Essay on Comparative Analysis of Research Articles on Slavery

1444 Words May 15th, 2014 6 Pages
WHO FREED WHOM?
A Comparative Analysis of Two Articles Regarding the Emancipation of Slavery

Many historians have debated over the significance of the Emancipation Proclamation, in addition to arguing over who should receive the credit for the freeing of slaves in the Civil War era. Two historians, James M. McPherson and Ira Berlin, respectfully express their contrasting views over these topics in this assignment. While I absolutely agree that the slaves in the Civil War era played a pivotal role in emancipating themselves and securing their civil liberties, it was unequivocally the actions of President Lincoln that led to their eventual freedom.
McPherson, a professor at Princeton University and Civil War historian, describes in
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If they did, then they probably would have organized a militia and revolted to try and free themselves long before the emancipation proclamation. It was only through the option to join and fight in the Civil War, that they were given the opportunity for freedom. McPherson suggests that Lincoln did more than just make a moral case against slavery; he used his political genius to build a campaign against it. As a politician, he never moved too far ahead of his constituents. In 1860, he ran for president on a platform that made his election possible. He opposed the expansion of slavery, but at that point did not call for its abolition (McPherson, 1996). Lincoln instead incrementally moved the public opinions of the North against slavery and turned a war for the Union into one for emancipation.
I personally feel that after reading this article, Berlin’s views tend to center around the smaller facts such as whether or not the Emancipation Proclamation was the direct cause to the abolition of slavery. It may not have been the direct cause, however it did change the focus of the Civil War and compelled the nation to decide on a final solution to the issue of slavery. It was only after the doors had been opened to the possibility of emancipation that the slaves began to pressure

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