Lincoln doesn’t deserve credit
A recent letter writer said Abraham Lincoln "stopped a great evil" with the Emancipation Proclamation. Anyone who actually reads that document quickly finds this untrue.
First, it was not issued until the fall of 1862 – more than a year after the war began – and it actually freed no one at all. The proclamation "frees" slaves in the seceded states – meaning the Confederacy, where Lincoln had no authority whatsoever.
The subsequent paragraphs are really interesting. They specifically exclude Northern slaveholding states and territory retaken by the Federal Army, such as the city of New Orleans.
The entire document is no more than a clever propaganda tool whose true aim was to keep England and France, which supported the South, from entering the war. England sided with the South’s claim that the war was an illegal invasion of a sovereign nation by Washington. Making the war about slavery gave the North a "moral high ground."
In fact, prior to the war, Lincoln offered the Corwin Amendment, which would have protected slavery in perpetuity if seceded states returned to the Union. They refused. Lincoln cared no more for the plight of humans in bondage than most whites of his time.
My feeling is slavery was about to die out anyway. Farm machinery would have made it impractical. But to give Lincoln credit for abolishing it is false.