and letting the chips fall where they may. He doesnt seem a bit interested in grandstanding for applause.
He definitely focused on long term goals, it would have been interesting to see what he would have gotten accomplished by now had it not been for the financial meltdown and all the time that consumed.
RE: "The Emancipation Proclamation didn't free the slaves."* - Hekate - 12-09-2010 04:59 PM
Let me kick this, Willinois. It's a great essay.
Looking at how fast Obama has worked, two things about Obama and Time have occurred to me: one is that he is a young man in a hurry, and doesn't know how long he has to get things done. The other is that he takes the long view -- very long, as in the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. He's not trying to get the job done wearing 7-league boots, and the soles of his shoes will be worn out before the end. But if God (and the idiot American people) give him time, he will make that journey.
(12-09-2010 08:55 AM)Willinois Wrote: Once in a while I hear the subject line statement made by someone attempting to diminish the role Lincoln played in ending slavery. It's partially true.
RE: "The Emancipation Proclamation didn't free the slaves."* - Willinois - 12-10-2010 04:09 PM
(12-09-2010 04:59 PM)Hekate Wrote: The other is that he takes the long view -- very long, as in the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. He's not trying to get the job done wearing 7-league boots, and the soles of his shoes will be worn out before the end.
This is typical for people who work on civil rights and community organizing campaigns, like Obama did. You have to take the long view and learn to keep fighting after defeats and partial victories. I was happy to see Obama try to give people a little history lesson about that at his press conference.
RE: "The Emancipation Proclamation didn't free the slaves."* - Willinois - 12-10-2010 04:11 PM
This is clearly one of his big reasons why he loses support with the Cenk crowd. Some people don't want to pay attention to results. They want someone like Kucinich to shout and pound their fist about how progressive they are. The fact that Obama has already accomplished 100x more progressive goals than Kucinich ever has doesn't register with some people.
RE: "The Emancipation Proclamation didn't free the slaves." - suzie - 12-13-2010 08:21 AM
RE: "The Emancipation Proclamation didn't free the slaves." - mstinamotorcity - 12-18-2010 09:34 PM
I always say our President and do sometimes forget even though he is a Deomcratic President he is also President to Republicans. And I will admit there are times when I get totally pissed at how he makes some of his moves,but my support of the overall picture never eludes me. I realize when he does compromise he gets the best deal he can for the majority with the least amount of casulties and collateral damage. Peoples lives. When most are self-serving.And when I listen to the Democratic Party style republican spin-offs I try and keep my composure. Partially because the Dems who have just become dems are still like babies being fed formula. They are not breast fed because if they were they would have been born Members of the Democratic Party. Which in turn would have supplied them with immunities and necessary nutrients to help fight republicanism.:roflmao:And I know after finding out what Dubya did to them its like giving them table food before six months.
We are truly blessed,lucky,fortunate,and and would have been understanding, if when he got in office and saw that crap, He didn't tell us Hell no I can't!!!!!!!