Did the Emancipation Proclamation mark the end of slavery, or prolong it?

“With the Proclamation, the Union army was open to blacks. (…) The more whites had to sacrifice, the more resentment there was, particularly among poor whites in the North, who were drafted by a law that allowed the rich to buy their way out of the draft for $300. And so the draft riots of 1863 took place, uprisings of angry whites in northern cities, their targets not the rich, far away, but the blacks, near at hand.”

“A black man in Detroit described what he saw (…) He heard one white man say: “If we are got to be killed up for Negroes then we will kill every one in this town.”


Although Howard Zinn acknowledges the passing of the Proclamation to be a huge milestone for slaves as it led to the 13th amendment ending the institution of slavery, he makes the important point that blacks still continued to receive undeserved physical and verbal abuse as they had, during the period of slavery. When the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 was passed, it was originally designed to declare slaves free in areas still fighting against the Union, aka the South. This opened up the opportunity for Blacks to join the Union Army. At this time, poor whites in the North were extremely upset about the fact that they were drafted by a law which privileged wealthy whites to buy their way out of serving in the Union Army for $300. But instead of placing their anger on the upper-class whites, they displaced their pent up frustration and outrage on the black community, attacking black men, women, and even children. Zinn mentions this in order to highlight the point that although slavery was ended, many aspects of it were not, such as the white man’s conviction of blacks as being socially inferior and of less worth than whites. Another aspect of slavery which continued was the severe mistreatment and physical abuse of blacks, despite the law.