Hero-Final - Dr. Mayo-Bobee HIS 391E 11/20/07 Hero Worship:...

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Dr. Mayo-Bobee HIS 391E 11/20/07 Hero Worship: A Fallacy Amongst Everyone Some kill for the title. Some write sweeping political reforms for the title. Some run a ball down the field for the title. Whatever the task may be, men and women vie for the coveted title of ‘hero.’ Going down in history as a hero is an amazing feat, and one not many can claim. Unfortunately, it isn’t an all-encompassing title. Simply calling a person a hero does not make it so. Being put through the tests of time, many would-be heroes fall short, and are regarded in a new light. Abraham Lincoln is one of those men. From the moment a child is inducted into the American education system, Lincoln is taught to be one of the greatest presidents of all time. Indeed, this idea is sustained through adulthood as well. In a poll done by C-SPAN in 1999, Lincoln was ranked number one in greatest presidents. ABC later confirmed these results with a poll of its own, with Lincoln coming in first in their poll as well. But is Lincoln deserving of this praise? Is he in fact a hero of his time? What should the first thought be when thinking of Lincoln? The answer to that is easy: slavery. The first association with Lincoln should always be the issue of slavery. Any citizen of the United States should theoretically think of Lincoln as the heralded ‘champion that ended slavery.’ Herein lies the problem, for this isn’t exactly true. Many Americans probably believe the Emancipation Proclamation freed all of the slaves. While in theory this is what should have happened, it is not actually the case.
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To understand the strategy of the Proclamation, one has to first understand what the Proclamation would mean. During the Civil War era, the South was initially crushing the Northern forces. In a cunning attempt to undermine the strength of the South, Lincoln freed the slaves…in the South. Now, therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief, of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion…And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons. (Featured Document: The Emancipation Proclamation) In the ‘rebellious’ states only, were slaves freed. Slaves in the Border States that were still teetering on the edge of which side to join were not free, and slaves in the North (although not numerous) were not free. If slavery was paramount in Lincoln’s mind, would he not have freed
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This note was uploaded on 06/27/2008 for the course HIS 391E taught by Professor Mayo-bobee during the Fall '07 term at UMass (Amherst).

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Hero-Final - Dr. Mayo-Bobee HIS 391E 11/20/07 Hero Worship:...

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