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The battle ended in a stalemate and the loss of life was appalling yet the day offered a turning point in the war and in American history. Due to Lee’s retreat, the politicians of the North declared Antietam a victory thus providing the impetus President Lincoln needed to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. This document did not “free the slaves,” as is so often misunderstood, but it marked the decline of the CSA. The government of the South was given an ultimatum by Lincoln. He issued the preliminary Proclamation five days after Antietam with the stipulation that if the Confederacy did not surrender their arms and reunite with the nation before January 1, 1863, the Proclamation would become the permanent law of the land.
The war waged on long after 1863 began and the Emancipation Proclamation became law. The positive wartime ramifications were numerous: exacerbation of the manpower shortage in the South; black troops fighting in the North; the refusal of England and France to recognize the CSA while they fought a nation attempting to end slavery. The humane and ideological consequences need not be discussed as they are quite evident.