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Emancipation Proclamation

Emancipation Proclamation


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Most members of the Republican Party believed that the Constitution protected slavery in the states. However, some Radical Republicans such as Thaddeus Stevens and Charles Sumner, argued that after the outbreak of the American Civil War the president had the power to abolish slavery in the United States.

In May, 1861, General Benjamin F. Butler, a strong opponent of slavery, was placed in command of Fort Monroe in Virginia. Soon afterwards, runaway slaves began to appear at the fort seeking protection. The slaveowners demanded that the runaways should be returned. Butler refused, issuing a statement that he considered the slaves to be "contraband of war". Butler's action was welcomed by those involved in the struggle against slavery and he immediately became a favourite with Radical Republicans.

Abraham Lincoln believed that Butler's action was unconstitutional. However, after a Cabinet meeting it was decided not to reprimand Butler. Three months later, Major General John C. Fremont, the commander of the Union Army in St. Louis proclaimed that all slaves owned by Confederates in Missouri were free. This time Lincoln decided to ask Fremont to modify his order and free only slaves owned by Missourians actively working for the South.

When John C. Fremont refused to back down he was sacked. Lincoln wrote to Fremont: "Can it be pretended that it is any longer the government of the U.S. - any government of Constitution and laws - wherein a General, or a President, may make permanent rules of property by proclamation." Fremont was replaced by the conservative General Henry Halleck. He immediately issued an order forbidding runaway slaves from seeking permission to be protected by the Union Army.

Radical Republicans were furious with Lincoln for sacking John C. Fremont. The Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, William Fessenden, described Lincoln's actions as "a weak and unjustifiable concession in the Union men of the border states. Whereas Charles Sumner wrote to Lincoln complaining about his actions and remarked how sad it was "to have the power of a god and not use it godlike".

The situation was repeated in May, 1862, when General David Hunter began enlisting black soldiers in the occupied district under his control. Soon afterwards Hunter issued a statement that all slaves owned by Confederates in his area (Georgia, Florida and South Carolina) were free. Lincoln was furious and despite the pleas of Salmon Chase, the Secretary of the Treasury, the instructed him to disband the 1st South Carolina (African Descent) regiment and to retract his proclamation.

On 19th August, 1862, Horace Greeley wrote an open letter to the Abraham Lincoln in the New York Tribune about forcing David Hunter to retract his proclamation. Greeley criticized the president for failing to make slavery the dominant issue of the war and compromising moral principles for political motives. Lincoln famously replied on 22nd August, "My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and 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."

Despite this public dispute with Horace Greeley, Lincoln was already reconsidering his views on the power of the president to abolish slavery. He wrote that the events of the war had been "fundamental and astounding". He admitted that these events had changed his mind on emancipation. He was helped in this by William Whiting, a War Department solicitor, who told him that in his opinion, the president's war powers gave him the right to emancipate the slaves.

After consulting with his vice president, Hannibal Hamlin, Lincoln wrote the first draft of his Emancipation Proclamation. When Lincoln told his Cabinet of his plans to free the slaves in the unconquered Confederacy, Montgomery Blair, the Postmaster General led the attack on the idea. Blair argued that if Lincoln went ahead with this it would result in the Republican Party losing power. William Seward, the Secretary of State, agreed with Lincoln's decision but advocated that it should not be issued until the Union Army had a major military victory.

On 17th September, 1862, George McClellan defeated Robert E. Lee at Antietam. It was the most costly day of the war with the Union Army having 2,108 killed, 9,549 wounded and 753 missing. The Confederate Army, who were now have serious difficulty replacing losses, had 2,700 killed, 9,024 wounded and 2,000 missing.

Although far from an overwhelming victory, on 22nd September, Lincoln felt strong enough to issue his Emancipation Proclamation. The statement said that all slaves would be declared free in those states still in rebellion against the United States on 1st January, 1863. The measure only applied to those states which, after that date, came under the military control of the Union Army. It did not apply to those slave states such as Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri and parts of Virginia and Louisiana, that were already occupied by Northern troops.

