There has been one document in America's history that has withstood the test of time and continues to "work- and serve its purpose even today in modern times. It has endured harsh criticism and, at the same time, received much praise since its conception in 1863. I am speaking, of course, about the Emancipation Proclamation. Many documents drafted during the Civil War period were stepping stones to the abolishment of slavery in America. Not all documents created during this time had a major impact on the institution of slavery; the Emancipation Proclamation, however, was the beginning of the end for slavery. It was not the first emancipation, but it was the one that worked. The proclamation had immediate and long term effects on our nation. It played an important role in the anti-slavery movement from the smallest towns of the United States all the way to the shores of Europe. .
The civil war did not start as a crusade to end the institution of slavery. The original intention of the Union was to suppress the rebellion created by the seceded states because of a controversy over the future of slavery in the western territories. The pressure on President Lincoln for a full on emancipation began to grow following the eruption of aggression from the South. Lincoln had wanted a gradual emancipation instead of such a sudden liberation. Lincoln received pressure from both sides. Abolitionists and republican radicals urged him to take advantage of this opportunity to put down slavery for good; he could not discount the views of northern democrats and the border states, though; a full emancipation might cause more secession from the Union. He was determined in his quest for the abolition of slavery, but also prudent. In the first couple of years of the war, congress slowly dismantled the institution by outlawing slavery in the territories and abolishing it in the nation's capital -a deliberate reversal of the Dred Scott decision.