Abraham Lincoln - The Un-Emancipator?

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Why does the latter day confederate apologist become so incensed and speculate so wildly about the base motives of emancipators?

If you are directing this at me, I can respond by telling you that there is no speculation on my part as to anyone's motives for emancipation. The speculation is in regard to how the facts were replaced by the myths that contradict the history.
 
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And at no time did Lincoln ever claim it was a priority. The priority was putting down the unlawful insurrection of the States that formed the CSA.

Exactly, which is what the EP was written to do, as Lincoln explained to Greeley. If the rebellion were to end before the first of the year in 1863, slavery would remain intact.
 

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Exactly, which is what the EP was written to do, as Lincoln explained to Greeley. If the rebellion were to end before the first of the year in 1863, slavery would remain intact.

I think everybody knows that, Kentucky. I really do. But the expansion of slavery would have been stopped, and it would have been put on "the course of ultimate extinction."

A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that "Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free," and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction.

- South Carolina declaration of causes of secession​
 

DanF

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The purpose of this thread is to discuss specific actions taken by Lincoln, before and during his presidency, as they relate to the issue of slavery in the United States to separate the actual facts from the variety of myths that were fabricated after his death

With you, as usual, providing the myth, then disproving the myth that only you brought up in the first place.

"If Lincoln loved the Union, he was responsible, more than any other man, for its destruction, for he consciously violated the constitution ... The war was not a war of slavery versus freedom; it was a war between those who preferred a federated nation to those who preferred a confederation of sovereign states. Slavery was the ink thrown into the pool to confuse the issue."

Andrew Nelson Lytle, The Virginia Quarterly Review, October 1931

The war was about one side loosing a legally held election and resorting to insurrection/rebellion to try and get what they wanted. And what they wanted was security for the institution of slavery which they maintained was the foundation of their states, economic, political and social life.

When they failed to win the war they labored to win the peace and dress themselves up as victims and "patriots" defending the Constitution.
 

Northern Light

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Why does the latter day confederate apologist become so incensed and speculate so wildly about the base motives of emancipators?

I can understand the actual confederates of the 1860s. They were viciously exploiting people for profit and had created an elaborate racial mythology to justify it. They were believers. When their increasingly minority world view was challenged, when it was described as cruel, unchristian, etc., they were going to fling mud back. I get that.

The EP was crossing a Rubicon. And you can complain that the water is dirty and the bridge was crooked and your feet hurt, but aren't you glad we're finally on the other side?
Amen and amen!
 

jgoodguy

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To the contrary ...

If the southern army had taken him up on his offer and laid down their arms, Lincoln would have to explain to Greeley and to his army why tens of thousands of Union soldiers died ... and slavery in the states where it existed were still in bondage.

Lincoln would have told them the truth ... as he stated in his letter to Greeley ... it was never about slaves. It was about restoring the Union.

No. Lincoln would have been a hero in preserving the Union.
 

jgoodguy

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Amazing, isn't it? On one thread they'll wail and gnash their teeth about how the Republicans forced emancipation on the poor slaveholding states too quickly, and how they bear all the responsibility for all the racial problems that have occurred since then. Then on another thread, they thump their chests and blow their horn about how SLOW the Republicans were to emancipate. :spin:
Except that there was no public support for such a measure at that time, and the only way that it passed was when they were able to convince Lame Duck Democrats to vote for it. Yet again, you're ignoring historical events to fit your own interpretation, something I've come to expect from you.

As moderator.
Please address the posts and not the poster(s)
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jgoodguy

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Exactly, which is what the EP was written to do, as Lincoln explained to Greeley. If the rebellion were to end before the first of the year in 1863, slavery would remain intact.

Without the 13th amendment slavery would have likely remained de jure intact. OTOH there was going to be no peace treaty where slavery was threatened in any way.
 

jgoodguy

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With you, as usual, providing the myth, then disproving the myth that only you brought up in the first place.



The war was about one side loosing a legally held election and resorting to insurrection/rebellion to try and get what they wanted. And what they wanted was security for the institution of slavery which they maintained was the foundation of their states, economic, political and social life.

When they failed to win the war they labored to win the peace and dress themselves up as victims and "patriots" defending the Constitution.

That is the problem with these bait and switch posts. The Union fought to end Southern Independence not free the slaves.
 

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Both cases, I believe, were because Lincoln wanted to avoid spooking Unionists, especially those in the Border States of Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri, which at that point looked like they could go either way.

Very few things have been as misunderstood as Lincoln's actions against slavery during the Civil War.

Lincoln had been freeing slaves since August of 1861. It's important to remember that fact.