Lincoln signed the final draft of the Emancipation Proclamation on the 1st January, 1863. There were two major chances to the document published on the 22nd September. This included the omission of the passage that the government would "do no act or acts to repress such persons in any efforts that they may make for their actual freedom". It was argued by conservatives in Lincoln's Cabinet that this passage suggested that the government was willing to support slave rebellions in the South.

The other change was that that under pressure from Radical Republicans, Lincoln agreed to accept a clause accepting former slaves in the Union Army. Over the next two years six regiments of US Colored Cavalry, eleven regiments and four companies of US Colored Heavy Artillery, ten batteries of the US Colored Light Artillery, and 100 regiments and sixteen companies of US Colored Infantry were raised during the war. By the end of the conflict nearly 190,000 black soldiers and sailors had served in the Union forces.

He should not allow himself to be outstripped by his Cabinet, by Congress, by the Major Generals, and by the people. He is the head of the nation, to which it naturally looks for forward movements. But in his late modification of Fremont's order, it almost appears as if he desired to go backward.

When General Fremont proclaimed freedom to the slaves of rebels in Missouri, it was greeted with almost universal joy throughout the free States. The popular instinct at once recognized it as a blow struck at the heart of the rebellion. The order that rebels should be shot did not carry with it half the significance of this proclamation of freedom of their slaves. But the President at once modified it, so far as its anti-slavery features went beyond the Confiscation Act. Their slave property must be held as more sacred than any other property; more sacred than their lives; more sacred even than the life of the Republic. Could any policy be more utterly suicidal?

It has been made as a military measure to meet a military exigency, and should, in my judgment be suffered to stand upon the responsibility of the Commanding General who made it. It will be cordially approved, I am sure, by more than nine tenths of the people on whom you must rely for support of your administration.

No commanding general shall do such a thing, upon my responsibility, without consulting me.

I do not intrude to tell you - for you must know already - that a great proportion of those who triumphed in your election, and of all who desire the unqualified suppression of the rebellion now desolating our country, are solely disappointed and deeply pained by the policy you seem to be pursuing with regard to the slaves of the Rebels.

We think you are strangely and disastrously remiss in the discharge of your official and imperative duty with regard to the emancipating provisions of the new Confiscation Act. Those provisions were designed to fight slavery with liberty. They prescribe that men loyal to the Union, and willing to shed their blood in the behalf, shall no longer be held, with the nation's consent, in bondage to persistent, malignant traitors, who for twenty years have been plotting and for sixteen months have been fighting to divide and destroy our country. Why these traitors should be treated with tenderness by you, to the prejudice of the dearest rights of loyal men, we cannot conceive.

Fremont's Proclamation and Hunter's Order favoring emancipation were promptly annulled by you; while Halleck's Number Three, forbidding fugitives from slavery to Rebels to come within his lines - an order as unmilitary as inhuman, and which received the hearty approbation of every traitor in America - with scores of like tendency, have never provoked even your remonstrance.

If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery. I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and 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; and if I could do it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that.

That on the 1st day of January, A.D. 1863, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

The first of January, 1863, was a memorable day in the progress of American liberty and civilization. It was the turning-point in the conflict between freedom and slavery. A death blow was then given to the slaveholding rebellion. Until then the federal arm had been more than tolerant to that relict of barbarism. The secretary of war, William H. Seward, had given notice to the world that, "however the war for the Union might terminate, no change would be made in the relation of master and slave." Upon this pro-slavery platform the war against the rebellion had been waged during more than two years. It had not been a war of conquest, but rather a war of conciliation. McClellan, in command of the army, had been trying, apparently, to put down the rebellion without hurting the rebels, certainly without hurting slavery, and the government had seemed to coöperate with him in both respects.

Charles Sumner, William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, Gerrit Smith, and the whole anti-slavery phalanx at the North, had denounced this policy, and had besought Mr. Lincoln to adopt an opposite one, but in vain. Generals, in the field, and councils in the Cabinet, had persisted in advancing this policy through defeats and disasters, even to the verge of ruin. We fought the rebellion, but not its cause. And now, on this day of January 1st, 1863, the formal and solemn announcement was made that thereafter the government would be found on the side of emancipation. This proclamation changed everything.

