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As early as , Abraham Lincoln believed that slaves should be emancipated, advocating a program in which they would be freed gradually. Early in his presidency, still convinced that gradual emacipation was the best course, he tried to win over legistators. To gain support, he proposed that slaveowners be compensated for giving up their "property. In September of , after the Union's victory at Antietam, Lincoln issued a preliminary decree stating that, unless the rebellious states returned to the Union by January 1, freedom would be granted to slaves within those states.
The decree also left room for a plan of compensated emancipation. No Confederate states took the offer, and on January 1 Lincoln presented the Emancipation Proclamation. The proclamation declared, "all persons held as slaves within any States, or designated part of the State, the people whereof shall be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.
Rather, it declared free only those slaves living in states not under Union control.
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- The Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation (issued September 22, 1862).
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William Seward, Lincoln's secretary of state, commented, "We show our symapthy with slavery by emancipating slaves where we cannot reach them and holding them in bondage where we can set them free. The war requires large sums, and requires them at once. The aggregate sum necessary for compensated emancipation, of course, would be large. But it would require no ready cash; nor the bonds even, any faster than the emancipation progresses. This might not, and probably would not, close before the end of the thirty-seven years.
At that time we shall probably have a hundred millions of people to share the burden, instead of thirty one millions, as now. And not only so, but the increase of our population may be expected to continue for a long time after that period, as rapidly as before; because our territory will not have become full.
The proposed emancipation would shorten the war, perpetuate peace, insure this increase of population, and proportionately the wealth of the country. I cannot make it better known than it already is, that I strongly favor colonization. And yet I wish to say there is an objection urged against free colored persons remaining in the country, which is largely imaginary, if not sometimes malicious. It is insisted that their presence would injure, and displace white labor and white laborers. If there ever could be a proper time for mere catch arguments, that time surely is not now.
In times like the present, men should utter nothing for which they would not willingly be responsible through time and in eternity. Is it true, then, that colored people can displace any more white labor, by being free, than by remaining slaves? If they stay in their old places, they jostle no white laborers; if they leave their old places, they leave them open to white laborers. Logically, there is neither more nor less of it. Emancipation, even without deportation, would probably enhance the wages of white labor, and, very surely, would not reduce them.
Thus, the customary amount of labor would still have to be performed; the freed people would surely not do more than their old proportion of it, and very probably, for a time, would do less, leaving an increased part to white laborers, bringing their labor into greater demand, and, consequently, enhancing the wages of it. With deportation, even to a limited extent, enhanced wages to white labor is mathematically certain. Labor is like any other commodity in the marketincrease the demand for it, and you increase the price of it.
Reduce the supply of black labor, by colonizing the black laborer out of the country, and, by precisely so much, you increase the demand for, and wages of, white labor. But it is dreaded that the freed people will swarm forth, and cover the whole land? Are they not already in the land?
Will liberation make them any more numerous? Equally distributed among the whites of the whole country, and there would be but one colored to seven whites. Could the one, in any way, greatly disturb the seven? There are many communities now, having more than one free colored person, to seven whites; and this, without any apparent consciousness of evil from it. The District has more than one free colored to six whites; and yet, in its frequent petitions to Congress, I believe it has never presented the presence of free colored persons as one of its grievances.
But why should emancipation south, send the free people north? People, of any color, seldom run, unless there be something to run from. Heretofore colored people, to some extent, have fled north from bondage; and now, perhaps, from both bondage and destitution. But if gradual emancipation and deportation be adopted, they will have neither to flee from. Their old masters will give them wages at least until new laborers can be procured; and the freed men, in turn, will gladly give their labor for the wages, till new homes can be found for them, in congenial climes, and with people of their own blood and race.
This proposition can be trusted on the mutual interests involved. And, in any event, cannot the north decide for itself, whether to receive them? This plan is recommended as a means, not in exclusion of, but additional to, all others for restoring and preserving the national authority throughout the Union. The subject is presented exclusively in its economical aspect.
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The plan would, I am confident, secure peace more speedily, and maintain it more permanently, than can be done by force alone; while all it would cost, considering amounts, and manner of payment, and times of payment, would be easier paid than will be the additional cost of the war, if we rely solely upon force. It is muchvery muchthat it would cost no blood at all. Is it doubted, then, that the plan I propose, if adopted, would shorten the war, and thus lessen its expenditure of money and of blood?
Is it doubted that it would restore the national authority and national prosperity, and perpetuate both indefinitely? Is it doubted that we hereCongress and Executivecan secure its adoption? Will not the good people respond to a united, and earnest appeal from us? Can we, can they, by any other means, so certainly, or so speedily, assure these vital objects? We can succeed only by concert. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion.
As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall our selves, and then we shall save our country. Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation.
We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it. Weeven we herehold the power, and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the freehonorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve.
We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best, hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, justa way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless. By the summer of , Butler had successfully declared fugitive slaves "contrabands" at Fort Monroe Virginia but Lincoln had thwarted General Fremont's attempt to free the slaves of rebels in Missouri August, and overturned Hunter's order emancipating slaves in slaves in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida May, Compensated emancipation had freed slaves in Washington, D.
