The crux of the matter lies in the American Civil War that single-handedly spearheaded the antislavery movement and resulted in the Emancipation Proclamation. It was a contention between the northern free states and the bordering slave states known as the United States of America or the Union (Wikipedia 2008), and the southern states known as the Confederate States of America, where slavery was well established, hence, also known as the slave states. The southern states were led by Jefferson Davis, and the Union was led by Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party (Wikipedia 2008).
His one quote can fully illuminate Lincoln's position regarding slavery before the Civil War, when he said "My paramount object in this struggle, is to save the Union and it is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it..." (Race, Racism and the Law 1998). Lincoln was a man of law, and upholding the Constitution was paramount to him in all matters of politics. He would not, or rather, could not, take any steps that went beyond the parameters of the Constitution. So when it came to freeing the slaves, he was just as much concerned about the issue as was permitted by the red tapes of law, and which was crucial for the survival of the Union.
Abraham Lincoln was always against slavery, and always expressed his views against it on moral grounds (Slavery & Emancipation). Even before the Civil War and the need to draft the Proclamation, he held adverse feelings for the practice of slavery in that it sullied the image of the States and the liberty that they so vehemently upheld. Quoting him, "The monstrous injustice of slavery... deprives our republican example of its just influence in the world- enables the enemies of free institutions, with plausibility, to taunt us as hypocrites- causes the real friends of freedom to doubt our sincerity, and especially because it forces so many really good men amongst ourselves into an open war with the very fundamental principles of civil liberty" (Slavery & Emancipation).
However, more importantly, he was against the antislavery extremists, too (Mr. Lincoln and Freedom 2008). This might seem surprising, however, it has certain elements that need to be understood. It is obvious that he was antislavery because it went against the charter of freedom that was associated with the white man (Mr. Lincoln and Freedom 2008), and because the States were unified about the concept of liberty. But he was also against those who viciously condemned slavery, for he feared that their actions might take them to the extremes where the well-being and the safety of