Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsSternhell, Yael A.
EditorSheehan‐Dean, Aaron
Number of Volumes2
PublisherWiley Blackwell
CityHoboken, NJ

This chapter explores the historiography of emancipation both on the grassroots level and in the realm of high politics. It focuses on a few key debates among historians, such as the extent of slave agency in emancipation, the political nature of slave resistance, and the role of gender in shaping the emancipatory experiences of men and women. Moving to the literature on the Emancipation Proclamation, it analyses different scholarly interpretations of Lincoln's approach to emancipation and his place within the larger effort of the Republican Party to end slavery. Finally, this chapter explores the heated debate known as “Who freed the slaves?” between scholars focused on Federal policy and those studying emancipation on the ground. Recent scholarship is coming close to resolving this controversy by combining both levels of historical analysis and focusing on the interplay between the two.

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