April, but had not been accepted anywhere else within the union. The discussion surrounding these events only intensified the already-heated debate over the question of slavery. In August of , Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune and noted abolitionist, wrote an open letter to the president entitled, " A Prayer for Twenty Millions ," chiding him for being "unduly influenced by the counsels, the representations, the menaces, of certain fossil politicians hailing from the Border Slave States.
My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to 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 slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I don't believe it would help to save the Union. On September 22, Lincoln announced that the Emancipation Proclamation would take effect on January 1, The proclamation extended freedom only to slaves in rebel states in areas that had not already been occupied by Union troops.
The following excerpt from the text specifies the limited territory covered by the proclamation:. Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, except the Parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St.
The Emancipation Proclamation 1863
Charles, 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.
Since the order applied only to those areas that had already rejected federal rule but had not yet been reclaimed by the Union, the Emancipation Proclamation had very little practical effect. It meant only that slaves who escaped from rebel areas and slaves in confederate states later conquered by union troops would be free. I wish the policy of Govt. They never should have been "excepted. Before the war, Southerners had boasted that their control of the cotton crop would force foreign governments to side with them in any dispute with the North.
Without the firing of a gun, without drawing a sword, should they [Northerners] make war upon us [Southerners], we could bring the whole world to our feet. What would happen if no cotton was furnished for three years? England would topple headlong and carry the whole civilized world with her. No, you dare not make war on cotton! No power on earth dares make war upon it. Cotton is King.
The Emancipation Proclamation
However, the bumper crop of cotton sold on the international market in had led Great Britain to stockpile the supplies required for its textile mills. As a result, when the Union began to blockade the South in April, , the British felt no pressure to intervene and instead issued a proclamation of neutrality. Both north and south continued to court British support. Ironically, Lincoln's own insistence that the war was not "about" slavery made it easier for the South to solicit aid from Britain, which had abolished the slave trade in and freed all the slaves in its empire in Meanwhile, cartoons in Vanity Fair and other northern periodicals lampooned the British for recognizing the confederacy while claiming to support abolition.
By issuing the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln publicly recognized slavery as a central issue in the civil war. This may have been a factor in discouraging Britain from actively supporting the southern cause. The Emancipation Proclamation has done more for us here than all our former victories and all our diplomacy. It is creating an almost convulsive reaction in our favor all over this country.
The London Times furious and scolds like a drunken drab. Certain it is, however, that public opinion is very deeply stirred here and finds expression in meetings, addresses to President Lincoln, deputations to us, standing committees to agitate the subject and to affect opinion, and all the other symptoms of a great popular movement peculiarly unpleasant to the upper classes here because it rests on the spontaneous action of the laboring classes.
In response, the confederacy offered a new interpretation of the meaning of the war in the hopes of offsetting the diplomatic effects of the emancipation proclamation. In an article entitled "The Cause of the Rebellion" published on March 15, see below , a writer for Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper heaps scorn on the attempt to redefine the the war as a conflict based on a difference in economic systems. After having roused the South to treason, under the pretext that their "peculiar institutions" were in danger, and that the "Abolitionists" were coming, it is certainly extraordinary that they should now turn round and stultify themselves by saying that this pretext was false, that the North is rather more pro-Slavery than the South, and that the only motive for breaking up the Government and sacrificing , lives was "not Slavery, but the very high price which, for the sake of protecting the Northern manufactures, the South was obliged to pay for manufactured goods which they required.
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Rost, Yancy and Mann in their last appeal to Earl Russell for British sympathy, support and recognition! So there was no principle involved int his gigantic insurrection, only a question of "price" of manufactures! Verily the rebels have resorted to an expensive expedient for reducing prices! But it is idle to discuss such retexts seriously. We all know that the Commissioners only meant to appeal to the selfishness of England, by pretending that they are fighting the North because the North keeps out English manufacturers.
They could not possibly have so far the stupidity of Eart russell and the English people as to suppose them ignorant of the cause and purpose of this war. The cause, the wide world knows, was Slavery, and the purpose is its extenuation and perpetuation. The crucial need for additional troops was probably an important force behind the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. The same document that offered freedom to slaves in particular areas simultaneously made African-Americans eligible to serve in the Union army.
The opening paragraph of an editorial in Harper's Weekly suggests that the need for black troops was probably one reason for the adoption of an Emancipation Proclamation that was not welcomed with enthusiasm by all in the North.. It is hoped by the Northern partisans of slavery that the Proclamation will be postponed or withheld altogether. But we fail to discover any ground for the hope.
Whatever reasons led the President to issue the preliminary Proclamation in September last apply with equal force to the case as it stands at present, and our recent reverses supply additional motives for securing the active aid of 4,, slaves, if it can be done. The title of the above illustration, "The Great Remedy," the date on the bottle of "Lincoln Blackstrap," and the picture of the cats labeled "contraband," "Jeff Davis," and Abe all suggest that emancipation was designed to bring black troops into the Union army.
