Today, September 22, 2020, is considered the 158th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation! But, as a recent article pointed out, January 1st could be considered the anniversary as well. The article also educated me on several things I didn’t know. Including:
The Emancipation Proclamation was used to confirm the point of the Civil War. Prior to President Lincoln issuing the Proclamation, some thought the war was being fought over economics. The north needed the raw resources of the south to manufacture their goods, but the south was angry the north was making the retail profits of their goods sold at wholesale rates. Some thought the war was to preserve the union, to hold the country together as the original 13 colonies started out. The Proclamation confirmed the war was over ending the terrible practice of slavery.
A couple of European countries, who still practiced colonialism, were still eyeing North America as a great place to govern. While they had no problem with imperial rule, most European countries by this time were opposed to slavery, and the Emancipation Proclamation made it necessary for monarchies to wait to see how the war turned out before making a bid on our soiled soil.
Very relevant today, the Proclamation calls for freedom to serve in the military. Throughout our nation’s history there has been a correlation between citizenship and military service. Former slaves were allowed to serve in the military after being freed. Following WWII, Native Americans were finally granted citizenship after serving for Uncle Sam. And, the LGBTQ+ community is still having its eligibility to serve in the military questioned. This is not a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” issue, this is an issue we’ve had the answer to for 158 years. Freedom is complicated, it really doesn’t need to be.