Sen. Barack Obama is getting a lot of press for a line he wrote about Abe Lincoln.

“I cannot swallow whole the view of Lincoln as the Great Emancipator,” Obama said. “As a law professor and civil rights lawyer and as an African-American, I am fully aware of his limited views on race. Anyone who actually reads the Emancipation Proclamation knows it was more a military document than a clarion call for justice.”

America in the late 19th century was a country where race was a factor. Whether or not you think Lincoln was himself racist, he certainly must have understood the views of the country he was leading. You don’t right some entrenched wrongs too quickly, or you efforts get rejected. As it was, the Emancipation Proclamation was a radical change. It may have not been that “clarion call for justice” that Obama would like it to have been, but it laid the foundation for the call when it did come. I believe it would not have come at all without it.

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