Lecture 15 - Lincoln, Leadership, and Race; Emancipation as Policy

The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845 to 1877

Yale

Professor Blight follows Robert E. Lee's army north into Maryland during the summer of 1862, an invasion that culminated in the Battle of Antietam, fought in September of 1862. In the wake of Antietam, Abraham Lincoln issued his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, a document that changed the meaning of the war forever. Professor Blight suggests some of the ways in which Americans have attempted to come to grips with the enigmatic Lincoln, and argues that, in the end, it may be Lincoln's capacity for change that was his most important characteristic. The lecture concludes with the story of John Washington, a Virginia slave whose concerted action suggests the central role American slaves played in securing their own freedom.

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