Lincoln never told Frémont he couldn't free slaves in his department. Frémont’s proclamation didn’t conform to the First Confiscation Act. Slavery in Missouri, a loyal state not in rebellion, was a state matter, and a military officer did not have the authority to free slaves in that state. Congress had passed the First Confiscation Act, and Frémont could have implemented that Act by emancipating slaves that had been used in support of the rebellion. Instead, his proclamation claimed to emancipate all slaves of all disloyal masters. This was a violation of the law as passed by Congress. Frémont’s proclamation also violated the Constitutional prohibition on attainder. It had more to do than emancipating slaves. It declared martial law and it also confiscated all the property of disloyal people in Missouri. It was an unconstitutional usurpation of power by Frémont. Lincoln had a few problems with it. Lincoln asked Frémont to amend his proclamation in order to make it compliant with the First Confiscation Act. Frémont refused. Lincoln then ordered Frémont to modify the order. Lincoln sent David Hunter to investigate charges of corruption and incompetence that were leveled at Frémont by Montgomery Blair. Hunter found out that Frémont was dictatorial and his administration was corrupt. Lincoln relieved Frémont for insubordination and incompetence, not for issuing his proclamation. His proclamation had been issued on August 30, 1861 and he was relieved on November 2, 1861. Now, was Lincoln also concerned about the effect on Unionists in the slave border states of Missouri and Kentucky? Absolutely. That was another significant factor in Lincoln's opposition to the proclamation; however, it's important to remember Lincoln would have had no problem with the proclamation had it been in compliance with the First Confiscation Act. Slaves would have been emancipated, but not on the wholesale scale Frémont's proclamation purported to do.

In the matter of David Hunter’s order, Hunter had actually issued two orders. The first was in conformance with the First Confiscation Act and only emancipated slaves that came within his lines. His second proclamation, though, abolished slavery in three states, Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida, and was thus an illegal order. Lincoln revoked this second order.
 

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Lincoln was a consummate politician, and he had more than one purpose in proposing the Proclamation. He was well aware that it was unconstitutional to free the slaves unilaterally, so he only freed the slaves in the Confederacy.

He had several reasons for wanting to make the Proclamation.

1. As the Union soldiers moved into and controlled Confederate territory, the slaves that were emancipated could no longer help the Confederate war effort, thus weakening it by denying that labour.

2. He understood that by bringing slavery into the equation of the war, Britain, and possibly France, would be less likely to support the Confederate cause, thereby denying the Confederacy potential allies from Europe.

3. The Proclamation placated the Radical Republicans, who were impatient to see slavery end.
I think that he had both objectives in mind when he wrote the Proclamation; both to free what slaves he could, legally, and to hasten the end of the war.

I agree with #1. As to #2, Lincoln understood emancipation could be a double-edged sword when it came to European support for the confederacy. As Allen Guelzo points out in his excellent book, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America, the proclamation had just as much chance of provoking an intervention by Britain and France as it did to prevent an intervention. Lincoln was aware of that.

I don't see #3 as a motivation for Lincoln.

Again, Lincoln had been freeing slaves since almost the beginning of the war. That fact is often forgotten.
 

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Amazing, isn't it? On one thread they'll wail and gnash their teeth about how the Republicans forced emancipation on the poor slaveholding states too quickly, and how they bear all the responsibility for all the racial problems that have occurred since then. Then on another thread, they thump their chests and blow their horn about how SLOW the Republicans were to emancipate. :spin:

And out of one side of their mouths they'll complain Lincoln was a tyrant who ignored the Constitution and out the other side of their mouths they'll complain that Lincoln abided by the Constitution.
 

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"If Lincoln loved the Union, he was responsible, more than any other man, for its destruction, for he consciously violated the constitution ... The war was not a war of slavery versus freedom; it was a war between those who preferred a federated nation to those who preferred a confederation of sovereign states. Slavery was the ink thrown into the pool to confuse the issue."

Andrew Nelson Lytle, The Virginia Quarterly Review, October 1931

The purpose of this thread is to discuss specific actions taken by Lincoln, before and during his presidency, as they relate to the issue of slavery in the United States to separate the actual facts from the variety of myths that were fabricated after his death.

For starters, let's examine the actual language of his Emancipation Proclamation and consider how many slaves would have been "freed" under it if the CSA had laid down its arms on or before 12/31/1862 ... and then ask, "Was this document written with the intention to "free slaves" or to end hostilities between the warring factions?"


By the President of the United States of America:

A Proclamation.

...

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

(1) Based on my reading,
• secessionists dissolved the Union because they believed that Lincoln and the Republican Party were a threat to the institution
• Unionists wanted to preserve the Union in the face of an attack from perceived traitors who were seen as a military, economic, and geo-political threat to the United States

@3rdKentuckyMtdInf, I don't think there is much, if any, disagreement among historians that the Unionists' primary goal was to preserve the Union. I know you feel there is a need to make this point; it seems you perceive this is a controversy that needs to be resolved. But there's no controversy about this, at least among historians.

(2) RE: For starters, let's examine the actual language of his Emancipation Proclamation and consider how many slaves would have been "freed" under it if the CSA had laid down its arms on or before 12/31/1862 ... and then ask, "Was this document written with the intention to "free slaves" or to end hostilities between the warring factions?"

