149 Years Ago …

… Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

That measure transformed the American Civil War.  Yes, it remained a war to preserve the Union, but, as Lincoln was fond of saying, “broken eggs cannot be mended.”  I believe than Lincoln had come to the realization that any Union victory that did not lead to the destruction of slavery would not be a lasting triumph.  Nevertheless, it also complicated Reconstruction in particular ways (although who’s to say that reconstruction with slavery preserved would not have presented its own challenges?); it also eroded support from Democrats even as it reassured radical Republicans and abolitionists that, even if Lincoln did not fully measure up to their expectations, he was moving in the right direction.  For African Americans, free as well as enslaved, it helped make the Civil Warr their war, too, and they had played a role in moving things in that direction.

How do you assess the impact of the Emancipation Proclamation?