One of the main jobs of historians is to interpret the past by reviewing primary documents, scholarly secondary sources, and then creating an analysis of this research. After reading your text and reviewing the assigned materials, consider each of the following assessments of the Emancipation Proclamation. Do agree or disagree with each of the four statements regarding the Emancipation Proclamation? Why? Be sure to consider the context of the author in your analysis.
“The act makes clear that the lives of our heroes have not been sacrificed in vain. It makes a victory of our defeats.” Ralph Waldo Emerson (1862)
“We show our sympathy with slavery by emancipating slaves where we cannot reach them and holding them in bondage where we can set them free.” William Seward (1863)
“[The Emancipation Proclamation was] the central act of my administration [and] the great event of the nineteenth century.” Abraham Lincoln (1865)
“I cannot swallow whole the view of Lincoln as the ‘Great Emancipator.’ Anyone who actually reads the Emancipation Proclamation knows it was more a military necessity than a clarion call for justice.” Barack Obama (2005)
This assignment should be at least 300 words and contain your reactions or questions about some specific issue within the historical narrative which you find compelling. For full credit, your paper must not simply sum up the reading or repeat points made there. Rather, I’m looking for you to create your own interpretation, or discuss some original insight. Include citations as needed.
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