Of course, the EP was written to end hostilities between the warring factions. There is a separate question, about whether or not a surrender by the CSA before 1/1/1863 would have had an affect on the fate of slavery. I don't know if there is a good answer to that. The conventional wisdom is that slavery would have been left undisturbed. I don't know if the CW is correct.

(3) RE: "If Lincoln loved the Union, he was responsible, more than any other man, for its destruction, for he consciously violated the constitution"

? As far as I know, the Union was preserved. Regarding the Union's policies for chattel property confiscation, slave emancipation, and black enlistment, I am not sure what was adjudicated to be unconstitutional. The passage of the 13th Amendment made abolition a moot point, in any event.

- Alan
 
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StephenColbert27

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Very few things have been as misunderstood as Lincoln's actions against slavery during the Civil War.

Lincoln had been freeing slaves since August of 1861. It's important to remember that fact.

Lincoln never told Frémont he couldn't free slaves in his department. Frémont’s proclamation didn’t conform to the First Confiscation Act. Slavery in Missouri, a loyal state not in rebellion, was a state matter, and a military officer did not have the authority to free slaves in that state. Congress had passed the First Confiscation Act, and Frémont could have implemented that Act by emancipating slaves that had been used in support of the rebellion. Instead, his proclamation claimed to emancipate all slaves of all disloyal masters. This was a violation of the law as passed by Congress. Frémont’s proclamation also violated the Constitutional prohibition on attainder. It had more to do than emancipating slaves. It declared martial law and it also confiscated all the property of disloyal people in Missouri. It was an unconstitutional usurpation of power by Frémont. Lincoln had a few problems with it. Lincoln asked Frémont to amend his proclamation in order to make it compliant with the First Confiscation Act. Frémont refused. Lincoln then ordered Frémont to modify the order. Lincoln sent David Hunter to investigate charges of corruption and incompetence that were leveled at Frémont by Montgomery Blair. Hunter found out that Frémont was dictatorial and his administration was corrupt. Lincoln relieved Frémont for insubordination and incompetence, not for issuing his proclamation. His proclamation had been issued on August 30, 1861 and he was relieved on November 2, 1861. Now, was Lincoln also concerned about the effect on Unionists in the slave border states of Missouri and Kentucky? Absolutely. That was another significant factor in Lincoln's opposition to the proclamation; however, it's important to remember Lincoln would have had no problem with the proclamation had it been in compliance with the First Confiscation Act. Slaves would have been emancipated, but not on the wholesale scale Frémont's proclamation purported to do.

In the matter of David Hunter’s order, Hunter had actually issued two orders. The first was in conformance with the First Confiscation Act and only emancipated slaves that came within his lines. His second proclamation, though, abolished slavery in three states, Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida, and was thus an illegal order. Lincoln revoked this second order.
Thank you for the excellent information. I always forget about those Confiscation Acts.
 

ForeverFree

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Which is exactly my point.

"Freeing slaves" was not a priority.

I'm curious, @3rdKentuckyMtdInf. How do you explain that emancipation happened? If nobody wanted to free the slaves, how did slavery wind up being abolished? If it's mythical that Lincoln deserves any credit - if that is your point - then who should get the credit?

- Alan
 

jgoodguy

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I agree with #1. As to #2, Lincoln understood emancipation could be a double-edged sword when it came to European support for the confederacy. As Allen Guelzo points out in his excellent book, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America, the proclamation had just as much chance of provoking an intervention by Britain and France as it did to prevent an intervention. Lincoln was aware of that.

I don't see #3 as a motivation for Lincoln.

Again, Lincoln had been freeing slaves since almost the beginning of the war. That fact is often forgotten.

Can we have a quote from the book supporting your assertion.
Thanks in advance.
 

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I can understand why someone like Frederick Douglass demanded more and faster action. That's his role, and we can thank providence he was there to speed the work. Thank you Douglass, and the tens of thousands of nameless people who quit slavery. But government officials work within the framework of laws, policies, regulations and competing interests. As Douglass would write later, he was often frustrated at the slow rate of progress, but Lincoln went as fast as any white man was going to.

True. Douglass and other Radical Republicans were frustrated with Lincoln both before and after the final EP was issued. They were always concerned that he would cave in to criticism that his EP was unnecessarily prolonging the war. Lincoln hinted he might in 1864 during the period of the "peace talks" at Niagara. IF one believes Alexander Stephens, Lincoln did retrench somewhat in 1865 at Hampton Roads when he suggested that the southern states stop fighting, convene their legislatures, and ratify the 13th Amendment prospectively so that emancipation would occur gradually over a period of several years. Jefferson Davis, however, had refused to give the Confederate commissioners (Stephens, Hunter, and Campbell) settlement authority beyond Confederate independence. Not very realistic on Davis's part, but that was nothing new.
 

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Here's a screen capture of that page:

GuelzoLincolnEPForeign Intervention.jpg
 
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