The depiction of African-Americans as a sharp-toothed black cats appearing to growl as it eyes a soft-looking white cat labeled "Jeff Davis" seems to reflect the belief that black soldiers would be savage and vindictive. The iron is at last entering the rebels' soul. The blustering braggarts who insulted the spirit of the age by attempting to destroy the noblest Government on earth, and to rear up on its ruin a hideous deformity modeled on the pattern of the kingdoms of Ashantee and Dahomey: the sham chivalry who sickened Christendom by their pretensions, while they were living on the labor of 4,, unpaid servants: the barbarous creatures, who thrust our prisoners into new Black Holes of Calcutta, and dug up our dead soldiers' bodies to make rings and drinking-cups and keepsakes of their poor bones: these monstrous products of the system of slavery are at length realizing the gulf into which they have plunged.
Ordinary language fails to provide expletives for their wrath: there is no precedent in history fierce enough for the policy they are going to adopt. They call Mr. Lincoln an "ape," a "fiend," a "beast," a "savage," a "highwayman. They are going to put to death not only soldiers on the battle- field, but every Northerner found on Southern soil. Some they are going to try by courts-martial.
But it doesn't seem that that is to benefit them much; for the end of the trial is to be death. No one has yet suggested torture before execution; but that will probably come. It will be nothing new in parts of the South. No proclamation which the Yankees have issued or may issue will have the slightest effect upon the slave population of the South. Wherever his armies have penetrated they have kidnapped every negro they could lay their hands on, and proclamation or no proclamation, whenever they are able they will continue to do the same.
But beyond the lines of the Federal Army Slavery will continue intact and impregnable as the rock of Gibraltar. In relation to President Lincoln's emancipation proclamation, he says he may well leave it to the instincts of that common humanity which a beneficent Creator has implanted in the breasts of our fellow-men of all countries to pass judgment on a measure of which several millions of human beings of an inferior race, peaceful and contented laborers in their sphere, are doomed to extermination; while, at the same time, they are encouraged to a general assassination of their masters by the insidious recommendation to abstain from violence, unless in necessary self-defense.
Our own detestation of those who have attempted the most execrable massacre recorded in the history of guilty man is tinctured by a profound sentiment for the impotent rage which it discloses. As far as regards the action of this Government on such criminals as may attempt its execution, I confine myself to informing you that I shall, unless in your wisdom you deem some other course more expedient, deliver to the several State authorities all commissioned officers of the United States that may hereafter be captured by our forces in any of the States embraced in the proclamation, that they may be dealt with in accordance with the laws of those States, providing for the punishment of criminals engaged in exciting servile insurrections.
In its political aspect this measure possesses great signification, and to it in this light I invite your attention. It affords to our people the complete and crowning proof of the true nature of the designs of the party which elevated to power the present occupant of the Presidential chair at Washington, and which sought to conceal its purposes by every variety of artful grace, and by the perfidious use of the most solemn and repeated pledges on every practicable occasion.
He gives extracts from President Lincoln's inaugural, and comments fully upon the subsequent acts by Congress and the Administration. The extreme moderation with which the President advanced to his design, -- his long-avowed expectant policy, as if he chose to be strictly the executive of the best public sentiment of the country, waiting only till it should be unmistakably pronounced, -- so fair a mind that none ever listened so patiently to such extreme varieties of opinion, -- so reticent that his decision has taken all parties by surprise, whilst yet it is the just sequel of his prior acts, -- the firm tone in which he announces it, without inflation or surplusage, -- all these have bespoken such favor to the act, that, great as the popularity of the President has been, we are beginning to think that we have underestimated the capacity and virtue which the Divine Providence has made an instrument of benefit so vast.
He has been permitted to do more for America than any other American man. He is well entitled to the most indulgent construction. Forget all that we thought shortcomings, every mistake, every delay. In the extreme embarrassments of his part, call these endurance, wisdom, magnanimity, illuminated, as they now are, by this dazzling success. It is claimed by the physiognomies that a man's whole physique,--his nerves, ganglia and brain and lobes,--enter his every act. He is the mere pantomimist of a plan and plot sketched in his constitution. You can tell the length of his nose from his sentences; the relative hardness of his backbone from his speech.
On this principle we should not, perhaps, have expected a graceful and broad proclamation from the President, but a narrow and wiry affair; for the President is an awkward brother, without any comeliness that we should desire him. But whatever we looked for, we certainly have got a very awkward and wiry proclamation. It must have required considerable ingenuity to give two and a half millions of human beings the priceless boon of Liberty in such a cold ungraceful way.
The heart of the Country was anticipating something warm and earnest. One could scarcely imagine that the herald of so blessed a dawn should have caught none of its glow. Was it not a time when some word of welcome, of sympathy, of hospitality for these long-enslaved men and women, might have been naturally uttered. Was it not a time for congratulating the liberated millions that the President of the Universe had opened the portals on which had been hitherto the padlock of the Constitution, which no terrestrial President could touch?
But instead of an embrace we hade a gruff, "Stay where you are! Lincoln does indeed call it an "act of justice," but if he had been in a dentist's chair he could not have made a worse face as it was extracted from him. Instead of an utterance of thankful joy at the opportunity vouchsafed him of benefiting the human race, we have a homily to the negroes on good behavior!
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