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African American Soldiers of the Civil War

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Stephanie Filippetti September 23, 2008 IB History of the Americas: Juniors Mrs. Foster African American Soldiers of the Civil War In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation opened the door for African Americans to enlist in the Union Army. Although many had wanted to join the war effort earlier, they were prohibited from enlisting by a federal law dating back to 1792. (African Americans During the Civil War) President Lincoln had also feared that if he authorized African American enlistment, border states would be more likely to secede from the Union. By the end of the war, approximately 180,000 African-American soldiers had joined the fight (African Americans During the Civil War). ...read more.


Lincoln believed that this would weaken the Confederacy and strengthen the Union. The recruitment of the newly freed African Americans took laborers from the South and placed these men into the Union army. President Lincoln also felt that seeing the African Americans fighting against the Confederacy would have a psychological effect upon the Southern troops. As of January 1, 1863, the North began recruiting African Americans soldiers but, recruitment was slow at first. In the spring of 1863 only two African Americans regiments existed, however, this grew to sixty regiments by December 1863. By 1864, the number of African Americans regiments had expanded to over 80. ...read more.


As other issues, such as slavery's expansion into the territories, sharpened the sectional divide, abolitionism and its vocabulary of freedom and race toleration gained basic legitimacy. Although most white Americans still saw abolition as a threat to the carefully balanced peace between Northerners and Southerners, and between African Americans and whites, abolitionists had made emancipation a part of the nation's moral imagination. With the coming of war, there was no better time than a moral crusade to free the enslaved. President Abraham Lincoln's shift toward emancipation must be viewed as an extraordinary transformation. Without a doubt, Lincoln's response had strategic objectives. President Lincoln hoped that the Emancipation Proclamation would eventually persuade the South to become a part of the Union again. 1 Filippetti ...read more.

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