One morning my master got the news that the Yankees had left Mobile Bay and crossed the Confederate lines, and that the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed by President Lincoln. Mistress suggested that the slaves should not be told of their freedom; but master said he would tell them, because they would soon find it out, even if he did not tell them. Mistress, however, said she could keep my mother's three children, for my mother had now been gone so long.

All the slaves left the plantation upon the news of their freedom, except those who were feeble or sickly. With the help of these, the crops were gathered. My mistress and her daughters had to go to the kitchen and to the washtub. My little half- brother, Henry, and myself had to gather chips, and help all we could. My sister, Caroline, who was twelve years old, could help in the kitchen.

The Emancipation Proclamation sent forth from the pen of Abraham Lincoln, who eventually fell a martyr for American freedom, was the sublimest and most important State paper that had ever been sent out from the Executive Mansion at Washington to the American people. This legislative act elevated Lincoln above the high level of America's greatest statesman. He was a man eminently fitted for the supreme position which he occupied. He saw the peril of his country and knew that the important moment had come. In taking the strong, wise step which he did, he saved the country from ruin and disgrace, and, thank God, made over four million hearts to rejoice.

I know, as fully as one can know the opinions of others, that some of the commanders of our armies in the field who have given us our most important successes believe the emancipation policy and the use of the colored troops constitute the heaviest blow yet dealt to the rebellion, and that at least one of these important successes could not have been achieved when it was but for the aid of black soldiers. Among the commanders holding these views are some who have never had any affinity with what is called Abolitionism or with the Republican Party politics, but who hold them purely as military opinions.


Background and Significance of the Emancipation Proclamation

The Emancipation Proclamation was a document signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, freeing the people enslaved and held in the states in rebellion against the United States.

The signing of the Emancipation Proclamation did not free a great many of those enslaved in a practical sense, as it couldn't be enforced in areas beyond the control of Union troops. However, it signaled an important clarification of the federal government's policy toward enslavement, which had been evolving since the outbreak of the Civil War.

And, of course, by issuing the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln clarified a position which had become contentious during the first year of the war. When he had run for president in 1860, the position of the Republican Party was that it was against the spread of enslavement to new states and territories.

And when the pro-slavery states of the South refused to accept the results of the election and triggered the secession crisis and the war, Lincoln's position on enslavement seemed confusing to many Americans. Would the war free those enslaved? Horace Greeley, the prominent editor of the New York Tribune, publicly challenged Lincoln on that issue in August 1862, when the war had been going on for more than a year.


Emancipation Proclamation - History

Emancipation Proclamation
Digital History ID 4012

Author: Abraham Lincoln
Date:1863

Annotation: President Abraham Lincoln frees slaves in areas in rebellion against the United States.

The nation was embroiled in the Civil War when President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. While the Proclamation did not instantly liberate a single slave, it did allow black men to serve in the Union Army and Navy. Nearly 200,000 black men fought for the Union and, ultimately, for human freedom.

Although the wording of the Proclamation resounded liberation for slaves, it was actually quite restricted in meaning. It only pertained to those states that had seceded from the Union. It excluded Confederate areas the North already controlled. And perhaps most significantly, slaves’ freedom was dependent on a Union victory.


Document: The Emancipation Proclamation January 1, 1863

By the President of the United States of America:

Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:

"That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

"That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof, respectively, shall then be in rebellion against the United States and the fact that any State, or the people thereof, shall on that day be, in good faith, represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State, and the people thereof, are not then in rebellion against the United States." Now, therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief, of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose so to do publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days, from the day first above mentioned, order and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof respectively, are this day in rebellion against the United States, the following, to wit:

Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, (except the Parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the City of New Orleans) Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkley, Accomack, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth[)], and which excepted parts, are for the present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.

And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.

And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defense and I recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.

And I further declare and make known, that such persons of suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.

And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-seventh.


Transcript of the Proclamation

Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:

"That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

"That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof, respectively, shall then be in rebellion against the United States and the fact that any State, or the people thereof, shall on that day be, in good faith, represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State, and the people thereof, are not then in rebellion against the United States."

