From what I've seen and read, the freeing of the slaves was a political move and nothing else.
IIRC, he's on the record as saying that if he could have won the war without freeing the slaves, he would have.
Plus, look at the Emancipation Proclamation. It only freed slaves in Southern States. Sure, you could argue that it's because he didn't have the authority to free them in the North without Congressional approval, but effectively it was a strategic move to hurt the Southern economy. Before the slaves were freed, there wasn't much incentive for a southern slave to escape north because they were still legally property. In many cases, they were returned to their owners if captured by the Union Army. By declaring all those slaves free, however, it gave all those slaves a reason to escape and resist. Now the Union Army could confiscate and free slaves as well, allowing them to have a huge impact on areas of the South by just passing through (but without having to really solidify control over an area).
Meanwhile, slaves in the North remained slaves up until laws were passed to free them. Lincoln didn't touch them because >it would have harmed support for a war that already was becoming controversial >it would have harmed the economies of the Northern states that still had slaves
This. He was an abolitionist and thought slavery was wrong, but he wasnt about to do anything about it until the politics of the moment were right. People can argue this makes him a cold emotionless cynic or something, but to me it just makes him a smart politician.
>>559503 That very well could be the case. Lincoln was an absurdly good politician, and I certainly would hope he was anti-slavery. But there doesn't seem to be much evidence to support the idea that he was abolitionist because he hated slavery so much as because it was a convenient political tool.
While absence of evidence is hardly evidence in and of itself, Lincoln's missing speech could support the idea that he was opposed to the idea of slavery long before becoming deeply entangled in national politics.
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