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The emancipation proclamation of 1863 was one of the most important decrees issued by the president of the United States. That single declaration set the United States on a path to full integration of her people, and laid the foundation for the success that the nation now enjoys. Life during the civil war of 1862-1865 brought untold suffering to the inhabitants of the Southern States. Despite the suffering and disruption on people’s way of life, it also brought cooperation between the people of all races in the Southern States as they grappled with life’s challenges.
The articles The emancipation proclamation, 1863, and Life in the Civil War, 1862-1865, present an informative account of events that took place then, and the profound effects that they brought to the United States and her citizens. The first article was a declaration from the then President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. He issued a decree abolishing slavery across all areas of the United States that had been liberated from the civil war. This declaration was very important as it brought freedom to so many people who had been reeling under the yoke of slavery. Some of them were second-generation slaves, which means that they had been born in slavery, had had no idea what being free meant. The declaration ended centuries of debilitating slavery.
The second article details the tribulations that people underwent during the civil war. The war had disrupted the everyday life of the citizens inhabiting the Southern States. Schools were closed, and women were forced to take up tasks that traditionally belonged to men. The story is told from the position of a white mother living among mostly Negroes. The war brought untold suffering to the citizens, but it also brought out resilience and cooperation between the people. They were forced to work together to endure the suffering, but their resilience, cooperation, and hard work ensured that they realized their goals.
Slavery in the United States has a long history, dating back to the year 1619 when the first African slaves arrived in Jamestown, Virginia (Horton and Horton, 2005). They were about thirty in number and joined a group of one thousand Englishmen as indentured servants. It existed for close to two and a half centuries before President Lincoln issued that famous declaration. The declaration was of immense significance as it liberated thousands of slaves. Living a life of bondage is not only humiliating, but it also divides society into castes. Slavery disenfranchised generations of mostly black people, effectively denying them the opportunity to attain an education, build respectable families, and achieve their goals and ambitions (Schneider and Schneider, 2007). Slavery had committed thousands of black families to forced labor for generations.
The declaration set the stage for the United States to begin the long journey to racial and social integration and equality. Initially, President Lincoln had reservations about abolishing slavery. It was his conviction that freeing the slaves would jeopardize efforts to maintain the Union. The fears were unfounded since the nation become stronger and today, it is a world superpower with a racially integrated society. Due to the abolition of slavery, many black people have gone on to achieve extraordinary fetes. Some of them have excelled in sports, in music, acting, civil service, and academics. In politics, some have conquered previously insurmountable fetes. One hundred and forty five years after the abolishment of slavery, American voters elected the first black president. This means that slavery denied many black people the opportunity to excel in a number of disciplines, and that its abolishment presented them with the opportunity to realize their potential.
The article Life in the Civil War, 1862-1865, is told from a white woman’s point of view. Hers is the only white family amidst a black community. Despite the racial difference, the woman cooperates with her black neighbors in spinning and weaving clothes for their families. The civil war transformed the Southerners’ lives tremendously. Initially, they had been an agricultural society, bit the war prompted them to diversify and innovate in order to acquire essentials. Their children could not attend school to acquire an education, and yet the parents were too preoccupied with looking for essentials to provide home tuition.
The civil war played an important role in fostering cooperation between families. The war also enabled the community to learn new ways of making ends meet. They learnt to improvise in order to acquire basic commodities like coffee, sugar, and spinning their own clothes.
They worked together to repair a broken bridge and on the farms to produce enough food for their families. It is worth noting that the white woman trusted a certain old Joe as her husband’s nurse from infancy. That she loved and gave all her trust to Joe shows that the community had lived in harmony despite racial differences.
In conclusion, the emancipation proclamation is the most fundamental step taken by President Lincoln’s administration. It enabled the nation to achieve social and racial equality, which played a pivotal role in ensuring that all the virtues that the founding fathers of the nation fought for were realized. Similarly, the civil war of 1862-1865 was fundamental in fostering cooperation between members of different races. It also enabled the community to be alive to the fact they could produce commodities locally to cover for the shortfall occasioned by the war. It shows that in times of adversity, people tend to unite and confront their common enemy.