Now, therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief, of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose so to do publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days, from the day first above mentioned, order and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof respectively, are this day in rebellion against the United States, the following, to wit:

Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, (except the Parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the City of New Orleans) Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth[)], and which excepted parts, are for the present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.

And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.

And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defence and I recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.

And I further declare and make known, that such persons of suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.

And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-seventh.

By the President: ABRAHAM LINCOLN
WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

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Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, September 22, 1862

By the President of the United States of America.

I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America, and Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy thereof, do hereby proclaim and declare that hereafter, as heretofore, the war will be prosecuted for the object of practically restoring the constitutional relation between the United States, and each of the States, and the people thereof, in which States that relation is, or may be, suspended or disturbed.

That it is my purpose, upon the next meeting of Congress to again recommend the adoption of a practical measure tendering pecuniary aid to the free acceptance or rejection of all slave States, so called, the people whereof may not then be in rebellion against the United States and which States may then have voluntarily adopted, or thereafter may voluntarily adopt, immediate or gradual abolishment of slavery within their respective limits and that the effort to colonize persons of African descent, with their consent, upon this continent, or elsewhere, with the previously obtained consent of the Governments existing there, will be continued.

That on the first day of January in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State, or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free and the executive government of the United States,including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

That the executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States, and part of States, if any, in which the people thereof respectively, shall then be in rebellion against the United States and the fact that any State, or the people thereof shall, on that day be, in good faith represented in the Congress of the United States, by members chosen thereto, at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State and the people thereof, are not then in rebellion against the United States.

That attention is hereby called to an Act of Congress entitled “An Act to make an additional Article of War” approved March 13, 1862, and which act is in the words and figure following:

“Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That hereafter the following shall be promulgated as an additional article of war for the government of the army of the United States, and shall be obeyed and observed as such:
“Article-All officers or persons in the military or naval service of the United States are prohibited from employing any of the forces under their respective commands for the purpose of returning fugitives from service or labor, who may have escaped from any persons to whom such service or labor is claimed to be due, and any officer who shall be found guilty by a court martial of violating this article shall be dismissed from the service.
“Sec.2. And be it further enacted, That this act shall take effect from and after its passage.”

Also to the ninth and tenth sections of an act entitled “An Act to suppress Insurrection, to punish Treason and Rebellion, to seize and confiscate property of rebels, and for other purposes,” approved July 17, 1862, and which sections are in the words and figures following:

“Sec.9. And be it further enacted, That all slaves of persons who shall hereafter be engaged in rebellion against the government of the United States, or who shall in any way give aid or comfort thereto, escaping from such persons and taking refuge within the lines of the army and all slaves captured from such persons or deserted by them and coming under the control of the government of the United States and all slaves of such persons found on (or) being within any place occupied by rebel forces and afterwards occupied by the forces of the United States, shall be deemed captives of war, and shall be forever free of their servitude and not again held as slaves.

“Sec.10. And be it further enacted, That no slave escaping into any State, Territory, or the District of Columbia, from any other State, shall be delivered up, or in any way impeded or hindered of his liberty, except for crime, or some offence against the laws, unless the person claiming said fugitive shall first make oath that the person to whom the labor or service of such fugitive is alleged to be due is his lawful owner, and has not borne arms against the United States in the present rebellion, nor in any way given aid and comfort thereto and no person engaged in the military or naval service of the United States shall, under any pretence whatever, assume to decide on the validity of the claim of any person to the service or labor of any other person, or surrender up any such person to the claimant, on pain of being dismissed from the service.”

And I do hereby enjoin upon and order all persons engaged in the military and naval service of the United States to observe, obey, and enforce, within their respective spheres of service, the act, and sections above recited.

And the executive will in due time recommend that all citizens of the United States who shall have remained loyal thereto throughout the rebellion, shall (upon the restoration of the constitutional relation between the United States, and their respective States, and people, if that relation shall have been suspended or disturbed) be compensated for all losses by acts of the United States, including the loss of slaves.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington this twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord, one thousand, eight hundred and sixty-two, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty seventh.

