In this video from the PBS series Looking for Lincoln, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and historian David Blight examine President Abraham Lincoln’s mixed motivations for issuing the Emancipation Proclamation. They conclude that while Lincoln ultimately recognized the moral righteousness freeing the slaves, his first and primary concern was strategic: it was the best way to rally the North and strike at the heart of the South’s economy. Gates and Blight then join a roundtable discussion of Lincoln scholars debating the legal authority of the Proclamation and its special meaning for African Americans.
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