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The American Civil War destroyed slavery in the South. At first, most white Americans denied what would eventually seem self-evident. But black Americans saw clearly that the sectional conflict was their greatest opportunity for liberation. This volume of Freedom presents a documentary record of the transformation of the Civil War into a war against slavery, and the slaves' role in their own emancipation. The Destruction of Slavery shows the process by which a war for Union became a war for freedom. It demonstrates how three interrelated circumstances opened opportunities to slaves: first, the character of slave society; second, the course of the war itself; and third, the policies of the Union and Confederate governments. Together, they made emancipation an uneven, halting, and often tenuous process in which slaves played the central role.
Acknowledgements; Introduction; Editorial method; Symbols and abbreviations; The Destruction of Slavery 1861–1865: 1. Tidewater Virginia and North Carolina; 2. Lowcountry South Carolina, Georgia and Florida; 3. The district of Columbia; 4. Southern Louisiana; 5. The Mississippi Valley; 6. Maryland; 7. Missouri; 8. Kentucky; 9. The Confederacy; Index.