[Signed:] By the President, Abraham Lincoln,

[Signed:] William H. Seward, Secretary of State

(Emancipation Proclamation, from the holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration)


Emancipation Proclamation: Effects, Impacts, and Outcomes

There is one document from the American Civil War that is considered to be one of the most important, valuable and impactful of all documents. That document was known as the Emancipation Proclamation.

This executive order was drafted and signed by Abraham Lincoln on January 1 st , 1863, during the Civil War. Many people believe that the emancipation proclamation effectively ended slavery but the truth is far more complicated than that.

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Emancipation Proclamation: Effects, Impacts, and Outcomes

The Emancipation Proclamation was a momentous occasion in the history of the United States. It was created by Abraham Lincoln as a way to try and take advantage of the rebellion that was currently underway in the south. This rebellion was known as the Civil War, with the North and the South divided due to ideological differences.

The political situation of the Civil War was relatively dire. With the South in a state of outright rebellion, it was on Abraham Lincoln’s shoulders to try and preserve the Union at all costs. The war itself was still not recognized by the North as a war, because Abraham Lincoln refused to recognize the South as its own nation. While the South prefer to call itself the Confederate States of America, to the north they were still states of the United States of America.

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The Emancipation Proclamation’s entire purpose was to free the slaves in the South. In fact, the Emancipation Proclamation had nothing to do with slavery in the North. The Union would still be a slave nation during the war, despite the fact that Abraham Lincoln would y be laying the ground for a greater abolitionist movement. When the proclamation was passed, it was aimed at the states that were currently in rebellion the entire purpose was to disarm the South.

During the Civil War, the Southern economy was primarily based on slavery. With the majority of men fighting in the Civil War, slaves were used primarily for reinforcing soldiers, transporting goods, and working in agricultural labor back home. The South did not have the same level of industrialism without slavery, as the North did. Essentially, when Lincoln passed to the Emancipation Proclamation it was actually an attempt to weaken the Confederate states by removing one of their strongest methods of production.

This decision was primarily pragmatic Lincoln was focused entirely on disarming the South. However, regardless of intentions, the Emancipation Proclamation signaled a shift in the purpose of the Civil War. The war was no longer simply about preserving the state of the union, the war was more or less about ending slavery. The Emancipation Proclamation was not a well-received action. It was a strange political maneuver and even most of Lincoln’s cabinet was hesitant to believe that it would be effective. The reason that the Emancipation Proclamation is such a curious document is because it was passed as under the President’s war-time powers.

Normally, the American Presidency has very little power of decree. Lawmaking and legislative control belongs to Congress. The President does have the ability to issue what is known as an executive order. Executive orders have the full backing and force of a law, but for the most part they are subject to control from Congress. The president himself has very little power outside of what Congress allows, except in wartime. As the commander-in-chief, the president has the ability to use wartime powers to enforce special laws. The Emancipation Proclamation was one of those laws that Lincoln had used his military powers to enforce.

Originally, Lincoln believed in the progressive elimination of slavery in all states. He believed that it was primarily up to the states to oversee the progressive abolition of slavery in their own individual power. Regardless of his political position on the matter, however, Lincoln had always believed that slavery was wrong. The Emancipation Proclamation served more as a military maneuver than a political maneuver. At the same time, this action cemented Lincoln as being a staunchly aggressive abolitionist and would ensure that slavery would eventually be removed from the entire United States.

One major political effect that the Emancipation Proclamation had was the fact that it invited slaves to serve in the Union Army. Such an action was a brilliant strategic choice. The decision to pass a law that told all slaves from the South that they were free and encouraging them to take up arms to join in the fight against their former masters was the brilliant tactical maneuver. Ultimately with those permissions, many freed slaves joined the Northern Army, drastically increasing their manpower. The North by the end of the war had over 200,000 African-Americans fighting for them.

The South was more or less in a state of turmoil after such an announcement. The proclamation had actually been publicized three times, the first time as a threat, the second time as a more formal announcement and then the third time as the signing of the Proclamation. When the Confederates heard the news, they were in a state of severe disrepair. One of them primary issues was that as the North advanced into territories and seized control of Southern land, they would often capture slaves. These slaves were simply restricted as contraband, not returned to their owners – the South.

