In class we have been learning about the events leading up to the abolition of slavery. A major point of this lesson was to determine if the acts of freedom were granted by powers from above or below. Power from above is change made by someone in authority, often a reaction to the slaves. Power from below is just the opposite. It is when a group of people without power create change.
In terms of the civil war and abolition of slavery, this change was granted by power from above. When Union troops moved through Southern cities the slaves would flock in. The slaves crowded the city streets enough to make the troops complain to higher powers. These complaints made their way to the president and from there he spoke the emancipation proclamation. This stated that slaves in rebelling states were free. Later on the 13th amendment was declared by congress. From this slavery was abolished.
Although power from above was used in the civil war, I do not believe that it is the only way to achieve things. People when they come together have the power to accomplish great things.