Proclamation Analysis

Civil War was a dark and brutal time in our history. It was full of hatred and
bloodshed, but it was also a crucial period packed full of important speeches,
documents, and leaders. Primary documents and speeches such as: the Pacific Railway Act, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the Gettysburg Address were major turning
points in American history.

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a well-deserved victory on a battlefield in Gettysburg, Lincoln travels to that
same field, a few weeks later, to deliver a short speech later recognized as
the Gettysburg Address. He starts his speech off by making a connection between
the Declaration of Independence and his own cause. For example, Lincoln starts
off by saying, “… our fathers brought fourth, on this continent, a new nation,
conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created
equal.” (Lincoln 1). By using small phrases and a reliable, previously accepted
document Lincoln makes his cause seem more credible. However, he quickly moves
attention from the credibility of his cause to pray on the emotional side. “We
have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting-place for
those who here gave their lives, that this nation might live.” (Lincoln 1).
Lincoln uses the audiences’ sense of grief and pride to inspire the crowd to better
support the freedom of slaves. What started as a small speech to honor fallen
troops turned into something much bigger. Lincoln’s address rang with words of
much needed motivation, and that contributes to one of the many reasons this
speech is so proudly remembered.

            Only a few short months later,
Lincoln won his fight against the confederacy and signed the Emancipation
Proclamation to finalize the end of the war against slavery. The Emancipation
Proclamation, declared on the first of January 1863, freed all slaves in the
rebellious states. “I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves
within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall
be free…” (Lincoln 6). By declaring this Lincoln designates all former slave states
as free states; with the exception of the few border states taken from the
confederacy during the war. Since Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri
were taken from the Confederacy during the war, those states were already
required abide by Union laws. While writing the Emancipation Proclamation
Lincoln takes his audience in mind, but primarily focuses on getting his
message across. He uses little emotional appeals because the subject attracts
enough emotional appeal on its own. However, Lincoln uses very strong language,
repetition, and scenarios to enhance the stability of the Emancipation

language and repetition are both prominent in the Emancipation Proclamation as
well as the Gettysburg Address.  Both
addresses use uplifting words such as: brave, honored, gracious, and faithfully
to inspire his audiences. Repetition serves a similar purpose to the strong
language. Lincoln applies the repetition of motivating phrases to the
Gettysburg Address as well as the Emancipation Proclamation to seem more
confident and strong with his points. Adding repetition to his speech made it
easier for the crowd remember. Therefore, making his speech more widely spread.

            One hundred years after Lincoln
signed the Emancipation Proclamation, African Americans still struggled with
freedom and equality. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech I Have A Dream is a perfect demonstration of the struggles and
injustice African Americans still endured. Dr. King applied similar persuasive
techniques to his speech that Lincoln used in multiple of his documents. Emotional
language is one of the common themes the two leaders share. The use of
uplifting language serves as an inspiration to their audiences, and helps
encourage the audience to keep fighting when it seems impossible. When Dr. King
uses phrases like, “… the chains of discrimination… exile in his own land…robbed
of their identity…” (King 1). he ignites a rage and sense of duty among the
African Americans. Meanwhile, words like honored, brave, justice, freedom, and
security put the motivation to keep fighting in their hearts. Lincoln does a
similar thing during a civil war. By using emotional, inspiring language he
encourages the abolitionists to continue to fight against slavery.

though Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation freeing all slaves in the
states, African Americans still struggled long afterwards. One hundred years
later African Americans still struggled with similar injustices the slaves
endured. Even now different races still struggle with many injustices that can
be related back to the Emancipation Proclamation. Though many have fought long
and hard for racism to end and equality to be a part of everyday  life, racism will never truly end. 


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