When the Emancipation Proclamation was announced, all current contraband, i.e. the slaves, were freed at the stroke of midnight. There was no offer of compensation, payment, or even a fair trade to the slave-owners. These slave-holders were suddenly deprived of what they believe to be property. Combined with the sudden loss of a large number of slaves, and influx of troops that would provide the North with additional firepower, the South found itself in a very tough position. Slaves were now able to escape from the South and as soon as they made it into the North, they would be free.

Yet as important as the Emancipation Proclamation was to America’s history, its actual impact on slavery was minimal at best. If nothing more, it was a way to solidify the president’s position as an abolitionist and to ensure the fact that slavery would be ended. Slavery wasn’t officially ended in the United States of America until the 13 th Amendment was passed, in 1865.

One of the issues with the Emancipation Proclamation was that it was passed as a wartime measure. As stated before, in the United States, laws are not passed through the president, they are passed by Congress. This left the actual freedom status of the slaves up in the air. If the North were to win the war, the Emancipation Proclamation would not continue to be a constitutionally legal document. It would need to be ratified by the government in order to stay in effect.

The purpose of the Emancipation Proclamation has been muddled over the course of history. The basic line of though is that it freed the slaves. That is only partially correct, it merely freed the slaves in the South, something that wasn’t particularly enforceable due to the fact South was in a state of rebellion. What it did do however was ensure that if the North won, the South would be forced to free all of their slaves. Ultimately that would lead to the freedom of 3.1 million slaves. However, most of those slaves were not free until after the war had concluded.


Emancipation Proclamation: History & Significance

The emancipation proclamation was issued by Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, during the American Civil War, declaring all “slaves within any State, or designated part of a State… then… in rebellion,… shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” The states affected were enumerated in the proclamation specifically exempted were slaves in parts of the South then held by Union armies. Lincoln’s issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation marked a radical change in his policy.

After outbreak of the Civil War, the slavery issue was made acute by the flight to Union lines of large numbers of slaves who volunteered to fight for their freedom and that of their fellow slaves. In these circumstances, a strict application of established policy would have required return of fugitive slaves to their masters.

Abolitionists had long been urging Lincoln to free all slaves, and public opinion supported that view. Lincoln moved slowly and cautiously none the less on March 13, 1862, the federal government forbade all Union Army officers to return fugitive slaves, thus annulling in effect the fugitive slave laws. On April 10, on Lincoln’s initiative, congress declared the federal government would compensate slave owners who freed their slaves. All slaves in the District of Columbia were freed in this way on April 16, 1862. On June 19, 1862, Congress enacted a measure prohibiting slavery in United States territories, thus defying the Supreme Court decision in the Dred Scott case, which ruled that Congress was powerless to regulate slavery in the territories.

Finally, after the union victory in the battle of Antietam, Lincoln issued a preliminary proclamation on September 22, declaring his intention of promulgating another proclamation in 100 days, freeing the slaves in the states deemed in rebellion at that time. On January 1, 1863 he issued the Emancipation proclamation, conferring liberty on about 3,120,000 slaves. With the enactment of the 13th amendment to the U.S. Constitution in effect in 1865, slavery was completely abolished.

The results of the Emancipation Proclamation were far-reaching. From then on, sympathy with the Confederacy was identified with support of slavery.


Emancipation Proclamation: The 13th Amendment

The news of the Emancipation Proclamation was greeted with joy, even though it did not free all the slaves. Because of the limitations of the proclamation, and because it depended on a Union military victory, President Lincoln recognized that the Emancipation Proclamation would have to be followed by a constitutional amendment in order to abolish slavery.

After the Senate passed a bill for an amendment in April 1864, but the House of Representatives did not, Lincoln suggested that the bill be taken up by the Republican Party in its 1864 platform for the upcoming Presidential elections.

His efforts met with success when the House passed the bill in January 1865. On February 1, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln approved the Joint Resolution of Congress submitting the proposed amendment to the state legislatures. The necessary number of states ratified it by December 6, 1865.

