Freeing the slaves: an examination of emancipation military policy and the attitudes of Union officers in the Western Theater during the Civil War

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dc.contributor Kohl, Lawrence Frederick
dc.contributor Frederickson, Kari A.
dc.contributor Huebner, Andrew J.
dc.contributor Grimsley, Mark
dc.contributor.advisor Rable, George C. Teters, Kristopher Allen 2017-04-26T14:22:26Z 2017-04-26T14:22:26Z 2012
dc.identifier.other u0015_0000001_0001135
dc.identifier.other Teters_alatus_0004D_11261
dc.description Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
dc.description.abstract This dissertation examines the policies and attitudes of Union officers towards emancipation in the western theater during the Civil War. It looks at how both high-ranking and junior Federal officers carried out emancipation policy in the field and how this policy evolved over time. Alongside army policy this study discusses how western officers viewed emancipation, black troops, and race in general. It ultimately determines how much officers' attitudes towards these issues changed as a result of the war. From the beginning of the war to the middle of 1862, Union armies in the West pursued a very inconsistent emancipation policy. When Congress passed the Second Confiscation Act in July 1862, army policy became much more consistent and emancipationist. Officers began to take in significant numbers of slaves and employ them in the army. After President Abraham Lincoln issued the final Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863, the army increased its liberation efforts and this continued until the war's end. In fact, the army became the key instrument by which emancipation was implemented in the field. But always guiding these emancipation policies were military priorities. As much as they could, officers freed slaves for the army's benefit, focusing on taking in able-bodied males who could be employed as laborers, pioneers, and soldiers. Western Union officers were practical liberators. The attitudes of western-theater officers towards emancipation and black troops reflected these policies. Most officers eventually came to support emancipation (at first there was significant opposition to the measure among officers), largely for practical reasons, believing it was necessary to win the war. Similarly, they supported the use of black troops because they could help the army with valuable manpower. So most officers saw both freeing the slaves and enlisting blacks as soldiers as simply ways to crush the rebellion rather than uplift an oppressed race. Reinforcing this general lack of sympathy for slaves were the deep racial prejudices of western officers. Officers viewed blacks as an inferior race and this did not change as a result of the war. These intense racial prejudices would have profound consequences for the postwar period.
dc.format.extent 246 p.
dc.format.medium electronic
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language English
dc.language.iso en_US
dc.publisher University of Alabama Libraries
dc.relation.ispartof The University of Alabama Electronic Theses and Dissertations
dc.relation.ispartof The University of Alabama Libraries Digital Collections
dc.relation.hasversion born digital
dc.rights All rights reserved by the author unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subject.other American history
dc.subject.other Military history
dc.subject.other African American studies
dc.title Freeing the slaves: an examination of emancipation military policy and the attitudes of Union officers in the Western Theater during the Civil War
dc.type thesis
dc.type text University of Alabama. Dept. of History History The University of Alabama doctoral Ph.D.

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