The Tipping Point of Victory in the Civil War

  • 2013

The Tipping Point of Victory in the Civil War

Author:
Mark Rothert
Abstract:

This essay considers the political and personal dilemmas President Abraham Lincoln faced in determining the necessity and ramifications of issuing the Emancipation Proclamation. Analyzing the Confiscation Acts of 1861 and 1862, the Militia Act of 1862, Lincoln's works, and the historiography of African Americans' role in the American Civil War, it becomes evident that African Americans provided the additional weight needed to tip the scales of socioeconomic and military power in favor of a Federal victory.

For the past forty years, Civil War historians have argued the question of who freed the slaves. Regardless of whether Lincoln or the slave agency emancipated the slaves, this essay proposes setting aside recent historiography and addressing the more pertinent question of how racially and ethnically different parties came together to save the Union and create a new freedom for African Americans, women, and immigrants. The extensive bibliography of primary, secondary, and journal sources supports the argument and the significance of this essay.