My paramountobject in this struggle is to save the Union and is noteither to save or destroy slavery (Bailey et al. 461). Lincoln of course had been for the restriction ofslavery. His campaign for the United States Senate seatfrom Illinois was based upon the principle that a housedivided against itself could not forever stand. Therefore, it was a matter of great concern to thesouthern and border slave holding states, that he waselected as the sixteenth President of the United States. Lincoln recognized that if the Union was to bepreserved he had to convince so called, border statesthat they should not leave.
In the days following hiselection, he centered his argument against secession onthe basis that, the states having joined the Union, andratifying the constitution, could not withdraw from thissolemn compact. In fact, in Lincolns Inaugural address heconverted the oath of office from a pledge to, protect,defend, and preserve the constitution, to a pledge toprotect, defend, and preserve the Union. Lincolntherefore, interpreted the union of states asindissoluble on the basis of his oath of office. (Safire3).
It was this position along with careful moves thatpreserved the Union in the border states. In Missourifederal troops occupied the capital before a bill ofsecession could be voted upon. In Maryland theLegislature was disband before it could secede. Therefore, even though 13 southern states withdrew, 27states remained (Fepperson 1).
However, by the Summer of 1862, the war had beengoing on for over 18 months, and there was no sign ofpeace or victory in sight. Originally, conceived as aninducement to the southern states to rejoin the Union,Lincoln made his proclamation effective only in statesin rebellion against the Union. On July 22, 1862,Lincoln informed his cabinet that he intended to freethe slaves that were in active rebellion (MSN). I do order and declare that all persons held asslaves within said designated slave states, and parts ofstates are and henceforth shall be free.
. . (Lincoln). The emancipation proclamation declared .
The finalproclamation issues on January 11, 1863 freed the slavesonly in the states that had rebelled: Arkansas, Texas,Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina,North Carolina, and parts of Louisiana and Virginia. The reason for the proclamation may have stemmedthe desire to keep Britain and France out of the war. Since both countries had abolished slavery they couldnot enter a war that had as its central issue the end orperpetuation of slavery. However, the more likely explanation of the issuingof the proclamation was Lincolns belief that he had toconvert the wars aim beyond maintaining the status quo.
The North had decidedly become anti-slavery since thewars beginning. Many states had passed their ownanti-slavery laws. Therefore, when Lincoln announcedthe proclamation he was attempting to get out in frontof popular opinion and not lose his ability to see thewar to a successful conclusion and-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-