The 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution formally abolished slavery in the United States. It provides that ”Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

The struggle for complete freedom was far from finished even with the 13th Amendment. Two more amendments were added to the Constitution. Ratified in 1868, the 14th Amendment increased the liberties and rights granted by the Bill of Rights to former slaves. Two years later the 15th Amendment was ratified, giving African American men the right to vote. The Emancipation Proclamation helped make these rights and liberties available for newly freed people, as it was one of the first steps towards freedom for former slaves.

The 13th Amendment and its history are featured in the online exhibit “Our Documents.”

The story of the creation of the 13th Amendment is featured in “The Meaning and Making of Emancipation,” a free eBook created by the National Archives. You can read it on your iPad, iPhone, Nook, or other electronic device.


Emancipation Proclamation - History

The Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation
Digital History ID 433

Author: Abraham Lincoln
Date:1862

On September 22, 1862, less than a week after the Battle of Antietam, President Lincoln met with his cabinet. As one cabinet member, Samuel P. Chase, recorded in his diary, the President told them that he had "thought a great deal about the relation of this war to Slavery":

You all remember that, several weeks ago, I read to you an Order I had prepared on this subject, which, since then, my mind has been much occupied with this subject, and I have thought all along that the time for acting on it might very probably come. I think the time has come now. I wish it were a better time. I wish that we were in a better condition. The action of the army against the rebels has not been quite what I should have best liked. But they have been driven out of Maryland, and Pennsylvania is no longer in danger of invasion. When the rebel army was at Frederick, I determined, as soon as it should be driven out of Maryland, to issue a Proclamation of Emancipation such as I thought most likely to be useful. I said nothing to any one but I made the promise to myself, and (hesitating a little)--to my Maker. The rebel army is now driven out, and I am going to fulfil that promise.

The preliminary emancipation proclamation that President Lincoln issued on September 22 stated that all slaves in designated parts of the South on January 1, 1863, would be freed. The President hoped that slave emancipation would undermine the Confederacy from within. Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles reported that the President told him that freeing the slaves was "a military necessity, absolutely essential to the preservation of the Union. The slaves [are] undeniably an element of strength to those who [have] their service, and we must decide whether that element should be with us or against us."

Fear of foreign intervention in the war also influenced Lincoln to consider emancipation. The Confederacy had assumed, mistakenly, that demand for cotton from textile mills would lead Britain to break the Union naval blockade. Nevertheless, there was a real danger of European involvement in the war. By redefining the war as a war against slavery, Lincoln hoped to generate support from European liberals.

"That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, and thenceforward, and forever, free and the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

"That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof respectively, shall then be in rebellion against the United States and the fact that any State, or the people thereof, shall on that day be in good faith represented in the Congress of the United States, by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified votes of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State, and the people thereof, are not in rebellion against the United States."

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested in me as commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the United States, in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose so to do, publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days from the day first above mentioned, order and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof, respectively, are this day in rebellion against the United States, the following to wit: Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana (except the Parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James, Ascension, Assumption, Terre Bonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the City of New Orleans), Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia (except the forty-eight country designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkeley, Accomae, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth.) and which excepted parts are for the present left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.

And by virtue of the power and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States and parts of States are and henceforward shall be free and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.

And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defence and I recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.

And I further declare and make known that such persons, of suitable conditions, will be received into the armed service of the United States, to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.

And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice warranted by the Constitution upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind and the gracious favor of Almighty God.

Source: Gilder Lehrman Institute

Additional information: Abraham Lincoln, Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation


Where Are the Documents Now?

“The First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation before the Cabinet.” Painted by F.B. Carpenter engraved by A.H. Ritchie, 1866. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

Many of the key manuscripts that record the progression of the Emancipation Proclamation from the first known draft in July 1862 to the final version of January 1, 1863 survive today.

Abraham Lincoln's handwritten draft Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation of July 22, 1862 is part of the Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Artist Francis Bicknell Carpenter imagined the scene of President Lincoln first introducing the document to his cabinet in the 1864 painting First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, which now hangs over the west staircase of the Senate Wing in the United States Capitol. Carpenter worked on the painting at the White House for several months in 1864, and was able to consult with and observe President Lincoln. More information about the painting is available online on the United States Senate website. The painting was reproduced in numerous engravings, including those produced by A.H. Ritchie in 1866 (see LC-DIG-pga-02502 and LC-DIG-pga-03452).

