Emancipation and the Quest for Freedom
NPS Primary Theme: Though most Northerners embraced abolition as a practical measure rather than a moral cause, the abolition of slavery emerged as one of two dominant objectives of the Union war effort. The war resolved in a legal and constitutional sense the single most important moral question that afflicted the nascent republic—an issue that prevented the country from coalescing around a shared vision of freedom, equality, and nationhood and hampered the emergence of the United States as a moral and economic leader on the world stage.
- NPS Subtheme: For millions of enslaved Americans, war meant liberation followed by a complex journey into freedom. Runaway slaves were so intent on achieving their freedom, they forced the issue of emancipation onto the Union agenda. But freedom did not mean racial equality; indeed, those who were most committed to the ideals of freedom that underlay the Constitution were often persecuted for their efforts to achieve and sustain true freedom. The quest for equality by former slaves, their descendants, and other Americans of color was an issue left undecided by the war.
- NPS Subtheme: Freedom for four million former slaves stimulated myriad responses from white Americans—ranging from ready acceptance to reluctant tolerance to violent opposition.
NOTE: Please use the comments section below to chronicle your progress with this theme throughout the remaining weeks of the course. Begin by outlining how your group decided to work with the theme (e.g., assigning one theme to one person or dividing themes up between team members) and then outline in detail, at least once each week, the work that you have done toward crafting your three podcast proposals.