School Improvement in Maryland
Clarifications: Each clarification provides an explanation of an indicator/objective to help teachers better understand the skills and/or concepts.

Standard 5.0 History

Topic C. Conflict between Ideas and Institutions

Indicator 5. Analyze factors affecting the outcome of the Civil War

Objective e. Describe the political impact of Lincoln's decisions regarding the deployment of black regiments


The enactment of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 encouraged the enlistment of black troops into the Union armies who were suddenly fighting to end slavery in most of the South. In fact, the enrollment of African Americans in the military had been authorized by Congress the previous summer, and units had already formed. The initial intent was to use African Americans to fill labor battalions, thus freeing white troops for actual combat. African American regiments were soon engaged on the front lines, however, with important political consequences. Black leaders, abolitionists, and Republicans argued that, once the black man had served his nation through service, it was impossible to deny him freedom and equal rights. African American troops themselves demanded their rights in bold, new ways, as evidenced by their refusal to accept lesser pay. The Democratic Party actively opposed emancipation, the use of black troops, and equal pay for black soldiers, and blacks in the military faced segregation and discrimination. But, like the Emancipation Proclamation, the act of enlisting African Americans in the Union army marked a dramatic shift in Northern goals for the war. No longer was it a war to preserve the Union and its society as it existed before Fort Sumter. The war was now nothing less than a social revolution.

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