Lincoln's handwritten manuscript copy of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation External of September 22, 1862, is held by the New York State Library in Albany, New York. Abraham Lincoln donated the manuscript for a raffle held at the Albany (N.Y.) Relief Bazaar sponsored by the Albany Army Relief Association in 1864, where it was won by abolitionist Gerrit Smith. The New York State Legislature purchased the manuscript in 1865, and placed it in the New York State Library. More information on the provenance of this document is available online External .

The official engrossed copies of both the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation of September 22, 1862, and the Final Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863, are held by the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C., as part of Record Group 11, General Records of the U.S. Government. A reproduction of the official engrossed copy of the Final Emancipation Proclamation is included in the Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress.

Several documents containing comments and corrections on the Final Emancipation Proclamation Lincoln solicited from his cabinet members in December 1862 can be found in the Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. These include the memoranda provided to President Lincoln by Attorney General Edward Bates, Postmaster General Montgomery Blair, Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase, and Secretary of State William H. Seward.

The handwritten manuscript of the Final Emancipation Proclamation no longer exists. In October 1863, Mary A. Livermore wrote to Abraham Lincoln requesting that he donate the manuscript to the Northwestern Sanitary Fair in Chicago, where it would be sold to raise money for soldiers' aid provided by the Northwestern Branch of the United States Sanitary Commission. Mrs. Livermore hoped that the document ultimately would be donated to the Chicago Historical Society for preservation. Her request was echoed by Lincoln's associates Isaac N. Arnold and Owen Lovejoy. Lincoln thought that his name would be most remembered for having issued the proclamation, and as he explained to the ladies planning the fair, "I had some desire to retain the paper." "But if it shall contribute to the relief or comfort of the soldiers," he concluded, "that will be better," and he sent the precious manuscript. The manuscript copy of the Final Emancipation Proclamation was purchased at the Northwestern Sanitary Fair by Thomas Bryan, who presented it to the Soldiers' Home in Chicago, rather than the Chicago Historical Society. Unfortunately, the manuscript was destroyed in the Chicago Fire of 1871. Fortunately, before sending the original manuscript proclamation, Lincoln wisely had the document photographed for posterity, and a lithographic copy is part of the Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Surviving photographs of the document show it primarily in Lincoln's own hand. The superscription and ending are in the hand of a clerk, and the printed insertions were cut from the September draft.

“Abraham Lincoln and his Emancipation Proclamation,” Cincinnati: The Strobridge Lith. Co., 1888. Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

The Final Emancipation Proclamation has been reproduced numerous times and in many different styles and formats. At the Great Central Sanitary Fair held in Philadelphia in June 1864, forty-eight limited-edition prints of the Emancipation Proclamation, signed by Lincoln, Seward, and John G. Nicolay, were offered for ten dollars apiece to raise money for soldiers' aid. At that price, however, not all of these Leland-Boker edition prints sold. The Alfred Whital Stern Collection of Lincolniana in the Rare Books and Special Collections Division, and the Prints & Photographs Division of the Library of Congress offer many examples of printings of the Emancipation Proclamation produced during and after the Civil War.

On December 25, 1862, Massachusetts historian George Livermore asked Senator Charles Sumner if he might procure the pen that Lincoln would use to sign the Final Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. Sumner, a well-known abolitionist, put the request to President Lincoln, who agreed. In thanking Sumner for his efforts, Livermore explained his desire for the pen: "No trophy from a battlefield, no sword red with blood, no service of plate with an inscription, as complimentary as the greatest rhetorician could compose, would have been to me half as acceptable as this instrument which will forever be associated with the greatest event of our country and our age." The pen External is now held by the Massachusetts Historical Society.

To read more about Lincoln and Emancipation, consult the "African Americans, the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment" section on the Related Resources page of the Abraham Lincoln Papers online presentation.


Watch the video: Die Republikanische Partei und Abraham Lincoln - Der Amerikanische Bürgerkrieg (July 2022).


Comments:

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  4. Christy

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  5. Moncreiffe

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