Slavery was a big issue in America for very long time. Some people thought to leave it alone, like Southern plantation owners or any people who owned slaves. Then there were persons who opposed slavery, like Lincoln and most of the northern people. Some historians say that Civil War happened because of the issue of slavery and others think it happened because the events outlined by James Mcapherson in his article "Who Freed the Slaves?" that Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and the Union's victory helped slaves to gain their freedom. Barbara Fields wrote that the slaves did not need nor wait for anybody to help them and essentially freed themselves. I think that without Lincoln's help, it would have taken a lot longer for slaves to become free and if the South would have won the war, maybe not even for many decades, if ever.
Barbara Fields wrote that "Lincoln forced his secretary of war to delete from his report a paragraph to free and to arm slaves." and that Lincoln was " the principal opponent of slavery on moral grounds that precipitated it. " Then she says slaves enlisted in the army in order to free themselves. She thinks that the Union army did not have enough soldiers so they used black slaves as bullet catchers." In some parts of the Union army looked and hunted down slaves to return them back to their owners. All these arguments she points out support the thesis that Lincoln was for slavery and did not really care about them at all. That his main goal was saving the union at the expense of the death of black slavery. .
James Mcapherson also wrote about who freed slaves : "The clear answer is the war. Without the Civil War there would be no confiscation act, no Emancipation Proclamation, no Thirteenth Amendment and certainly no self-emancipation, and almost certainly no end of slavery for several more decades at least. "Without Lincoln's election in 1860, the Southern states would not have seceded in 1861, the war would not have come when and as it did, the door of emancipation would not have been open as it was.