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Black soldiers were among the bravest of those fighting in the Civil War Both free Blacks in the Union army and escaped slaves from the South rushed to fight for their freedom and they fought with distinction in many major Civil War battles Many whites thought Blacks could not be soldiers They were slaves They were inferior Many thought that if Blacks could fight in the war it would make them equal to whites and prove the theory of slavery was wrong Even though Black soldiers had to face much discrimination during the Civil War they were willing to fight to the death for their freedom Both free Blacks and slaves wanted to fight in the Civil War and volunteered from the start The free Blacks wanted to prove their equality and help the slaves win their freedom There was much opposition from whites because many thought that the Blacks were biologically inferior and could not be trusted with weapons They thought arming them would cause the slaves to rebel and because the war was supposed to be very short it would not be necessary Also a federal law dating back to 1792 stated Blacks could not fight in the United States Army Abolitionists those in the north who fought for Black rights argued that Blacks had fought in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 They had greatly strengthened those armies so they should be able to fight in the Civil War as well Abolitionists also thought it would teach the Blacks responsibility and self-reliance which they would need after the war On July 17 1862 Congress passed two acts allowing enlistment of Blacks in the Army but they were ignored The War Department still turned Blacks away when they tried to sign up to fight Then in September of 1862 Abraham Lincoln passed the Emancipation Proclamation which declared slaves within any State or designated part of a State then in
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