Read the background RESOURCES BELOW related to the Emancipation Proclamation (including the document itself) and respond to each of the four quotes about it. Explain why you agree or disagree with each of the assessments of it.
- “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)
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