The Civil War, the End of Slavery, and Reconstruction
Also Being the Story of the Forced Labor Contracts, the Black Codes, and the Beginnings of Jim Crow
The official version of History teaches us that the Civil War was fought to end slavery and Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery once and for all. The uncolonized version of history—the one that looks behind the conqueror’s curtain—tells a very different story.
Abraham Lincoln did not free all the slaves with his famous Proclamation, nor did he have nearly as much inclination to do so as official History tells us.
Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863—nearly two years into the Civil War—but astonishingly, nearly a million people were still left legally enslaved under the Proclamation.1
The so-called “Border States” which hadn’t seceded from the Union—Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri—were allowed to keep enslaving 450,000 blacks, and the portions of Louisiana and Virginia which were occupied by Union federal troops, along with Union-occupied Tennessee, were allowed to maintain slavery over another several hundred thousand people.1 In fact, it wasn’t slavery that Lincoln wanted to overturn, but rather the economic and political supremacy that the South had over the rest of the country, and controlling the institution of slavery was the weapon he wielded to conquer the South.
By the time the Civil War had ended, on May 10, 1865, the South was bankrupt, entire cities and towns had been burned to the ground, and nearly 700,000 people were dead on both sides—620,000 soldiers and 50,000 civilians.2 But most importantly to the newly-emerging industrialists of the North, King Cotton was dead.
Though we’re taught that the Civil War was fought to end slavery, the Civil War did not bring about an end to slavery in the South, nor did the Union Army or the federal government prevent the South from continuing to enslave the Black population.
So why was the Civil War fought? The same reason every war is fought: money, power, and territory.