January 1, 1863 marked a pivotal moment in the American Civil War. On this date the Emancipation Proclamation, the preliminary of which was issued by President Lincoln on September 22, 1862, took full and permanent effect, thus changing the Union’s ultimate war goal. The Civil War was no longer being fought to preserve the antebellum Union but rather, in the words of Lincoln, was to be a war of “subjugation…the [old] South” was to be destroyed in favor of “new propositions and ideas.”Once the aim of the war changed for the Union, so too did its leaders. The harsh and unpopular actions that were necessary to prevent the prolonged bloody carnage of continual war were tasked to three men. Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and William T. Sherman innately understood what needed to be done in order to end the war and they courageously performed these duties.
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