- ›› Eras and Sub-Eras : African Americans and Emancipation
From long before the United States claimed its independence through revolution or established its governmental structure based on its grand Constitution, the contradiction of a freedom-loving people tolerating and profiting from depriving their fellow human beings of freedom was central to any understanding of the nation’s formation.
Lincoln’s presidential “war powers” only gave him authority to reach slaves in rebel-held territory. Above all, Lincoln worried about the federal courts, which were reluctant to recognize any such presidential war powers. The only way to make emancipation stick, and to cleanse the nation entirely from slavery, was to amend the Constitution.